THE MAGAZINE - Three historic days at Doha
The Qatar season climaxed at Doha racecourse which played host to the H.H. The Amir Sword Festival in the February 20-22nd period. It’s also rare for a head of state to present the prizes in person to the winning connections. However, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, honoured the Saturday card with his presence. After recording six wins in three days, the Al Shahania team made a massive impact, and they cleaned up in the two Gr1s PA events. We have outlined the defining moments of the meeting below.
A victory synonymous with the team ethos. Ebraz (Amer) enabled His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Julian Smart to savour victory in the H.H. The Amir Sword (Gr1) for the eighth time in ten years! It’s a truly remarkable feat and one underpinned by the fact that the Al Shahania Stud graduate is the first PA horse to win the race three times, and the ice breaker as regards completing an improbable sweep of the PA Triple Crown. The success of the stable, and this particular horse, naturally reflects the sizeable and constant investments made in this concern’s broodmare band. However, it’s indicative, above all, of a strong organisation which has assembled around the Sheikh and its director Abdul Rahman Al Mansour. It’s impossible to mention everyone at Al Shahania, but the four main ‘drivers’ of this success have proved to be Dean Lavy and Julian Smart in Qatar, and Bertrand Le Métayer and Thierry de Chambord in France.
THE AMIR SWORD ROLL OF HONOUR SINCE 2009
|2020||Ebraz||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2019||Ebraz||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2018||Gazwan||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2017||Ebraz||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2016||Gazwan||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2015||Al Mourtajez||T. Fourcy||Al Shaqab Racing|
|2014||Assy||J. Smart||H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2013||Tabarak||A. de Mieulle||H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2012||Aziz||J. Smart||H.H. Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2011||Jaafer||J. Smart||H.H. Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2010||Al Dahma||A. de Mieulle||H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|2009||Al Dahma||A. de Mieulle||H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani|
Capping a remarkable 2019 season. In an ultra-competitive world, the success enjoyed by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani has been nothing short of remarkable. In 2019, the stable, via its homebreds, cleaned up in the French and Qatari PA arenas, including the
Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1 PA). In the English thoroughbreds’ sector, Aspetar (Al Kazeem) set a new race record in the wake of his win in the Preis von Europa (Gr1), a feat he had also emulated previously in the Grand Prix de Chantilly (Gr2)! Pelligrina (Soldier Hollow) made her mark in the Prix de Royaumont (Gr3) and Qabala (Scat Daddy) did likewise in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Gr3). After being acquired as a foal, the latter went on to finish third in the 1,000 Guineas (Gr1). The proverbial icing on the cake proved to be the ability of Al Shahania Stud ‘label’ to make its mark in all parts of the globe, which was further underscored by the exploits of the ‘show’ horses Rhan Al Shahania (Marwan Al Shaqab) and Nabhaan Al Shahania (Na'mous Al Shahania).
Alban de Mieulle and Sheikh Abdullah set the pace. Remarkably, in view of his success rate, the leading trainer of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Julian Smart, has only saddled 16 runners this season. However, Alban de Mieulle is the current pacesetter in the training ranks, despite the fact that His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani tends to divide his string among several trainers. One such example, French King (French Fifteen), is coming off a second consecutive win in the Amir Trophy (Gr1 local) for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall. The provisional leader in the Qatari owners’ list, in terms of prize money and number of wins, is Sheikh Abdullah. During the course of the Amir Sword Festival Meeting, the competitive element didn’t revolve exclusively around black types races, and we intend to highlight the exploits of three PA horses which are certainly capable of making their mark on the wider international stage: Lady Princess (General), Mon'nia (Amer) and Hakida (TM Fred Texas)
THE TOP FOUR QATARI TRAINERS AS OF FEBRUARY 23rd, 2020
|Trainers||No of 2019-20 wins||No of runners||Prize money (Qatari riyals)|
|Alban de Mieulle||42||213||621,462|
|Gassim Mohammad Ghazali||61||450||563,941|
|Ibrahim Saeed Ibrahim Al Malki||27||256||328,626|
Lady Princess: in a league of her own. Unlucky here in December, Lady Princess (General) atoned for that faux pas after sluicing home by 11 lengths at Doha! Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the filly made a good start this time round, and from then on the outcome was never in doubt. The second Emporio (Josco du Cayrou) finished five lengths in front of the third Ginkeau (Divamer). Thomas Fourcy, the trainer of the
Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari representative, said: "Lady Princess is small in stature but she has a huge heart. Granted that there were no hitches, she was able to make her class tell. She was perhaps in better form compared to December, and we also made a few adjustments to her training régime. By rights she should still be unbeaten. As in previous years, I’m very happy to have runners in Qatar and to have landed this race for the first time. She deserves a break after two long trips this winter. She’s an exceptional filly and we have high hopes for her in the autumn. She can mix it with the older distaffers in France."
A red letter day for Chantilly Bloodstock. Lady Princess became the first filly to complete the Al Rayyan Cup-Prix Kesberoy & Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1s PA) double, and in the former race she was up against the colts. She was bought privately by Gérard Larrieu after her debut win. It proved to a bonanza afternoon for the bloodstock agent at Doha, as he also acquired Al Malhouf (Dutch Art) – the winner of the H.H. The Amir Shalfa on the same Saturday card. The Chantilly Bloodstock supremo was among the first to encourage his clients to race horses in Qatar, as denoted by the example of Marinous (Numerous) in 2010.
The sister of Mister Ginoux. Lady Princess is a daughter of the Haras du Grand Courgeon sire General (Amer). Paul Basquin, together with Lisa and Pierre Deymonaz, acquired Lady Princess following a visit to the breeding operation of Bruno Bellaud. The filly subsequently boarded at the Haras du Saubouas. The dam Nacrée Al Maury (Kesberoy), whom Bruno Bellaud acquired on the advice of Martial Boisseuil, won the Prix Damas (Gr3 PA). In 2019, a yearling out of this same mare was sold to Al Shaqab Racing for 240.000 € at the Arqana sales. Her first foal, the Al Shaqab Racing sire Mister Ginoux (Amer), currently stands at the Haras de Thouars. His five wins included the Qatar International Trophy (Gr1 PA), the Derby des Pur-Sang Arabes de 4ans (Gr2 PA), in which he beat Gazwan (Amer) no less, and the French Arabian Breeders' Challenge at Toulouse (Gr3 PA).
Mon'nia has her whole future ahead of her. In the wake of her debut win at Mont-de-Marsan in September, Mon'nia (Amer) was deemed good enough to take her chance in the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1 PA). On her return to Qatar, the Julian Smart runner, who races in the colours of her breeder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, has landed three of her four starts. Only Jabalah (Al Mamun Monlau) has finished in front of her, and the former was coming off a win in the Qatar Derby (Gr1 PA). Mon'nia exuded class after winning the opener on the Thursday card, and this was the prelude to the Al Shahania Stud carrying all before them. Ridden by Tomas Lukasek, the future winner had a four wide trip after racing in the slipstream of the Olivier Peslier-ridden Jabir (Al Mamun Monlau). In the straight, Mon'nia took time to pick up. However, the jockey didn’t panic and the filly eventually responded to his urgings by quickening four lengths clear of Jabir.
A sister of Assy. Mon'nia was bred in France by the Al Shahania Stud at the Haras des Cruchettes. She spent her pre-training period at the Haras du Saubouas before joining her current handler. Her dam, Margouia (Tidjani), hails from the Haras de Mandore and is one of the very best mares of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani. She has already produced Assy (Amer), the winner of the l'Emir's Sword (Gr1 PA), plus Sharesa (Burning Sand), the Qatar International Cup (Gr1 PA) victor, and the Qatar Total Arabian Trophy des Juments (Gr1 PA) third Nadja (Amer). Margau (Manganate), the grandam, is a full sister to a pair of very high class acts: Dormane (Manganate) and Djendel (Manganate). She is also one of the foundation mares of the Al Shahania Stud operation.
Hakida appeals as a good filly in the making. The opening race on the Friday card at Doha marked the victory of Hakida (TM Fred Texas) in a richly endowed and coveted maiden race open to colts and fillies. In a race in which the front running Albasos (Al Mamun Monlau) poached a lead of several lengths, the future winner languished off the pace, and was still well adrift of the runaway leader on hitting the straight. However, she responded well to the urgings of Ronan Thomas, as the homebred protegée of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani was well on top at the end. The margin at the wire was over two lengths as the winner accounted for the experienced Fahd de Faust (No Risk Al Maury). The latter, incidentally, was bred by the Larrieu brothers. Hakida was third on her debut in a mile maiden race behind a certain Mon'nia (Amer).
The latter, an impressive winner over a mile 24 hours earlier at Doha for Julian Smart, has won four times to date. Alban de Mieulle, the trainer of Hakida, said: "She’s a very good filly and already a very highly regarded one at that. So she won’t be going to Europe and we will give her a break during the summer. She needs to muscle up and mature."
The full sister of Marid. Hakida is a daughter of the very successful Al Shaqab Racing sire TM Fred Texas, whose home is the Haras de Thouars. She spent her early days at the Haras du Grand Courgeon before going into pre-training with Éric Ventrou (EV Pretraining) in the Cognac region. Her dam is the prolific Al Dahma (Amer) – the winner of 25 races from the ages of 3 to 8. She recorded notable wins in the
Coupe d'Europe des Chevaux Arabes (three times), the French Arabian Breeders' Cup Mile, the Emir's Sword (twice), the Qatar International Trophy (four times), the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy, the Qatar National Day Trophy (twice), the Dubai International Stakes, the President Cup and the Malazgirt Trophy (Gr1s PA). After generating the champion Yazeed (Munjiz), Al Dahma has also produced Marid (TM Fred Texas), a dual Gr1 PA winner and the top rated French colt of 2018, and Chamekh (Munjiz), whose third racecourse appearance took in the Amir Sword (Gr1 PA).
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