By Sports Reporter /Doha
The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) will organise the Qatar International Derby Festival at Al Rayyan Park on December 21-22, 2018, with Tip Two Win, who proved his mettle with a second place in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last May, the star attraction.
Trained in Berkshire by Roger Teal, Tip Two Win is defending an unbeaten record at Al Rayyan having won on both of his visits to Doha last winter. He went on to frank that form in the Guineas, with superstars like Epsom Derby winner, Masar; the European Horse Of The Year, Roaring Lion; and the Breeders’ Cup Mile hero, Expert Eye, behind him.
Tip Two Win has not raced since finishing unplaced in the Group 2 Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on July 31. He had earlier come home in fourth in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He is one of five European-trained thoroughbreds declared to run at the Festival, where he will contest the US$500,000 Qatar Derby over a mile and a quarter on turf on December 22.
He will as usual be ridden by David Probert when he is part of a 12-runner line-up alongside the three-time Listed Race scorer, Mr Satchmo (trained in France by Antoine de Watrigant and ridden by Olivier Peslier), and Tadgh O’Shea’s mount Ming, who was beaten less than four lengths in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in America in August and is trained in Ireland by Joseph O’Brien.
Home hopes largely rest with the 1-2-3 from last month’s Thoroughbred Guineas: Prepare For Battle, Al Adaid and Alhazm.
On December 21, there will be two British runners among a 12-strong field for the US$100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes – Concierge (trained by George Scott and ridden by Jason Watson) and Don Armado (trained by Stuart Williams and ridden by Probert).
This is a seven-furlong turf contest which Tip Two Win won last December before returning to Doha to land the Al Biddah Mile eight weeks later.
French handler Thomas Fourcy and jockey Julien Augé will team up to take part December 22nd’s two big races for purebred Arabians.
Rijm, winner of a Group 1 in Toulouse in October, is their representative in the US$150,000 Qatar Pure Arabian Derby for four-year-olds over a mile and a quarter on turf.
His ten Qatari-trained opponents in a classy renewal include Easter de Faust, winner of five of her six career starts including the Emir’s Silver Sword and last year’s Qatar Derby for three-year-olds; the dual French Group 2 winner, Rajeh; and the first three home from last month’s Arabian Guineas at Al Rayyan – Abercrombie, Evolution du Croate and Meelad.
Fourcy and Augé rely on Amir Al Cham, placed at Group 2 level on his penultimate start, in the Qatar Pure Arabian Derby for three-year-olds, a one-mile turf event worth US$100,000 (£74,074). The ten-strong home team here is led by Daloob and Tabouk, who fought out a tight finish at this course three weeks ago.
Roger Teal, trainer of Tip Two Win, said: “Tip Two Win had a racecourse gallop at Kempton Park on Tuesday morning and put a big smile on my face. He went so well that I’m starting to get nervous already ahead of the Qatar Derby.
“David (Probert) rode him and he went one circuit, which is a mile and a quarter, in the company of High Acclaim, who is a very good work horse. They went a nice strong pace all the way.
“Al Rayyan is a nice level track and he will be able to bounce off the fast surface there so if he’s going to get a mile and a quarter anywhere, it will be in Doha. It’s great prize money and they looked after us so well last year that we have to give it another go.
“His plane leaves in the early hours of Saturday morning and he’s a good traveller – nothing fazes him.”
QREC chief executive officer Nasser Sherida al-Kaabi said, “The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club is very pleased with the quality of the entries for this year’s Qatar International Derby Festival. We look forward to hosting so many international friends and horses at the Festival as we once more take the opportunity to promote Qatar as a world hub for horseracing and a leader in the pure Arabian breed.”
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