In the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatar International Derby Festival came to a spectacular end on Saturday 21 December, with His Excellency Mr Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, crowning the winners at the Al Rayyan Park.
H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s PEDRO CARA (Pedro The Great x Magic Cara) started wide, but showed some impressive pace on the home straight in the Gr 2 QATAR DERBY (3YO THOROUGHBREDS / Class 1) to win the USD 500,000 race. In the 2000m run, the gelding, ridden by Tony Piccone, who had helmed the 3YO in a listed victory in July this year, stayed in the rear half of the field before making his way on the outside on the home straight for a fine win with a length and a quarter to spare. The Andrew Balding-trained UK raider BANGKOK (Australia x Tanaghum) finished runner up for the second straight outing, this time under Silvestre De Sousa. Sheikh Faisal Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani’s AL GAZI (Havana Gold x Rock Lily), saddled by Ibrahim Saeed Ibrahim Al Malki, completed the top three under Anas Al Seyabi.
Al Shaqab Racing’s SHALAA (Dahess x Dormadora) made good his trip from France when the Thomas Fourcy-trained colt landed the Gr3 PA QATAR DERBY (4YO PUREBRED ARABIANS) in fine form. The USD 150,000 Purebred Arabian feature saw Julien Augé astride SHALAA who made a run for the victory on the home straight against an all-colt field. In pursuit were three of Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle’s wards, including early leader Umm Qarn’s BIN GENERAL (General x Noorah), who held his own under Olivier Peslier to finish runner up, ahead of stablemate MARID (TM Fred Texas x Al Dahma), who ran on the back of a Guineas victory last month. Another Al Shaqab Racing contender, Meblish, was impressive under Faleh Bughanaim to come from the back of the pack to complete the frame for De Mieulle.
Umm Qarn’s JABALAH (Al Mamun Monlau x Kouthar) led from gates to post in a spectacular run to take his second straight victory. Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle’s ward had Soufiane Saadi for company and the duo set the pace up front in the Gr1 PA mile long QATAR DERBY (3YO PUREBRED ARABIANS) and then survived a threatening pursuit from Thomas Fourcy’s French Raider LADY PRINCESS (General x Nacree Al Maury), who made a late charge under Julien Augé in the colours of Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari, which was good enough for a close second. Another French contender, BATTASH DE FAUST (AF AlBahar x Ayisha De Faust), helmed by Adrie De Vries for trainer Jean Francois Bernard in the colours of Abdulla Mohamed Al Attiya, rounded the top three.
Abdulatif Hussain Al Emadi’s BLACK PEARL (Footstepsinthesand x Ella) stayed unbeaten, having won the two previous outings, including the Local Thoroughbred Guineas last month, as the Ibrahim Saeed Ibrahim Al Malki-trained gelding topped the QATAR DERBY (3YO LOCAL THOROUGHBREDS) in a thrilling finish. With Eduardo Pedroza in the saddle, Black Pearl tracked early leader Sky Blue before Pedroza made the move a far way out from the post coming off the new far bend at the turf track. However, Black Pearl stayed in front to win by a length and a quarter, even as the Stefano Ibido-saddled IFREET (Toronado x Bella Varenna), ridden by Luca Maniezzi in the colours of Abdulhadi Mana Al Hajri, ensured that Al Malki’s wards did not sweep the top three spots. The Tomas Lukasek-ridden AL KHOR SURPRISE (Abide With Me x Arabian Art) was third while Sea The Light was fourth under Anas Al Seyabi.
Al Jeryan Stud’s AJS SOGHAN (AF AlBahar x Anayid) shed his maiden status after following up his C&D third place finish with a victory in the LOCAL PUREBRED ARABIAN PLATE (3 Year Olds). In the mile long race, Alexander Reznikov was in the saddle for the Hadi Nasser Rashid Al Ramzani-trained horse once again and the two did enough to beat the Marco Casamento-ridden Dalilak by a neck at the post. The win was Al Ramzani’s third straight on the day and the second for the colours of Al Jeryan Stud.
Nasser Owaida Salem Al Hajri’s ON THE FRONT LINE (War Front x Aristocratic Lady) picked up a C&D victory with Ronan Thomas once again in the saddle for the Hadi Nasser Rashid Al Ramzani-schooled horse. In the THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (Class 3) (75-95), the Frenchman and his partner mounted a late charge on the outside closer to the post when Pierantonio Convertino too joined the pursuit astride Felix Leiter. On The Front Line, however, managed to edge the latter out by a short head.
After a hit and miss season last time round, Al Jeryan Stud’s SARAT ABHA (Footstepsinthesand x Shesamystery) is making up for lost time this season. The Hadi Nasser Rashid Al Ramzani-schooled filly raced to her third victory this season out of six outings when she landed the LOCAL THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (80 & below) in dominant fashion. Under Tomas Lukasek in the mile long race, there was little stopping the filly once she got going on the straight, winning by five and a half lengths.
Mansoor Ebrahim Al Mahmoud’s BRAEMAR (Oasis Dream x Spectacle) went one better than his last outing to shed his maiden status in comfortable fashion. In the THOROUGHBRED MAIDEN PLATE (Class 6), the Gassim Mohammad Ghazali-trained colt had Theo Bachelot for company in the 1850m race and the two finally ensured the colt registered his maiden victory on his ninth outing at Al Rayyan Park.
Jassim Bin Ali Al Attiyah’s NAIMA (TM Fred Texas x Al Zubarah) made it two in a row when she topped the LOCAL PUREBRED ARABIAN NOVICE PLATE. It was the Oaks winning rider Ryan Curatolo who was in the saddle for the Ahmed Mohamad Kobeissi-schooled filly and the two ensured a thrilling finish to the 1850m race with a quarter of a length victory on the 4YO’s fifth career outing.