LA TESTE-DE BUCH (FRA), 28th April 2017

Gr. III PA  - 4yos - 1,900m - € 20 000

The impressive winner of the French Arabian Breeders’ Challenge pour Poulains (Gr. II PA) last year, on the mile track at Toulouse in front of Al Mounteze Monlau (Nashwan Al Khalidiah), Nafees (Azadi) was making his eagerly anticipated seasonal debut in the Prix Dormane (Gr. III PA), and stepping up in trip for the first time.

Always in a good position up on the pace, escorted by Al Mounteze Monlau on his outside, Nafees waited on the rail for the opportune moment. Al Mounteze Monlau looked to have the advantage half way down the straight, but he began to drift right, allowing Nafees to pull decisively away. Trained by Charles Gourdain for the Royal Stables of Oman, this colt could not be caught. Al Mounteze Monlau held off a strong finish from Bandar (Munjiz), who is trained by Frédéric Sanchez. Motrag (Amer), the best French colt of last year, finished at the foot of the podium, however his trainer, Thomas Fourcy, had said before the race that he was just having a run for his first time back, and might need the race.

Charles Gourdain was clearly very happy with Nafees’ winning return: “He is a calm, serious and talented horse. He had given me the impression that he could stay further at Toulouse, even though I wasn’t completely sure myself. Today, I wanted to give him an easy race and voilà… He hasn’t had much work. He never got a tap from the whip. It was perfect. I am delighted.” Concerning his upcoming race program, he said: “He has a very open program, whether in France or abroad. He travels well and is good in his mind, which is important as the season is long. Most of all, I didn’t want him to have a hard race back today, especially as there was a strong field.”

The family of Vitella

By Azadi (Darike), a stallion who has limited, but talented, progeny, Nafees is out of Vivamaria (Njewman), who was trained by Robert Litt and finished fourth in the Prix Nefta (Gr. II PA). She is notably the full sister to Vitella, winner of the Abu Dhabi International Championship (Gr. I PA) at Newmarket and the French Arabian Breeders’ Cup Classic at Toulouse (Gr. I PA). Vite Amine (Dormane), the second dam of Nafees, had been second in the Prix du Sultanat d’Oman, won by Ouragan du Cayrou (Dormane). This maternal line is that of Yves Plantin and Françoise Blondel’s breeding operation.