Agencies Deauville, France
Sheail bin Khalifa al-Kuwari’s Saqr raced to a dominant victory in what was the first day of racing open to the public since March as Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s (QREC)-sponsored Qatar Prix Jean Prat meeting at Deauville in France emerged as a huge success yesterday.
Later in the afternoon, it was Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo that took the coveted Qatar Prix Jean Prat, the Group 1 feature of the nine-race meeting.
The QREC’s sponsorship of the fantastic meeting is part of its strategy to enhance Qatar’s presence at the world’s top racing events.
Trained by Fabrice Chappet in Chantilly, Saqr opened the bumper card, keeping his perfect scorecard when winning the Qatar Prix des Yearlings, as Deauville enjoyed the sun and a festive atmosphere, with racing professionals and public delighted to be back at a racecourse.
The two-year-old colt came here off an impressive two-and-a-half length win on debut last month. He was ridden again by Vincent Cheminaud yesterday, and once inside the final 400m, he took the lead. Never in danger, he stretched his legs and pulled clear to win again by the same margin in front of Central Park West, also a winner on his debut.
“He’s a good colt. He won well on his debut, but it wasn’t a strong race. Today, he’s shown that he’s improved. He had the race won from a long way out and wasn’t touched with the stick. We’ll see him in the big two-year-old races this summer,” Chappet said after the win.
Chappet was also the winning trainer in the Qatar Prix de la Place Morny (handicap), with Kilfrush Memories winning the six-furlong run by a little more than a length.
The two leading two-year-old colts of 2019, Earthlight and Pinatubo, were both entered in Deauville, in the Qatar Prix Kistena (Listed) and the Qatar Prix Jean Prat (Group 1) respectively. Earthlight was making his return to the track following a delayed start to the season due to injury and did not disappoint, storming home to a two-and-a-half length victory under Mickael Barzalona for trainer Andre Fabre.
Pinatubo, not to be outdone, made short work of his opponents in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat, taking this coveted Group 1 prize back to Newmarket for Appleby.
Appleby came to Deauville with confidence, and with reason. He was also the winning trainer in the Qatar Prix Amandine, a Listed race for three-year-old fillies, with Althiqa, and the second Group race of the day, the Qatar Prix de Ris-Orangis (Group 3) with Royal Crusade.
Another horse making a long-awaited comeback was Watch Me, by Al Shaqab Racing sire Olympic Glory. Last year’s Coronation Stakes (Group 1) heroine, all eyes were on her in the Qatar Prix de la Calonne – Fonds Européen de l’Élevage, a Listed race for four-year-old and older fillies and mares.
She put any doubts to rest when showing an extraordinary turn of foot in the final furlong to win in an excellent time and by two-and-a-half lengths for trainer Francis Graffard.
Sheikh Mohamed’s Alsaher wins Prix Nez d’Or
Alsaher, a three-year-old Purebred Arabian colt bred and owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani and trained by François Rohaut, made a perfect debut at La Teste de Buch in France on Saturday, winning the Prix Nez d’Or by a short head under jockey Valentin Seguy.
In second, was Muqla, a homebred for His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani. The grey filly is trained by Didier Guillemin and was ridden by Alexandre Gavilan. Al Shaqab Racing’s homebred Alhareth finished a further nose behind in third. The bay colt was ridden by Julien Auge.
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