H.H. Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, Ambassador of Qatar, crowned the winners
The Qatar Arc Trials day took place at ParisLongchamp on Sunday, 13 September 2020, with the runners aspiring for the biggest races and titles on the weekend of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe lining up three weeks before the main event for their final preparation. His Excellency Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, Ambassador of Qatar to France, was present and presented the trophies to the winners of the Qatar Prix du Petit Couvert (Gr3) and the Qatar Cup – Prix Dragon (Gr 1 PA), which is the final rehearsal for the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1 PA). The day included nine races and all of them were marked by the name of Qatar.
QATAR PRIX VERMEILLE: TARNAWA FLOORS THE OPPOSITION
Owned by Aga Khan, the filly Tarnawa outclassed the opposition in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Gr.1). Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, Tarnawa initially settled at the rear of the pack. In the final turn, she came to take the lead from Laburnum, and placed an extraordinary acceleration in the straight. Raabihah, who sat last for a long time, finished very quickly to take second place coming a long way back, just ahead of Dame Malliot. Tarnawa had only raced once this year, winning a Gr3 in Cork, ahead of Cayenne Pepper, who won the Blandford Stakes (Gr2) on Sunday. Tarnawa has not been entered in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and will therefore have to be supplemented.
Christophe Soumillon explained: “I waited before I found a good stride. When I saw Pierre-Charles Boudot advancing, I followed him and he took me to the lead. Then I just needed to slow her acceleration! She’s really fast! It isn’t me who decides whether or not to run in the Arc. This win, however, bodes well for the autumn. »
QATAR CUP: FAZZA AL KHALEDIAH RETURNS TO FORM
Winner of the Qatar Arabian World Cup in 2018, Fazza Al Khalediah is one of the best pure Arabians in the world when his legs are not troubling him. Owned by Polska AKF SP Z.O.O, he was ruled out of the competition for almost a year after finishing second in the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1 PA) in March 2019. He made a winning return at Mons on February 20, in a modest race, and then disappointed at Deauville in the Doha Cup (Gr1 PA). Back at ParisLongchamp, he dominated the Qatar Cup (Gr1 PA), giving a courageous performance to defeat Messi Bel and Lightning Bolt. He has just shortened his odds for the next Qatar Arabian World Cup.
Christophe Soumillon, who was riding him for the first time, commented: “It was probably the very soft ground and the fact that he hadn’t raced in a while that explains his poor performance at Deauville. He is a horse that needs to run regularly to stay in good form. They told me he was nowhere near 100% today, so they wanted him to work a little bit to be on top at the Arc weekend. I’m always a little suspicious of Arabians because we know that, once in front, they may stop very quickly. Still, I took the advantage early and on this ground, he ran all the way to the line. I think he is a horse that has quality. For the Arc weekend, I will have a choice to make between him and a good filly, normally. We’ll see. I don’t know the future rivals, but I think he’s going to come on for this race and he should run well. »
QATAR PRIX DU PETIT COUVERT : A FIRST GROUP WIN FOR AIR DE VALSE
Air de Valse (Mensil de Aigles x Air Bag) was the surprise winner of the Qatar Prix du Petit Couvert (Group 3). Coming here off a good second place in the Barrière Prix de Meautry (Gr3) for her first career start at Group level on 30 August at Deauville, she confirmed that she is a Group class on the quick ground at ParisLongchamp. Quickly out of the starting gate, she took the lead and controlled the race from the off. She held off a strong attack from the favourite Wooded, in the colours of Al Shaqab Racing, who took second place. English raider Lady In France came in third.
Corine Barande Barbe, who trains Air de Valse, commented: « She is a horse that can do anything. She has the strong hindquarters of a pure sprinter, even though she has won over 1,400m previously. She is very generous and needs pace. You have to let her have her own way. The one time we tried to hold her up, it didn’t go well. She didn’t breathe. She is a bit like me, she has her character (laughs). For the Abbaye, if there is a horse that will set a fast pace, she will be delighted to have a leader, but if not, you can’t argue with her. She’s a real girl. »
PRIX QATAR FOY: ANTHONY VAN DYCK BEATS SUPER STAYER STRADIVARIUS
Favourite in the Qatar Prix Foy (Gr2), the super stayer Stradivarius lost to the Irish raider Anthony Van Dyck, ridden by Mickael Barzalona. The French jockey put his partner in the lead, with a steady pace. Stradivarius travelled on his flanks. He accelerated in the straight, while gradually moving to the rail and Anthony Van Dyck dug deep to hold off Stradivarius by only a few meters. Naganol Gold took third place.
Mickael Barzalona said: “I let him go at his own pace, trying to wind him up little by little. When Stradivarius came and put us under little pressure, he pulled himself together. He deserves a place at the start of the Arc.”
QATAR PRIX DU PIN: EARTHLIGHT AS EXPECTED
It was mission accomplished for Earthlight, the hot favorite coming into the Qatar Prix du Pin. Never under pressure, the colt, winner of two Group 1s as a 2-year-old, found his stride to put some disappointing starts as a 3-year-old behind him. He finished in front of Tropbeau and Manjeer respectively. He is trained by André Fabre and was ridden by Mickael Barzaalona.
Lisa-Jane Graffard, racing manager for the owner, commented, “Earthlight didn’t have an ideal race, with no cover. However, he traveled easily up the straight to win brilliantly. He needed the race and so he should improve from this. He hasn’t had an easy year with the lockdown. The Prix de la Forêt (Gr1) is a possible target. He stays a mile so that leaves his options open. »
QATAR GRAND HANDICAP DES ARC TRIALS: PRINCE HAMLET FOR SPAIN!
There was a highly contested photo finish in the Qatar Grand Handicap des Arc Trials. Prince Hamlet, ridden by Tony Piccone, won by the absolute minimum in front of True Romance and Ronan Thomas on the line. Prince Hamlet belongs to Pedro A. Mateos Not S.L.. He came here off a win last time out in San Sebastian.
QATAR PRIX HAXO – PROSECCO OPENS THE DAY
The 2020 renewal of the Qatar Arc Trials opened, at ParisLongchamp on Sunday, 13 September, with the Qatar Prix Haxo, the first handicap of the year for 2-year-olds. It was PROSECCO (Starspangledbanner x Comtesse), for trainer Andrea Marcialis and Pierre-Charles Boudot who won with a strong finish in front of VENTS CONTRAIRES and AKAMU. It was the first win for this colt owned by E.P.E. Bloodstock Ltd. «He is a lovely colt », commented Pierre-Charles Boudot, « Last time out, he was a bit green and so that’s why we rode him with cover. We used the same tactics today and it’s paid off. »
QATAR PRIX DU PONT DE GRENELLE: FEMINA CONTINUES HER ASCENT
FEMINA (Siyouni x Legerete) was the easy winner of the Qatar Prix du Pont de Grenelle at ParisLongchamp. Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias for Wertheimer & Frère, she came here off a win at Deauville on 16 August. Ridden by Maxime Guyon, she ran in mid-division in the 1,400-meter race. Coming to the outside in the straight, she demolished her rivals with a devastating acceleration to finish over a length in front of TROILUS, with BARAKATLE in third.
QATAR PRX MIROMESNIL: PREDETERMINED PROVES HIS WORTH
Owned and trained by Jacques Bertin, PREDETERMINED was not one of the most prominent competitors in the Qatar Prix Miromesnil, a handicap over 1,300m. However, he was the one who won the race, adding the fifth victory to his account.
After sitting in the fifth position in a race led by Duquesa Penguin, Predetermined showed a nice turn of foot 150m from the line, easily taking the lead, accompanied by jockey Arnaud Bourgeais. Carrying top weight in the race, he won by two and a half lengths. Heptathlete looking to make a showing, but he could not follow the eventual winner in his acceleration and finished second.
Photo credits: Scoopdyga and Zuzanna Lupa