In the presence of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s biggest racing event, HH The Amir Sword Festival, came to a thrilling conclusion with H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Ebraz and H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s French King winning the Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbred features respectively on Saturday.
Julian Colin Smart enjoyed his fourth straight win in the USD 1 million H.H. The Amir Sword (Gr1 PA), sponsored by Al Hazm and Al Emadi Co., with EBRAZ (Amer x Massamarie) winning the 2400m feature under Maxime Guyon. Once Umm Qarn’s YAZEED (Munjiz x Al Dahma) went past pacemaker Aaley Al Magam, Ebraz’s older stablemate GAZWAN (Amer x Arc De Ciel) struggled keeping up with Olivier Peslier’s mount, but Ebraz came into his own and caught up fast on the leader before steadily taking the advantage and winning by three quarters of a length to spare. The win was Ebraz’s second in the race, having won in 2017, before finishing second behind Gazwan last year. It was also Smart’s seventh victory in the all-important Arabian feature.
The famous silks of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani were back in the winner’s circle for the Festival’s million-dollar Thoroughbred feature, HH The Amir Trophy (Gr1), presented by Longines, for the first time since 2013 when Olivier Peslier rode Henri-Alex Pantall’s ward, FRENCH KING (French Fifteen x Marina Piccola), to a smashing victory in the penultimate race of the card on Saturday. Peslier had the 4yo set the pace up front, which proved crucial, eventually as the duo created enough gap on the rest of the field for a comfortable one and a half-length victory with trainer Jerome Reynier missing out on his second feature of the Festival as the fast-closing ROYAL JULIUS (Royal Applause x Hflah) could only manage second under Gerald Mosse. Ryan Moore guided his first runner in Qatar, Aidan O’Brien’s HUNTING HORN (Camelot x Mora Bai) to third for a sweep by overseas runners.
Mohammed Jassim Ghazali Jahromi’s third winner in the Festival weekend was Trials runner-up FAKHIR (No Risk Al Maury x China Orientele), who found some extra reserves of energy in the final 100m of the race to win the USD 250000 H.H THE AMIR SILVER SWORD (Sponsored by Ooredoo) (4yo PA) by one and a half-length. With Harry Bentley in the saddle, the colt steadily went past the leader and Trials winner AJS Moaddie, helmed by Qatari Faleh Bughanaim, to hand his owner Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari his sixth winner of the flagship racing weekend in Qatar.
Stefano Ibido’s ward, BEACHWALK (Showcasing x Esplanade), brushed aside his struggling run since arrival in Qatar for a thrilling victory in the HH THE AMIR SHALFA (THOROUGHBREDS Class 1) (Sponsored by Manateq). Cristian Demuro, riding the 4yo in the colours of Abdulhadi Mana Al Hajri, had his mount stay midfield in the 2000m run before moving up on the outside coming off the turn. In the final furlong, the duo was neck and neck with Eduardo Pedroza ridden Jewel House but found that extra pace to move ahead in the final 100m for a memorable win by a length and a quarter.
Britain’s GLOBAL SPECTRUM (Dutch Art x Lady Darshaan) kept his unbeaten record intact when Gay Kelleway’s ward made a determined run for the prize in the AL BIDDAH MILE (QA Gr2) (Sponsored by Almuftah Group). Local hope Luchador, ridden by JP Guillambert for Jassim Mohammed Ghazali Jahromi, held the lead for the bulk of the race but couldn’t hold on as Gerald Mosse attacked on the outside with Global Spectrum and eventually made it three on three astride the 3yo by half a length.
Jassim Mohammed Ghazali Jahromi saddled his sixth winner of the weekend when ANIMA ROCK (Shamalgan x Carnet De Bal) registered his first Group success topping the DUKHAN SPRINT (QA Gr 3) (Sponsored by Breeders’ Cup) (3yo & older THOROUGHBREDS). With Theo Bachelot riding in the colours of Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari, the 4yo stayed at the back of the pack early on in the six furlong run before pacing up after the turn. The colt took the lead a furlong out and did enough to beat British raider Stone Of Destiny, helmed by Oisin Murphy, by a length and a quarter at the post for his seventh career win.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s SHARESA (Burning Sand x Margouia) extended her unbeaten run this season much to the delight of her trainer Julian Colin Smart on Saturday. The 6yo won the QATAR INTERNATIONAL CUP (GR1 PA) (Sponsored by Daam) (4yo & older) in spectacular fashion with Theo Bachelot letting the filly surge forward 250m out and she duly obeyed taking a slight advantage and then winning by half a length for her fifth straight victory, beating the Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle-saddled Al Naama, ridden by Qatari jockey Faleh Bughanaim, by half a length.
A year after finishing third in the AL RAYYAN BREEDERS CUP (4yo & older LOCAL THOROUGHBREDS), Ali Khalfan Mohammed Ali Sheban Al Suwaidi’s ASAAF (Aussie Rules x Feel) made it to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s card opener with a thrilling victory. With Japanese jockey Ryu Abe in the saddle, Zuhair Mohsen Zuhair Maki’s ward took a slight advantage in the final 50 metres on the inside and held on by a short head ahead of the Ryan Curatolo-ridden Sraab, whose fantastic run on the home straight threatened the most as the track ran out.