Massive international interest for H.H. The Emir’s Sword Festival

Preliminary entries for the top races at H.H. The Emir’s Sword Festival have been announced and there is a lot of international interest — 78 overseas entries to be precise from eight countries, including the UK, France, Oman, Japan, Germany, the USA, Ireland and Italy — for the six international races in the three-day festival, which is the highlight of the racing season here in Qatar. This is beside the large number of quality entries from Qatar.

The Al Rayyan racecourse will play host to some of the highest quality races for Arabians and Thoroughbreds from 22 to 24 February 2018, with the H.H. The Emir’s Sword (Gr1 PA) (Sponsored by Total) and H.H. The Emir’s Trophy (Gr1) (Presented by Longines) the highlight of the festival.

The 2400m feature for the Pure Arabians has seen considerable interest from Oman, with eight horses making the trip, besides Frenchman Thomas Fourcy bringing along Al Shaqab Racing’s Almaa, winner of the 2200m French Arabian Breeders’ Challenge Classic (Gr2 PA) in Toulouse in October, for the USD 1 million race.

Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Hajri has three preliminary entries, including Chaddad, second at Meydan last month over 1900m, Bakir De Flauzins and Amaar.

Aditiyan Selvaratnam has two horses — Khozan and Al Mahdod — while Badar Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Hajri, Faisal Abdullah Al Senaidi and Mohammed Bin Salim Al Ghenami have an entry each; Mebish, Zaqur and Kontrat De Ghazal respectively.

The H.H. The Emir’s Sword race will also see some local rivalry come to life with Umm Qarn’s Derby winner Yazeed, and Tayf, winner of Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood in August, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Ebraz, 2017 Emir’s Sword champion, and Gazwan, Qatar Arabian World Cup topper, entering too.

The Alduino Botti-trained Qatar Derby winner Mac Mahon is expected to make the trip to Doha again from Italy, this time for the H.H. The Emir’s Trophy (Gr1).

There are four entries each from the UK and the USA in the USD 1 million race.

Top rated Chemical Charge (115) will be Ralph Beckett’s first runner in Qatar, with the preliminary entries also listing Richard Fahey’s Gabrial, Marco Botti’s Red Label and Andrew Balding’s Elbereth.

US trainer Chad Brown is expected to bring in Grade 2 winner Money Multiplier while Germany’s Andreas Wohler will be back with Noor Al Hawa, second behind Chopin last year, and so is Waldemar Hickst trained Parviz, third behind Mac Mahon in December.

Two Japanese bred horses are also in the list, including Mondo Intero and Toshin Monstera while Ireland trainer Jim Bolger has Qatari Hunter and Glamorous Approach.

2016 topper The Blue Eye and Al Biddah Mile winner Opera Baron are entered too.

UK trainer Roger Teal’s Tip Two Win, easy winner of the Al Rayyan Stakes in December, stands out among the entries for the Group 2 Al Biddah Mile. Among the 28 preliminary entries for the USD 250,000 race, are three more runners from the UK and three runners from France, including one from Francois Rohaut.

Among the 50 entries for Group 3 Dukhan Sprint (Sponsored by Breeders’ Cup) are nine runners from eight UK handlers, including multiple Group 1 winner Gordon Lord Byron, trained by Tom Hogan. The likes of David O’Meara and Hugo Palmer have also entered their wards for the six-furlong race.

Jassim Mohammed Ghazali Jahromi’s Izzthatright and My Sharona are among the leading local horses entered in the race.

The Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup, open to older horses, has the likes of the Harry Dunlop-trained Group winner Robin of Navan in the preliminary list.

Mario Hofer, who had travelled to Qatar in 2015 with Rogue Runner to top the Qatar Derby in a dead heat with Tannaaf, has entered German-bred Diplomat while Palmer and Richard Fahey’s wards feature in the 54-strong list too.

Frenchmen Fourcy and Rohaut have entered Al Shaqab Racing’s Zikreet and Dr. Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah & Son’s Ateej in the Qatar International Cup (Gr1 PA), which is open to 4yo and older horses. Nine runners from Oman have also been entered in the miler.

Local entries in the race are top-rated Al Naif Racing’s Molheb Al Naif (122) and Umm Qarn’s TM Thunder Struck (122).