Halling, one of the first superstars for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation before embarking on a stallion career, has died at Dalham Hall Stud, where he was retired from covering duties in 2014. The son of Diesis was 25.
Initially in training with John Gosden, Halling was unraced as a juvenile but showed progressive form at three, winning the Cambridgeshire under Frankie Dettori in 1994. Switched to the care of Hilal Ibrahim in Dubai, winning three races at Nad Al Sheba, Halling returned to Newmarket for the 1995 season with Saeed bin Suroor.
At four he made his breakthrough at the top level, taking the Coral-Eclipse by a neck from Singspiel and following up in the Juddmonte International at York, hammering Bahri by three and a half lengths. He took both Group 1s again the following year, also adding the Prix d’Ispahan to his CV, before finishing his racing career with a second to Bosra Sham in the Champion Stakes.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Halling did a great job both for Godolphin and Darley. Everyone loved him. He was one of our best horses and it’s like losing a friend. But he lived a long and happy life and there are still some babies of his to look forward too.”
At Dalham Hall Stud, Halling was noted for siring tough, talented stock that stayed well, namely Group 1 winners Cavalryman, Empoli, Cutlass Bay and Jack Hobbs, runner-up to stablemate Golden Horn in last year’s Derby before taking the Irish Derby by five lengths.
Other high-class runners for Halling include Opinion Poll, Coastal Path, Hala Bek and Norse Dancer, whose son Yanworth is hot favourite for this year’s Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Halling himself could be represented at jump racing’s showpiece fixture through Irish-trained duo Zabana and Thomas Hobson.