Ali Hamad Al Attiyah: "We are here to win the top races"


Ali Hamad Al Attiyah: "We are here to win the top races"

 Owners throughout the world are pooling their resources so as to be able to grace the racing stage. One such example is Ali Hamad Al Attiyah, whose successes in Europe and Qatar have been achieved in tandem with his cousins, and Zellie is their current standard bearer.

We met Ali Hamad Al Attiyah, in the company of Paul Basquin, during the Arqana October sales, where Paul Nataf bought several yearlings on his and the family’s behalf. His father founded Al Wasmiyah Farm, a concern which enlisted GeorgesMikhalides as its private trainer. Their best horse in Qatar at the current time is Noor Al Hawa (Makfi). The winner of the Grand Prix de Vichy (Gr3), he has won eight races in Qatar, including the H.H. The Amir Trophy and the Qatar Derby (local Grs1 PA). It should be noted that Al Wasmiyah sponsored this year’s Pretty Polly Stakes (Gr1) at the Curragh. Besides Zellie (Wootton Bassett), Ali Hamad Al Attiyah is the co-owner of Light Stars (Sea the Stars) – the winner of the Prix Caravelle - Haras des Granges (L). He has also just acquired Monda (No Risk Al Maury), who is coming off a third in the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1 PA).

A family united by the same passion. The young Qatari confided in us at Deauville by saying: "It was my father who chose the colours carried by Zellie, which are emblazoned with the letter "Q" for Qatar. The horse is part of Qatari history and culture. It's a tradition which remains very much alive, as many young people are interested in equestrian activities and racing. It’s a genuine reflection of what happens in my family, as we share a passion for racing and horses in general. In our particular group of cousins, almost all of us are in the 22-25 age bracket, and we learn a lot from our elders. Going to the races with them is great. All this is possible thanks to the support of our family. My father, for example, really drives our horse racing ambitions, and especially when it comes to improving our knowledge.

Our horses run in different colours but, at the end of the day, it's one and the same team that heads to the track. We were together when Zellie won the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac - Critérium des Pouliches (Gr1 PA). It was superb and a pleasure shared among family members. It's a dream come true because we are here to win the top races. One day she will be retired to the paddocks on our behalf.  Our dream would be to target the French classics with the filly in 2022. However, we don't interfere in Monsieur Fabre's decisions. We were lucky enough on one occasion to see her train at Chantilly. It's a magnificent place. The training facilities are incredible. It’s easy to understand why so many big stables have their horses trained there."

A passion takes hold. "I used to ride in show jumping events, just like my brother Mohammed, although he has been successful at international level. Our first experiences of horse racing in Qatar date to around 2005, mainly through the intermediary of the PA horse. Our first French purchase was Kado de Ghazal (Kesberoy), and a three times winner at Doha in 2006 [editor's note: the mare produced the Prix Razzia III (Gr3 PA) third Al Wasmiya (Amer)].

Initially, our family just owned horses before later dabbling in breeding. The family breeding operation was a small scale one at the outset. However, since then, it has continued to grow in importance, while also developing in Europe, and it has also opening up to English thoroughbreds. When my brother Mohammed and I started travelling in 2015, which entailed studying the racing game with a passion, things took off. We met Paul Basquin, of Haras de Saubouas fame, five years ago, via our cousins Mohammed Fahad Al Attiyah, who races PA horses, and his brother Abdullah Fahad Al Attiyah: the owner of the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Gr1) winner Cœursamba (The Wow Signal). We now have around 15 horses-in-training. In Qatar, the standard of racing has really taken off due to the high number of quality imports. Qatari owners acquire a lot of stock at the European horses-in-training sales."

A growing broodmare band.  "We are trying to develop enhance our broodmare bands of both English thoroughbreds and PA horses. Breeding is a passion and we have classic ambitions at this level. The PA mares board at the Haras de Saubouas. It’s a great setting which comes complete with large paddocks, and is very spacious at that. We are made to feel very welcome when we visit our horses. The English thoroughbreds are dispersed all over Europe. For example, we have Queen's Code (Shamardal), the dam of Umm Kulthum (Kodiac) – the winner of the Firth of Clyde Stakes (Gr3) and third in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Gr1). Or Traisha (Invincible Spirit), acquired as a yearling and a winner at Listed

level, is out of mare that has produced three black type performers. Our best PA broodmare at the moment is certainly Shararah (Amer). We bred her and she won a Gr1 PA race at Newbury in 2013."

The hopes of the family. "We have high hopes for the PA horses. My cousin Mohammed Fahad Al Attiyah will be able to rely on the quality performer Sahab (Af Albahar) regarding the top PA races in Qatar. She’s coming off a second place in the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1 PA). The same also applies to My Belle du Soleil (General), a daughter of the excellent mare Balladore (Dormane), and runner-up in the French Arabian Breeders' Challenge-Pouliches (Gr2 PA). That was her second career start. She’s among the best French PA 3-year-old fillies. Alas, she suffered had a minor setback and had to forego a crack at the Gr1 feature at Saint-Cloud. We have sent her to Doha to be trained. We gave her time. Given her pedigree and her performances, My Belle du Soleil should prove to be a superb broodmare when her racing career ends. She’s the sister of Amyr du Soleil (Amer)." Mohammed Fahad Al Attiyah has also owned Magic Attitude (Galileo) and Mission Impassible (Galileo) in partnership.