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Abbes makes a perfect start to the season

Abbes makes a perfect start to the season

DOHA (QAT), JANUARY 20th, 2024

SHEIKH JOAAN BIN HAMAD TROPHY

Gr3 PA – 4-year-olds and up – 2,200m (11f) turf –  $100,000

Abbes (TM Fred Texas) was last seen out when taking the Jewel Crown (Gr1 PA) at Abu Dhabi in early December. The defending champion, owned by Wathnan Racing and trained by Alban de Mieulle, made a perfect return to his stamping ground by sluicing home in the Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Trophy (Gr3 PA). Having celebrated his seventh birthday this year, Abbes has clearly lost none of his mojo. Ridden by Mickaël Barzalona, Abbes initially raced in second last position before taking closer order on the final turn. Abbes was done no favours in the straight by the meanderings of AA Feel the Burn (Burning Sand). However, once switched to the outside, he sealed matters in a matter of strides. AA Feel the Burn was beaten two lengths into second, with Hareeb (Mared Al Sahrah) a neck further adrift in third. The latter pair are both trained by French national Rudy Nerbonne.

Alban de Mieulle said:  “Abbes was making a return of sorts having previously at Abu Dhabi. It was something of a strange race. Ridden from off the pace, he found himself a bit short of room – in the straight – and his jockey was obliged to take a pull and switch his mount to the outside. Once in the clear, he showed his trademark turn of foot. It was a good stepping stone to the Amir Sword. Even if he wasn’t overly impressive, he still ran very well.”

Regarding the next step, Abbes is expected to follow the same pathway as last year, which entails defending his title in the H.H. the Amir Sword (Gr1 PA), before shooting for his third win in the Qatar Gold Sword (Gr1 PA): “He’s going to follow the same programme as last year. He’s as lively as ever. I’m not too worried about his physical condition, but he’ll have to beat Sheikh Joaan’s horse (Al Ghadeer) in the ‘big race’ but that’s common knowledge. We also hope that the pace will be stiffer in the Amir Sword because he’s a horse that needs a strong gallop. As was the case last year, Abbes will return to France for a summer break at a stud, if only to freshen him up mentally. We’ll have to wait and see what unfolds, as French tracks aren’t really his cup of tea – given that he’s really only in his element on sound surfaces/fast ground.”

A son of  Raqiyah

Bred at the Haras du Grand Courgeon on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the regally-bred Abbes spent his pre-training period with Éric Ventrou. He’s a son of TM Fred Texas (Burning Sand), although the successful Al Shaqab Racing sire was plagued by fertility problems before his export to Qatar.

His dam is the high class Raqiyah (Amer), a multiple Gr1 PA winner in France (including two editions of the Coupe d’Europe), Qatar and Britain, where she provided Olivier Peslier with Gr1 PA success on the prestigious King George card. Her first foal, the filly Badda (Séraphin du Paon), won in Qatar. Salwa (Kalino), her subsequent offering after Abbes, was pitched directly into PA Group company on his debut, namely the Prix Tidjani (Gr3 PA) in which he was third, which was the prelude to Gr3 PA glory at Ostend in July. The grandam, Sarahmina (Toronado de Syrah), herself a winner, has also yielded the French Arabian Breeders’ Challenge des 4ans (Gr1 PA) third Tameemah (Amer), plus the Prix Chéri Bibi (Gr3 PA) winning Neef (General). This is the line of the prolific Bergeronnette (Djourman): one of the great mares associated with the Haras de Pompadour. As 25 black type performers at either first, second or third generation level – boast her presence in their pedigrees, including the winner of the Prix Abu Dhabi (Gr1 PA) at Chantilly, Prince d’Orient (Manganate).

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