Al Suhail not for passing in Challenge Stakes

Al Suhail has always been highly regarded and stamped his class on the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Second in the Autumn Stakes in his juvenile year, he was a Listed winner at three and expected to be a major player at the Dubai Carnival last spring.

Charlie Appleby tried to stretch him out to nine furlongs and the first attempt went well, when narrowly beaten by Lord Glitters, but he was stone last behind Lord North in the Dubai Turf.

Barring a win at Haydock this summer the four-year-old was becoming slightly disappointing, but was still sent off the 3-1 favourite for the Group Three over seven furlongs.

The result was never in doubt, with William Buick bouncing him into an early lead, pulling further clear over a furlong out and eventually running out a three-and-a-half-length winner over With Thanks, who had won at Ascot last weekend.

“We’ve seen what ability he has got throughout his career, but being brutally honest Will gave him a great ride because it was a tactic I came up with within the last 24 hours,” said Appleby.

“In the past we’ve seen him travel and you think it’s only a matter of pressing the button, but then he falters so I said if he doesn’t want to go by them let’s see if they can get by him.

“He’s done it well today and it all worked out. It’s no surprise he’s won like that. Will made his mind up for him and I knew he’d find once Will gave him the office.”

Al Suhail was a cut above his rivals in the Challenge Stakes
Al Suhail was a cut above his rivals in the Challenge Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

On plans he said: “I don’t think he’s one for the Breeders’ Cup as I don’t think he’s mentally strong enough for something like that.

“He’ll go back out to Dubai, we saw him out there last year when we tried to step him up to nine furlongs but we’ll go the usual – Al Fahidi and Zabeel Mile.

“There’s even a new programme out there on turf and there’s a new seven-furlong race on Super Saturday that is worth $300,000.”

Appleby and Buick later doubled up with top weight Siskany in the bet365 Old Rowley Cup.

Siskany pulls nicely clear to win the Old Rowley Cup
Siskany pulls nicely clear to win the Old Rowley Cup (Tim Goode/PA)

Gelded since running well at Royal Ascot and Goodwood, Siskany became Appleby’s 100th winner on the Rowley Mile.

“I bet you didn’t know that, did you?” he said.

“In truth I had no idea until someone told me, but it’s nice all the same. Most importantly, this lad has been very consistent, and we put him away after Goodwood because he deserved a rest.

“This race fitted in well. He enjoyed his break – and we felt he was a nice, progressive handicapper who might make Listed or Group Three level. He’ll go out to Dubai.”

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