His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani celebrated a homebred 1-2 on Tuesday when the four-year-old colt Sahran led home Nafe’eh in the Prix Val d'Adour — Wathba Stallions Cup, a conditions race for four-year-old and older Purebred Arabians. Almajar too led home an unprecedented 1-2-3 for Al Shaqab Racing’s four-year-old homebreds in the Prix Kris II – Wathba Stallions Cup at the venue.
Running over 2,300m in Tarbes, France, Sahran, drawn on the outside, initially found himself in mid-division under jockey Valentin Seguy, but moved forward when reaching the turn to sit in second just behind colour companion Nafe’eh — positions which remained unchanged throughout the back straight.
Sahran moved up to join Julien Auge and his partner Nafe’eh in the final turn and both horses were travelling easily. In the straight, the two runners in the blue and white stars battled together. However once inside the final 200m, Sahran pulled clear to cross the line by a two-length margin. Al Shaqab Racing’s homebred Gassab, ridden by Jerome Cabre, was a further three-quarters of a length behind in third for Thomas Fourcy.
This was a first win for the Francois Rohaut-trained Sahran, who was placed on three of his five starts as a three-year-old. Bred by Sheikh Mohamed, he is by Al Shahania Stud sire Mared Al Sahra, who stands at Haras de Thouars in France.
A little more than 90 minutes, earlier, Almajar also had triumphed in conditions race for four-year-old and older Purebred Arabians but over 1,500m.
Almajar, trained by Elisabeth Bernard, was a two-length winner in front of the Fourcy-trained pair of Hazzam and Murjan.
Drawn on the outside of 13 runners, Almajar was quickly away coming to sit in second place, just on the flanks of the leader Leena. Murjan sat in third or fourth on the rail with Hazzam just in behind. Almajar was very keen throughout the race and jockey Gary Sanchez let him come to join the leader in the final turn. In the straight, he quickly found himself in front as Leena faded and showed that he had plenty of quality to retain his advantage to the line.
"I liked the style of his win, but he remains a complicated horse, very keen. The more he runs, the more difficult it will be to hold on to him at the start," Bernard said after the win.
Almajar ran twice as a three-year-old, finishing fourth on his debut before winning his second start at Pau in December. Both events were over 1,400m.