BRITISH challengers Al Hilalee and Azano both claimed big-race victories on a fine afternoon for the raiding party at Chantilly.
Having finished third in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket on his latest appearance, Charlie Appleby’s Al Hilalee was the 15/8 favourite for the Group 2 Prix Hocquart and was soon bowling along at the head of affairs in the hands of James Doyle.
He looked in danger of being mugged when Soft Light charged home from the rear, but the Godolphin runner clung on by a neck.
Right back to form – Al Hilalee, a horse well-fancied for and well-beaten in the 2000 Guineas, returns to winning ways in the Group 2 Longines Prix Hocquart for Charlie Appleby, @the_doyler and @godolphin… pic.twitter.com/aecdBQNqYC— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 16, 2019
Doyle told Sky Sports Racing: “That was the plan – to get him out on the lead. I was a little bit nervous when I committed him as he did run around a little bit, but there’s a big crowd and a lot to take in here today.
“Let’s hope he can keep building from there. It was a good performance.”
Nice form-boost for Jash – Azano, only beaten a neck by Simon Crisford’s sprinter at Newmarket a month ago, wins the Group 3 Paul de Moussac Stakes at @fgchantilly for John Gosden and Rab Havlin… pic.twitter.com/OF3S2fYTfW— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 16, 2019
Later, Appleby made it a pattern-race double when Vintager landed the Group 3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines. The gelded son of Mastercraftsman beat odds-on favourite Trais Fluors by three-parts of a length in the mile contest.
The treble for the raiders kicked off when John Gosden and Rab Havlin combined to land the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac with 7/2 chance Azano.
The Oasis Dream colt finished down the field in the 2000 Guineas on his penultimate start before pushing the exciting Jash close on his return to Newmarket for the King Charles II Stakes.
Making his first appearance in France, Azano tracked the pacesetting favourite Anodor for much of the one-mile contest before taking over the lead as the market leader faded.
Pizzicato finished strongly, but Gosden’s charge had a length in hand at the line.
Havlin said: “He’s a horse with a very high cruising speed and he likes to get on with things. I thought we went quick enough down the back, but he settled into a nice rhythm and was very brave in the last 100 yards.
“He’s sort of perfected what he likes to do. When you hold him back he gets himself in a muddle, but when you let him get on with it he can finish out pretty strong and look pretty impressive.
“They’ve dropped the Prix Jean Prat to seven furlongs now and he has more than enough speed to drop back to seven. A straight seven at Deauville will be right up his street I would think.”