Qatar set to create history
March 22 2013 10:15 PM

HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani with TM Fred Texas which won the Kahayla Classic last year.

By Chris Hoover/Doha

HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani’s Planteur will create history at the Dubai World Cup on March 30 when the six-year-old becomes the first Qatari-owned horse to take part in the world’s richest race.

Come next week, it will be a proud moment for Qatar when Planteur runs in Al Shaqab Racing colours in the $10 million race. Al Shaqab Racing is owned by HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani.

One of the most-awaited events in the racing calendar – the Dubai World Cup will see Qatar’s entry for the first time in its 30th edition.

Last year Planteur had finished third in the Dubai World Cup — it was owned by  the UAE’s Mohamed al-Ghafli then — but this time there are hopes the colt will do better.

The Director of Al Shaqab Racing, Khalifa Mohammed al-Attiyah, was delighted to confirm Planteur’s participation in the Dubai World Cup. “It is the first time that a Qatari-owned horse is participating in the Dubai World Cup. We already have won a Group I race in France in October. We have had a good start in this business and we will look to improve it further,” al-Attiyah told the Gulf Times.

“The racing standard in Qatar has also gone up vastly and we will play our part to take Qatar’s racing to a new level. We hope to bring laurels for Qatar and put it on the world map,” he added.

Planteur is trained by Marco Botti. Under his guidance, the horse will mount a serious challenge in Dubai.

Speaking about the forthcoming big contest, Botti said: “Planteur was acquired by HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani and will go under my direction in the Dubai World Cup. I am pleased to welcome a new owner in my stable.”

In its preparatory race last month, Planteur broke the track record in the Winter Derby Trial in Lingfield and comes into the race in tremendous form.

Apart from Dubai World Cup, there will be three more big races where Qatar is all set to make its presence felt. They will be part of the line-up in the Kahayla Classic (Group I), Dubai Duty Free (Group I) and Dubai Sheema Classic (Group I).

Umm Qarn’s Very Nice Name, trained by Alban de Mieulle, will be in contention for Dubai Sheema Classic along with Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani-owned Dunaden who is also a serious contender in this race.

Qatar’s TM Fred Texas, Al Mamun Monlau and Rich Frynchman will be at the starting gates in Kahayla Classic. French Fifteen will be Qatar’s representative in Dubai Duty Free race.

Also Qatari jockey Faleh al-Bughanaim will be riding on the Dubai World Cup day on March 30.

“We have last year’s winner TM Fred Texas, Al Mamun Monlau and Rich Frynchman in the Kahalya Classic. We hope to retain the title for Sheikh Joaan. Fred Texas and Al Mamun Monlau are in good form and we will also have a Qatari rider Faleh al-Bughanaim riding on the Dubai World Cup day,” al-Attiyah said.

“It is Sheikh Joaan’s vision to promote Qatari riders on the world stage. Faleh has already ridden in USA and France. We will continue to promote Qatari riders to ride in big races all over the world,” he added.

As an owner of racehorses, Sheikh Joaan has already made his name. His greatest triumph came on Arc weekend at Longchamp when the then two-year Olympic Glory won the Prix Lean-Luc Lagardere at Group I level.

Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club general manager Sami Jassim al-Boenain was thrilled at the prospect of a Qatari-owned horse participating in the Dubai World Cup. “It is great news for Qatar. This is the first time that a horse from Qatar would be in the line-up for this most prestigious race. The whole of Qatar would support Sheikh Joaan’s Planteur, who goes into the race with a huge chance. It is going to be very exciting and we hope to bring the Cup home.”

“We have a very good chance in the Kahalya Classic as TM Fred Texas, Al Mamun Monlau and Rich Frynchman are in the contest. I am glad that we will be watching Qatari rider Faleh Bughanaim displaying his talent during the weekend. We must thank Sheikh Joaan for promoting local talent on the international stage,” Sami added




BELOW: Much is expected of Planteur in the Dubai World Cup.


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