Bentley rides ISHFAQ to Al Zubara Trophy win on first day

The HH The Amir Sword Festival got off to a great start with some quality action with Asian and Qatar Equestrian Federation President Hamad Bin Abdulrahman Al Attiyah presenting the trophies to the winners of the AL ZUBARA TROPHY, the feature for Local Purebred Arabians (4yo & older) on Thursday at QREC Al Rayyan Park.

Jassim Mohammed Ghazali Jahromi capped the first day of the Festival with Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s ISHFAQ (Asraa Min Al Barq x Djazie) topping the USD 150000 feature in thrilling fashion. The victory was second on the day for the champion trainer, with both winners helmed by champion jockey Harry Bentley. The win means that the 6yo has stayed unbeaten in Qatar so far, winning both his outings. On Thursday, he beat Ibrahim Saeed Ibrahim Al Malki’s ward, SHE’RIS (Mared Al Sahra x Kerbelle Du Loup), with Eduardo Pedroza in the saddle, by a quarter of a length, with Julian Colin Smart-saddled REDA (Burning Sand x Ba’scherit) completing the top three under Stephan Ladjadj.

JP Guillambert and his partner RECEDING WAVES (Dick Turpin x Welanga) held on just enough on the home straight for a thrilling victory in the penultimate race of the day. In the THOROUGHBREDS (Class 2) run, Guillambert had Mohammed Jassim Ghazali Jahromi’s ward came in from wide and into the lead on the back straight in the six-furlong sprint. The duo pulled away on the bend before the likes of the Jimmy Quinn-ridden Shobrom and the rest began a pursuit after the turn. However, the Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari-owned colt kept his advantage passing the post with three quarters of a length to spare.

Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari’s TAWAHID (Delegator x Show Flower) built on his French form making a notable first impression in Qatar when third running his longest race at 2000m. On Thursday, Mohammed Jassim Ghazali Jahromi’s ward, registered his first victory around Al Rayyan Park with JP Guillambert guiding the 4yo colt to a two-length pillar to post win in the mile-long THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (Class 3) (75-95).

Meshaal Bin Ali Al Attiyah’s SANDBETWEENOURTOES (Footstepsinthesand x Callanish) returned to the winner’s circle after over two years when the 10yo topped the THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (Class 3) (70-90) in impressive fashion. The gelding, trained by Mohammed Riyaz Ibrahim Kasim, had Gerald Avranche in the saddle, and the two did enough in the six-furlong sprint to beat the competition by three and a quarter lengths at the post.

Al Shaqab Racing’s HALOUL (Galileo x Eden’s Moon) bounced back from a forgettable finish with a fantastic victory on the first day of the HH The Amir Festival on Thursday. The colt followed up his consistent runs in France with a maiden victory on his Qatar debut for trainer Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle in December. However, he struggled in a handicap the next time round. On Thursday, the colt was off and away when Ronan Thomas let him and he surged past the leader Succeed and Excel with ease before winning by three and a half lengths.

AJS AL MOHEEB (Amer x Gabie De Carrere) led a one-two for champion trainer Jassim Mohammed Ghazali Jahromi in the PUREBRED ARABIAN HANDICAP (85 & below). In the mile-long run, the Mohammed Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Attiya-owned 6yo stayed on the heels of Al Shahania Stud’s E’zaaz before champion jockey Harry Bentley gave him the go ahead and off he was, eventually edging out the JP Guillambert-helmed E’zaaz by one and a half lengths for his second victory this season.

Ibrahim Saeed Ibrahim Al Malki’s SHAMAN BU THAILA (Soviet Secret x Picnic Party) had been impressive this season coming into Thursday’s LOCAL THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (85 & below) with two wins and two places. On Thursday, despite stepping up a bit in distance, the 5yo improved his strike to register his second straight victory with Jimmy Quinn. The colt finished with dominant nine lengths ahead of the competition in the 2000m run.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s ANNAN (Jaafer ASF x Djamour Des Forges) had finished behind Al Shaqab Racing’s Gtnah last time round in January this year. On Thursday, however, the 4yo ensured trainer Julian Colin Smart got to a winning start to the three-day Festival with a victory in the mile-long PUREBRED ARABIAN PLATE (4 Year Olds). With Theo Bachelot in the saddle, Annan, who had a couple of places coming into the race, did enough to beat the Ronan Thomas-ridden Gtnah by a head at the post.