His Excellency Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC), hailed the Qatar Racing-owned Lightning Spear victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at this year’s renewal of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. He stated that winning such a Group 1 title is not easy at all given the importance of this race and its historical value and that it enhances the standing of Qatar’s horseracing worldwide.
Speaking while present at the Festival, HE Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi said, “Qatar Racing’s win is a victory for Qatar in general and it serves as a motivation for other studs, such as Al Shaqab, Al Shahania and Umm Qarn, to maintain their presence in this race in future, especially as it is one of the most coveted races worldwide and the most prestigious of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.”
“Winning a prestigious race for Thoroughbreds does not mean that there is no attention to Purebred Arabians”, continued Al Mohannadi, “particularly as QREC is committed to hold the Qatar International Stakes for Purebred Arabians as part of the Festival every year. It was Muraaqib who won the title this year, but that does not underestimate the value of Qatar’s horses and our considerable attention to Purebred Arabian races in the Qatar-sponsored racing events as demonstrated by organising a race for Purebred Arabians since the very first year of our partnership with Goodwood. This year’s renewal of the Qatar International Stakes has a top quality field, who between them had won 11 Group ones and 23 Pattern races. Such top quality runners confirm that QREC’s strategy of supporting Arabian racing all over the world has been successful. We have another experience at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where the Qatar Arabian World Cup has become a landmark in the world’s racing every year. Before Qatar’s sponsorship, no Arabian races were organised during the Arc weekend, but Qatar, in agreement with France Galop, has introduced this race, which is considered the World Cup for Pure Arabians. It is now run before the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe race as was the case at Chantilly last year. In fact, we have a clear commitment towards Purebred Arabian racing and horses as they represent a main part of Qatar’s heritage in the equestrian world.”
“Some people would ask why we do not organise such world-class Arabian races in Doha instead of having them run at festival overseas”, said Al Mohannadi, “And I would reply that if we see the participation in the Purebred Arabian races sponsored by Qatar in the Qatar Goodwood Festival and the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, we will find it of a top-level in terms of the quantity, quality and global standing of the runners. Such number of high-quality runners and world-class champions would not be guaranteed if we had such races in Doha. In addition, if we assist the horse connections to bring their top horses to run in Doha, the cost will be higher than having the races run in England or France. The equestrian and horseracing community members know this very well. Organising a race for pure Arabians in an event of high calibre such as the Qatar Goodwood Festival or the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe also ensures a huge turnout and a massive number of viewers, which cannot happen not only in Qatar, but also in any other Arab country where international Arabian races are held.”
Speaking about the results recorded by Qatar’s horses so far in the Festival, Al Mohanndi said, “We have seen the fantastic excellence of Qatar Racing when Lightning Spear landed the Qatar Sussex Stakes. Al Shaqab’s return has also been impressive with two wins so far by Watan on the first day and Medahim on the second day. Watan’s win is very special as he was bred by Al Shaqab and this very fact reflects His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani’s support to Al Shaqab breeding operation and their presence in the world’s top racing festivals and events. I would like also to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani for his presence during the first two days of the Festival and to His Excellency Yousef bin Ali Al Khater, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom. I think the large-scale Qatari presence is a huge gain, which should be maintained, especially in such a high-profile event.”