Hilal wins $1 million Bondi Stakes at Randwick

Hawkes Racing specialise in developing well-bred colts into stallion prospects and Hilal has taken the next step on that road with victory in the $1 million Bondi Stakes at Randwick.

The three-year-old has been a talent from his juvenile days when he was Group 1 placed behind Captivant in the Champagne Stakes but he has been a work in progress.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes is thrilled to see him starting to deliver on his promise, backing up his victory in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) with another solid performance to take out Saturday’s Bondi Stakes (1600m).

“Last start he really put the writing on the wall, but even if you go back to his two-year-old days when he ran second in the Group One, we knew we had a special colt then going into that race,” Hawkes said.

“That day, he probably just got a bit too far back and the winner eventually came up the fence.

“This preparation, he has really started to hit the line and put it all together. Last start, and obviously today, he still wants to lay in but once he gets clear of those horses he just really fights and he wants to hit the wire.”

In a muddling run affair, Hilal was allowed to find his feet early but was shunted wide when the pace slackened mid-race.

Jockey Tommy Berry was able to get on the back of Royalzel and keep his horse in a rhythm and Hilal ($2.35 fav) finished strongest to defeat Keefy ($21) by 1-1/4 lengths with Lease ($61) another short half-head away third.

Hawkes is hopeful Hilal can develop into a Doncaster Mile contender in the autumn when he feels the colt will be stronger again.

“He’s probably that sort of horse back in the autumn. He’s done a great job and he loves Randwick, he’s shown that,” Hawkes said.

Berry likewise believes Hilal can get to another level next preparation when he can build on the confidence gained this spring.

“He put them away again today, but I’ve got a feeling he’ll be better next preparation. He’s still learning what it’s all about,” Berry said.

“It was hard for him to get confidence last prep because he kept getting beat, but now that he’s put a couple together, he might come in a lot more furnished horse.”

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