His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Ebraz proved to be an absolute “legend” when he raced to an unprecedented double-triple to bring His Highness The Amir Sword Festival to a spectacular conclusion at a lively Al Rayyan Park yesterday.
On a day of stars, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani’s French King was unstoppable as he emerged victorious in His Highness The Amir Trophy (Group 1), the million dollar Thoroughbred feature, for the second straight year.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani applauds the winners of His Highness The Amir Sword race after His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani's (centre) Ebraz was ridden to victory by Maxime Guyon (second from left) yesterday. Julian Smart (left)-trained horse won the flagship Arabian race of Qatar for the third time and in the process also won the Triple Crown. Also seen in the picture are Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) chairman Issa al-Mohannadi (second from right), QREC CEO Nasser Sherida al-Kaabi (right) and Al Emadi Enterprises CEO Mohamed al-Emadi (third from right), and Al Shahania Stud Director Abdul Rahman al-Mansour (fourth from left).
His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani applauds as His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani lifts the His Highness The Amir Trophy after French King won the 2400m race.
His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani presents the trainer's trophy to Henri-Alex Pantall (left) after French King won His Highness The Amir Trophy (Group 1) .
Julian Smart-trained Ebraz, ridden by Maxime Guyon yesterday, not only won His Highness The Amir Sword (Group 1 PA) for a record third time, having bagged the title previously in 2017 and 2019, but also the Triple Crown.
“He is the best horse in the world,” Smart said after the win that saw the colt finish almost two lengths ahead of Umm Qarn’s Alban de Mieulle-trained duo Tayf and Yazeed.
“It is unbelievable. Everybody said it (Triple Crown) was impossible. One mile in July at Goodwood (Qatar International Stakes), 2000m in October at Longchamp (Qatar Arabian World Cup) with the (heavy) ground and 2400m here. Look at the tracks, look at the conditions, look at the countries, look at the weather. Transportation. I mean it takes an absolute legend to do that,” said Smart, who has now won Qatar’s flagship Purebred Arabian race for the seventh time in a decade.
Coming out of Gate 1, the Guyon-ridden colt stayed on the rails midfield even as stablemate Aaley Al Magam took charge up front with Olivier Peslier-ridden Yazeed right behind. Coming off the far bend, De Mieulle duo Yazeed and Soufiane Saadi-helmed Tayf moved up front.
Guyon found a gap between the two leaders and managed to go past them before easing to a spectacular victory.
Al Shahania Stud manager Dean Lavy added: “It’s amazing. What a fantastic horse; to win three Amir Sword and then to make it a Triple Crown. Right now, yes he is (the greatest Arabian horse). This will be very difficult to duplicate.”
Umm Qarn and Peslier, however, had already tasted victory winning the Thoroughbred feature with Henri-Alex Pantall-trained French King, who was in a league of his own when he beat American raider Standard Deviation and French contender Pedro Cara, both in the colours of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, by two-and-a-half lengths.
“He is a good horse and has evolved to be better now (than last year),” Pantall said after the win, adding that he “hopes” to come back next year for a hat-trick.
Peslier was beaming about his partner. “This was better compared to how he won last year. He started really well. He wanted to go almost 600m out and I let him,” said the French rider.
The owner-trainer-jockey combine of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, Smart and Guyon had registered another Group 1 victory earlier in the day.
Methgal registered his first Group 1 win when the four-year-old bagged the Qatar International Cup (Group 1 PA) in thrilling fashion.
Guyon had the TM Fred Texas colt stay in the mix for the bulk of the mile, before joining Thomas Fourcy-schooled French raider Shalaa in the front. Half-a-furlong out, Methgal dipped into his reserves and steadily began easing past the Julien Auge-ridden horse for a fine win much to the delight his connections.
Champion trainer Jassim Mohamed Ghazali saddled a winner in the Al Biddah Mile (QA Group 2) after the acquisition from the UK, Sir Arthur Dayne, made good on the promise he showed on his Qatar debut earlier this month.
The three-year-old colt, helmed by British champion jockey Oisin Murphy in the colours of Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari, had finished runner-up behind Georges Mikhalides-schooled Think Big last time round, but the former just about managed to turn the tables at the post yesterday, scraping past Tom Marquand and his mount while on the rails for a win by half-a-length.
The al-Kuwari silks entered the winner’s circle once again after French raider Al Malhouf bagged His Highness The Amir Shalfa, a handicap race for four-year-old and older Thoroughbreds.
Ridden by Cristophe Soumillon for Frenchman Fabrice Chappet, the five-year-old stayed within striking distance early on in the 2000m race before taking the advantage coming off the bend, and then holding on for a fine win.
Another French raider, Lady Princess, completed a hat-trick for last year’s leading owner al-Kuwari, when the Thomas Fourcy charge raced to a dominant 11-length victory in the His Highness The Amir Silver Sword. With Soumillon again in the saddle for the al-Kuwari silks, the filly stayed behind another Fourcy ward, Emporio, before taking charge coming off the bend and then she was unstoppable.
After guiding Stefano Ibido-schooled Dark Pursuit to two course and distance victories this season, jockey Luca Maniezzi was once again astride Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri-owned gelding and two did not disappoint in the sprint feature — Breeders' Cup-sponsored Dukhan Sprint (QA Group 3).
The four-year-old found enough pace at the business end of the six-furlong sprint to edge out Oisin Murphy ridden Izzthatright at the post by a length.
The victory was Ibido’s second Group level win in Qatar, after the Khor Al Adaid Cup back in January 2018 with Otwo, while Izzthatright missed out on the win for the third straight year.
The day began with a thrilling victory for Sheikh Faisal bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani’s Surra Man Raa, who avenged his defeat to Al Jeryan Stud’s Al Lusail in the Trials earlier this month. Soufiane Saadi helmed the Ibrahim al-Malki-trained gelding to a close short head victory ahead of Ronan Thomas-ridden Al Lusail in the 2000m Al Rayyan Breeders Cup.
Race 1: 1. Surra Man Raa (Soufiane Saadi), 2. Al Lusail (Ronan Thomas), 3. Shaman Bu Thaila (Eduardo Pedroza), 4. Abu Samrah (Theo Bachelot). Won by: Shd, 1, 1 ¼. Time:2:06.83. Owner: Sheikh Faisal bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. Trainer: Ibrahim al-Malki.
Race 2: 1. Methgal (Maxime Guyon), 2. Shalaa (Julien Auge), 3. Marid (Olivier Peslier), 4. Bin General (Ronan Thomas). Won by: 1, 2 ¼, 1 ¼. Time: 1:40.93. Owner: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Julian Smart.
Race 3: 1. Dark Pursuit (Luca Maniezzi), 2. Izzthatright (Oisin Murphy), 3. Shobrom (Ivan Rossi), 4. Gulliver (Jason Hart). Won by: 1, ¾, ¾. Time: 1:11.39. Owner: Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri. Trainer: Stefano Ibido.
Race 4: 1. Sir Arthur Dayne (Oisin Murphy), 2. Think Big (Tom Marquand), 3. Perfect Empire (Harry Bentley), 4. Happy Bere (Olivier Peslier). Won by: ½, 1 ¼, 1 ½. Time: 1:33.42. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Jassim Mohamed Ghazali.
Race 5: 1. Al Malhouf (Cristophe Soumillon), 2. Pazeer (Eduardo Pedroza), 3. Hajaj (Faleh Bughanaim), 4. Zamharer (Mickael Barzalona). Won by: 1 ¼, ¾, Dh. Time: 2:02.39. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Fabrice Chappet.
Race 6: 1. Lady Princess (Cristophe Soumillon), 2. Emporio (Julien Auge), 3. Ginkeau (Faleh Bughanaim), 4. Goingfor Al Baraka (Adrie de Vries). Won by: 11, 5, 1 ½. Time: 1:52.60. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Thomas Fourcy.
Race 7: 1. French King (Olivier Peslier), 2. Standard Deviation (Oisin Murphy), 3. Pedro Cara (Tony Piccone), 4. Noor Al Hawa (Tom Marquand). Won by: 2 ½, 1 ½, 1 ¾. Time: 2:25.91. Owner: His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Henri-Alex Pantall.
Race 8: 1. Ebraz (Maxime Guyon), 2. Tayf (Soufiane Saadi), 3. Yazeed (Olivier Peslier), 4. Khataab (Jerome Cabre). Won by: 1 ¾, ¾, 2. Time: 2:31.22. Owner: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Julian Smart.