he day after the Arc de Triomphe Meeting a new chapter will begin in the career of the 29-year-old trainer Jean de Mieulle. As he and many of his staff will relocate from their base at Morannes-sur-Sarthe
which was set up three year ago, to Qatar, so as to become private trainer to HH Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing. However, the 45 boxes in use France will become de Mieulle’s pre-training centre, with the remaining team due to come under the supervision of former jump jockey Angelo Gasnier.
« I will receive horses from Al Shaqab, and around 20 to 30 horses which have completed their pre-training phase and which comprise PA two-year-olds Purebred Arabians and a few English thoroughbred yearlings. At the same time, we will have the horses in training in Qatar, and when the season has finished there, I will return home with the best PA horses which will pursue a summer European campaign: the same pathway adopted by my uncle Alban [de Mieulle] relative to Umm Qarn. »
Jean de Mieulle will initially work with the same set-up as the previous incumbent, Éric Lemartinel, which consists of two barns at Al Rayyan and one at Al Uqda. Plans are already afoot relative Sheikh Joaan’s stud to add a private training centre, which should be completed by the autumn.
« It’s close to the camel track near Al Shahania and only about 5/6 kms from Umm Qarn. I think 62 boxes have already been completed, but eventually there will be [room for] 80 boxes, complete with an oval peat track of 1900m, with an incline in the straight. Alongside our training centre there will also be a pre-training centre for local horses, and designated area for breeding stock – which mirrors the Umm Qarn set-up.
« All the horses I have now will be dispersed to either different trainers or be sold. We’ve some Al Shaqab horses here that are resting and, once they are fit to travel, they will head back to Qatar. It’s good to have a base in France to support the one in Qatar, and the weather here is mild in winter. We are creating some new paddocks and an additional small training track, just so we can keep a few horses which are holidaying here in France.
« Angelo, my right-hand man here, will be in charge. He’s an excellent horseman. We will all work together, across France and Qatar to give Sheikh Joaan the success he deserves, and to see him back on top in all the best races in Qatar. »
Of the horses he already has in training for Al Shaqab, de Mieulle enthuses about one colt in particular saying, « I like Bojdoor(Dormane) who is a half-brother to Mwarid. He’s very laid back and on the heavy side at the moment. He’s a little bit backward, so we will take our time with him, but physically he’s different. The way he moves suggests that he has amazing balance, so I think he’s a prospect who will only run once or twice at three, but hopefully he will become a nice racehorse in time. »
Reviewing his change in circumstance he concludes, « The stable is going very well, so for sure I am a little bit sad to leave behind what we have created from the beginning, but life is about taking opportunities. I think we know that Qatar is my second home, having lived there for five years when I was assistant to Alban. I know the programme book inside out, and it’s much easier to get good staff there too.
« The other reason is that I like the way the Al Shaqab stable is going, I like the way the racing office is manged now, as we are all heading the same way. We are a young team and I am excited to be a part of it. »