Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari’s The Blue Eye served a spectacular climax to the HE Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy Day at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s (QREC) Al Rayyan Park Saturday, winning the USD 100,000 Thoroughbreds feature, even as Umm Qarn’s Tayf added yet another Group level victory to his CV.
In the 2200m finale, Al Wasmiyah Farm’s Noor Al Hawa was all set to complete a hat-trick of victories when Theo Bachelot-ridden The Blue Eye, saddled by champion trainer Jassim Mohamed Ghazali, darted past the Ronan Thomas-ridden colt in the final 50m to win by a quarter-of-a-length.
For the connections, it was heartening moment with the eight-year-old proving his credentials twice in a row, having missed out on a few wins this season.
“We waited for the last moment. We did an excellent job. We waited for a long time for this race, after the race that The Blue Eye came second in. Many had said that he is become old, and that’s that. But this is just the beginning. We are looking forward to facing all these great horses and international horses during the big race meeting,” al-Kuwari told Gulf Times Saturday.
Ghazali added: “The race was a very tough one for me. Alhumdulillah, he won last time out, but today was a great win because some really good horses were in the field. He was up against some new horses too, mostly horses that will run in the Amir’s Sword meeting. He is eight years old, and he has run for six years here. He has won everything and has given me everything that I hoped for.”
In the penultimate race of the day, a Group 3 run for four-year-old and older Arabians, Tayf led a paddock sweep for trainer Alban de Mieulle. The grey son of Amer, who has now won five Group races out of his six wins, had little trouble to take the lead under Soufiane Saadi with Bin General, ridden by Thomas, holding his own in the 2200m race despite setting the pace for the bulk of the run, to finish second.
Al Shaqab Racing’s Gtnah too hit the paddock with a close third under Faleh Bughanaim.
“I am pleased for (His Highness) Sheikh Abdullah (bin Khalifa al-Thani). I think all three of them will go for HH The Amir’s Sword. Tayf is coming back well. Also very happy for the filly Gtnah, she did well and should go for the Amir’s Sword,” de Mieulle said.
In a thrilling finish, Deborah Mountain-saddled Minstrel entered the winner’s circle at the Al Rayyan Park for the first time since his arrival in Qatar from France last year. With Ryan Curatolo in the saddle, the Hassan Ali al-Abdulmalik-owned colt grabbed the advantage coming off the far bend in the mile-long race for four-year-old Purebred Arabians.
Despite a decent advantage, Minstrel was threatened by Bachelot-ridden Shamayel in the final 50m after the Mohamed Jassim Ghazali-saddled horse put his turn of foot on display. The latter, however, ran out of real estate, as Minstrel won by a head.
“Made a move very very early, around the bend,” Mountain told Gulf Times after the win. “He (Curatolo) said there was a little bit of trouble with another horse on the rail. So we had to make the move, and it was nailbiting along the straight. Otherwise he (Minstrel) put his head out, he tried really hard and he won nicely. I mean at the end of the day he won the race.”
Al Shaqab Racing’s Al Naama completed a hat-trick racing to her third straight victory around the turf at Al Rayyan Park Saturday. In the race for Purebred Arabians, the six-year-old ward of Alban de Mieulle stayed not too far from the front under Bughanaim, the Qatari Jockey of the Year Award winner.
As the action came off the far bend on to the home straight, there was a scrap for space in the field but Bughanaim and his mount soon surged forward and stayed ahead, finishing a little more than two lengths ahead of Al Jeryan Stud’s AJS Moaddie, even as another Al Shaqab horse, Daloob, completed the top three.
Al Jeryan Stud’s Al Lusail continued with his fantastic run around Al Rayyan Park as the Mohamed Nasser al-Naimi-schooled versatile colt raced to his 10th career win out of 21 outings Saturday.
Ronan Thomas had the six-year-old stay within striking distance of early leader Surra Man Raa, ridden by Anas al-Seyabi, and others. Thomas and Al Lusail, however, hit traffic problems on the home straight, and the jockey had his mount step out for a clear run to the finish in the final furlong. And the two were off in no time to pick up a fine win in the 1750m race for four-year-old and older local Thoroughbreds.
Arabic Channel made it two-in-two for the Al Jeryan Stud colours with the four-year-old topping the seven-furlong race for four-year-old and older Thoroughbreds.
In the process, Tomas Lukasek’s mount also led a one-two for trainer al-Naimi, whose Venedegar, ridden by Alexander Reznikov in the colours of Mohamed bin Hamad Khalifa al-Attiyah, finished runner-up.
Luca Maniezzi guided Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri’s Dark Pursuit to victory in a thrilling finish to the race for three-year-old and older Thoroughbreds, edging out Ivan Rossi-ridden Connery by a nose.
However, Al Wasmiyah Farm’s Think Big bagged a contrasting victory in the race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds when Lukasek had his mount take the advantage one-and-a-half furlongs out and easing their victory in the seven-furlong run.
Earlier in the day, Umm Qarn’s Ashoura made a winning debut under Soufiane Saadi to shed her maiden status in the race for local Arabians for trainer De Mieulle, before Osama Omer al-Dafea’s Tahar edged out the favourite, Julian Smart-trained Murihk, under Ryan Curatolo by a short head in a novice race.
Race 1: 1. Ashoura (Soufiane Saadi), 2. Zalzeleehom (Theo Bachelot), 3. Rannanah (Maikon De Souza), 4. Maitha (Ivan Rossi). Won by: 4 ¾, 10 ½, 2 ½. Time: 1:34.86. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 2: 1. Tahar (Ryan Curatolo), 2. Murihk (Tomas Lukasek), 3. Rodina (JP Guillambert), 4. AJS Al Uraiq (Leo Salles). Won by: Shd, 3 ¼, Hd. Time: 1:34.62. Owner: Osama Omer al-Dafea. Trainer: Osama Omer al-Dafea.
Race 3: 1. Dark Pursuit (Luca Maniezzi), 2. Connery (Ivan Rossi), 3. Take A Nap (Marco Casamento), 4. Receding Waves (JP Guillambert). Won by: No, 1 ½, 1. Time: 1:12.79. Owner: Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri.Trainer: Stefano Ibido.
Race 4: 1. Think Big (Tomas Lukasek), 2. Sir Arthur Dayne (Marco Casamento), 3. Happy Bere (Ronan Thomas), 4. Taxiwala (Faleh Bughanaim). Won by: 3 ½, 1 ½, ½. Time: 1:24.70. Owner: Al Wasmiyah Farm. Trainer: Georges Mikhalides.
Race 5: 1. Al Lusail (Ronan Thomas), 2. Surra Man Raa (Anas al-Seyabi), 3. Abu Samrah (Theo Bachelot), 4. Shaman Bu Thaila (Eduardo Pedroza). Won by: 1 ¼, 1, ¼. Time: 1:48.05. Owner: Al Jeryan Stud. Trainer: Mohamed Nasser al-Naimi.
Race 6: 1. Arabic Channel (Tomas Lukasek), 2. Venedegar (Alexander Reznikov), 3. Pettifogger (Luca Maniezzi), 4. On The Front Line (Maikon De Souza). Won by: ½, ¾, Hd. Time: 1:25.20. Owner: Al Jeryan Stud. Trainer: Mohamed Nasser al-Naimi.
Race 7: 1. Al Naama (Faleh Bughanaim), 2. AJS Moaddie (Tomas Lukasek), 3. Daloob (Ronan Thomas), 4. Prince Amer (Theo Bachelot). Won by: 2 ¼, 1 ¾, 1 ½. Time: 1:43.58. Owner: Al Shaqab Racing. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 8: 1. Minstrel (Ryan Curatolo), 2. Shamayel (Theo Bachelot), 3. Good Des Vialettes (Pier Convertino), 4. Ginkeau (Anas al-Seyabi). Won by: Hd, 2 ¾, 3 ¼. Time: 1:43.90. Owner: Hassan Ali al-Abdulmalik. Trainer: Deborah Mountain.
Race 9: 1. Tayf (Soufiane Saadi), 2. Bin General (Ronan Thomas), 3. Gtnah (Faleh Bughanaim), 4. Maxr (Tomas Lukasek). Won by: 2 ½, ¾, 1. Time: 2:30.50. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 10: 1. The Blue Eye (Theo Bachelot), 2. Noor Al Hawa (Ronan Thomas), 3. Full Moon (Pier Convertino), 4. Otwo (Tomas Lukasek). Won by: ¼, 1 ½, ¼. Time: 2:21.05. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Jassim Mohamed Ghazali.
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