Hala Bek staying the distance at Mungrup Stud

Hala Bek looks right at home galloping around his paddock at Mungrup Stud and this weekend marks six years since he came within a whisker of winning the English Derby.

In the closest English Derby finish of the modern era, Hala Bek was beaten a nose, a short-head and a nose into fourth place behind Sir Percy.

Hala Bek (Ire) was a good thing beaten at Epsom Downs after veering sharply and almost unseating his rider in the final furlong.  “If it had happened 100 yards earlier, I would have got him balanced in time,” jockey Philip Robinson recounted.  “He lost all momentum and should have won.”

The result was that close, trainer Michael Jarvis asked to see an enhanced picture of the blanket finish.

The Halling colt raced just three times for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum.  He won on debut by three lengths at Newbury a month before the 2006 Derby and by seven lengths when he returned from two years on the sidelines at Nottingham in July 2008.

Hala Bek’s first yearlings will be catalogued for the 2013 Perth Magic Millions.  “His first foals are developing into tremendous types,” Mungrup’s Ann Croucher said this week.  “We basically bought him for our own mares – it’s not a commercial sireline by Australian standards – but the interest from outside breeders has been very encouraging.”

Hala Bek is the only son of Halling at stud in Australia but the sireline has already made an impact out here.  Halling stayer Bauer won the Geelong Cup before being beaten a pimple by Viewed in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.

Halling (Diesis) won five G1 events including the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown (twice) and has been represented by over 40 stakes winners.  Darley stayer Opinion Poll is his latest after claiming the G2 Henry II Stakes Sandown on Thursday.

Opinion Poll races for Sheikh Mohammed and his summer target is the Ascot Gold Cup.  “He’s a stayer with a turn of foot and I love him,” winning jockey Frankie Dettori said at Sandown.  “He’s a pleasure to ride.”

Halling is by Diesis who sired Darley’s 2008 Caulfield Cup winner All The Good.  Another son Dagger’s Drawn was a success at stud in New Zealand.

Hala Bek’s dam Place de L’Opera (Sadler’s Wells) is a half sister to G1 Gran Criterium winner Count Dubois and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Indian Haven and they have both developed into proven sires on the international stage.

Mungrup will stand Hala Bek for a $5,500 (inc gst) service fee this year.

Hala Bek