A'Ali is set to step up to Group One company as the Nunthorpe gets another classy entry after the Simon Crisford trained runner landed the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
Simon Crisford is not known for sending horses over to Ireland but was looking to gain quick-fire back to back wins for last seasons Norfolk Stakes winner, who scored at Sandown on Eclipse day in the Group Three Coral Charge.
As a juvenile the son of Society Rock was a superstar landing a hat-trick of wins in Group Two company which included the before mentioned Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Prix Robert Papin at Deauville and finally the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.
He finished his two year old career at the Breeders Cup meeting with a tame run and he did not improve on that run on his three year old seasonal debut at Newcastle when obviously needing the run.
The Coral Charge at Sandown showed him back to his best and connections were hoping on his first trip across the pond to Ireland that he could replicate that form.
Being sent off as the evens favourite, he showed his gritty determination to battle on well and go clear in the final stages.
(Credit ATR) Ed Crisford, who trains A’Ali in partnership with his father, Simon, said: “He was slowly into stride and ended up racing on his own to begin with, so it was a worrying first two or three furlongs, but he picked up and I thought he did it extremely well in the end.
“It’s great to win another Group Two with him. I think he’s actually improved from two to three and has strengthened up – he’s turning into a very progressive sprinter.
“He deserves to take his chance at the top level now. I’d imagine we’ll go for the Nunthorpe next month and his big target will be the Flying Five back at the Curragh in September – I think the stiff five furlongs there suits him really well.
“We’ll have to take on Battaash in the Nunthorpe and with Art Power, Oxted and the American two-year-old (Golden Pal) all looking like heading there, it should be a great race.”