__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

EBRAZ WINS THE $1.1 MILLION QATAR WORLD CUP PART OF EUROPE’S TOP RACE WEEKEND FOR ARABIANS by

Steve Andersen Juhaim photos

E

braz had hardly left the winner’s enclosure after the $1.10 million Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris on October 6 when winning trainer Julian Smart reflected on the horse’s phenomenal accomplishments through the year. A season that included a wintertime win in the Amir’s Sword at 2,400 meters in Qatar in February

and continued with a victory in the Qatar International Stakes at 1,600 meters in England in the summer ended with a comprehensive win in the Qatar Arabian World Cup at 2,000 meters. No other Arabian horse accomplished as much in as many diverse venues and at those important distances in 2019. “Three countries, three distances and three tracks,”

A H W > 148 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9


EBRAZ won the Group 1 $1.10 million Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris on October 6. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar and trained by Julian Smart, Ebraz (Amer x Massamarie by Tidjani) had a near-perfect season. Ebraz came from behind in the final stretch, ridden to the win by Maxime Guyon. The win gave Sheikh Mohammed his fifth Qatar World Cup win.

Smart said. “It takes a hell of a horse to do that.” Ebraz (Amer x Massamarie by Tidjani) had a near perfect season in 2019 for owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, winning six of seven starts. The only loss was a fourth in the Qatar Gold Sword in Qatar in April. That was ancient history by the time Ebraz was settled into his European campaign in the summer. For the Qatar Arabian World Cup, Europe’s top race for Arabians, Smart wanted a runner with a sharp mind and fresh legs. Ebraz did not start between his

victory in the Qatar International Trophy and the Qatar Arabian World Cup. He was held out of the Prix Dragon at Longchamp in September, a key prep for the Qatar Arabian World Cup. “Avoiding the prep is certainly an advantage since there are only three weeks between the two events,” Smart said. In the Qatar Arabian World Cup, Ebraz was favored in a field of 11, much smaller than the 16 that competed at Chantilly Racecourse in 2017, or the 16 when the race returned to Longchamp in 2018 after the track’s grandstand was rebuilt. Ebraz was third in the Qatar Arabian World Cup in 2017 and 2018, and Smart thought the six-year-old was always worthy of a title in Europe’s richest race for Arabians. Bettors held Ebraz in high regard, as well, sending him off as the favorite. Ridden by Maxime Guyon, Ebraz was last for the first mile of the race, though not too far behind pacesetter Mashhur Al Khalediah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah x Amerah Al Khalediah by Amer). Guyon had Ebraz racing outside of rivals with a half-mile remaining, but still at the back. As the field entered the long stretch, Ebraz found his best stride. He moved into contention with a quarter-mile remaining and took the lead in the final sixteenth. “I chose to ride without putting pressure on him,” Guyon told the press. “He showed he is above the crowd.” Ebraz finished three-quarters of a length in front of Khataab (Amer x Djelana by Al Sakbe). Trained by Thomas Fourcy for Al Shaqab Racing, Khataab was running best at the wire, and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Mashhur Al Khalediah, who ran a brave race from the front. Khataab was second in the 2018 Qatar Arabian World Cup. Mashhur Al Khalediah was a stakes winner in The Netherlands and Germany through the

Trainer Julian Smart and EBRAZ share a moment before the race.

A H W > 149 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9


summer in advance of the Qatar Arabian World Cup. Ebraz’s victory was worth approximately $550,000 for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani and was the owner’s fifth win in the race since 2011. All the winners have been trained by Smart. “We’ve won this race five times and it’s not bad,” Smart cracked. “He just won the biggest race in the world as a six-year-old, so why not next year?” Smart compared Ebraz to the highlyaccomplished Gazwan, who won the 2017 Qatar Arabian World Cup and won the Group 1 Shadwell Dubai International Stakes at Newbury, England, in July of this year. “We do expect Ebraz to follow the example of Gazwan and continue his excellent run for one or two years,” Smart said. Last year, Khataab was beaten 2 ½ lengths when second to upset winner Fazza Al Khalediah of Poland in the Qatar Arabian World Cup. This year, Khataab finished much closer, even if Fourcy expressed frustration at his seven-year-old’s luck through the stretch. Khataab is a closer, and sometimes such runners need good fortune to reach the front. “It is true that if he had a more fluid course, the arrival could have been different,” he said. “We are still happy for Khataab. We had all focused on this race since last year. He’s a horse out of the ordinary.

Maybe we’ll keep him for next year and follow the same program.” Mashhur Al Khalediah, who is owned by Athbah Racing, surprised trainer Phil Collington with his third-place finish. Collington told jockey Jean Bernard Eyquem to take a prominent position on Mashhur Al Khalediah if none of the other runners pressed the pace. “He rode the horse very well,” Collington said. “I am not surprised at his performance, even though we thought we’d be more like fourth or fifth.” Of the other runners, Tayf ran in the Arabian World Cup for the fourth consecutive year, having finished third at Chantilly in 2016, ninth at Chantilly in 2017 and 13th last year. Tayf was fourth this year, finishing about 2 ½ lengths behind Ebraz. The weekend of October 4-6 was wildly successful for Sheikh Mohammed. On October 4 at Saint-Cloud, a few miles to the southwest of Longchamp, across the River Seine, Sheikh Mohammed’s Amyr du Soleil won the $110,000 Qatar Trophy des Poulains for three-year-old males at a mile. On October 5 at Longchamp, on the first of two days of major stakes primarily for Thoroughbreds, Sheikh Mohammed’s Raahah (Asraa Min Albarq x Massamarie by Tidjani), a four-year-old half-sister to Ebraz, won the Qatar Trophy des Juments for four-year-old fillies.

A H W > 150 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9


Amyr du Soleil (Amer x Balladore by Dormane) is trained by Fourcy and has won three of four starts. After finishing second in his debut at Toulouse on June 8, Amyr du Soleil launched a three-race winning streak with a win in the Group 3 Prix Tidjani at La Teste on June 12 and the Group 2 French

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s accepts the Qatar Trophy des Poulains for Amyr du Soleil's win, one of three big wins for the weekend.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s weekend began with a win by AMYR DU SOLEIL in the Group 1 $110,000 Qatar Trophy des Poulains on October 4 at Saint-Cloud. Amyr du Soleil (Amer x Balladore by Dormane) is trained by Thomas Fourcy and was ridden by Julien Augé to a six-length win.

Arabian Breeders’ Challenge at Toulouse on September 6. The French Arabian Breeders’ Challenge was moved from late October to early September this year, and served as an ideal prep for the Group 1 race at Saint-Cloud. With those kinds of results in his recent past, bettors were quite fond of Amyr du Soleil, sending him off as the favorite. Ridden by Julien Augé, Amyr du Soleil thumped nine rivals, winning the race at 2,000 meters, or 1 ¼ miles, by six lengths. The win left Fourcy dreaming of a start in the 2020 Qatar Arabian World Cup. “He will enjoy the winter, I hope, and make a real good horse at four,” he said. “He will age well. I told his owners at the beginning of the year that he was a very pleasant horse and he’s confirmed it.”

A H W > 151 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9


Breeders’ Challenge behind Amyr du Soleil. “Jarif is very immature,” Bernard told the press. “His opponents were tougher than him and some of them are already group winners. He is a very good horse, but unfortunately he arrived late in training.” Bernard said Jarif will be rested over the winter, with the goal of the major stakes for four-year-olds next summer, notably the Qatar Derby at Chantilly in June. Fourcy had a day to remember at Saint-Cloud on October 4, winning the $110,000 Qatar Arabian Trophy Sheikh Mohammed’s streak continued with Raahah’s win in the Group 1 $165,000 Qatar des Pouliches for three-year-old Trophy des Juments for four-year-old fillies at Longchamp on October 5. RAAHAH (Asraa fillies at 2,000 meters with the Min Albarq x Massamarie by Tidjani), a four-year-old half-sister to Ebraz, is trained by François Rohaut and won under long odds ridden by François-Xavier Bertras. undefeated Lady Princess (General x Nacree Al Maury by Kesberoy). Ridden by Christophe Soumillon Amyr du Soleil was confidently ridden by Augé, for Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari, Lady Princess won stalking the pace for the first quarter-mile before by three-quarters of a length over the Fourcytaking the lead. Augé urged Amyr du Soleil clear and trained Meethag (Dahor de Brugere x Al Nachmiya the colt drew away quickly. by Azadi) in the field of 13. Another note of trivia – Jarif (Dahess x Kiss de Ghazal by Dormane) Fourcy won the same race as a jockey in 2011 aboard finished a length in front of an unlucky Mounjared Al Al Nachmiya. Cham (Azadi x Al Moutawakila by Al Sakbe). Mounjared Al Cham stumbled a few strides after the start, nearly unseating jockey Vincent Cheminaud. Mounjared Al Cham, trained by Fourcy, recovered quickly and raced on the inside of the field, closing with interest in the final furlong. “He made a mistake out of the boxes and had trouble getting into the race,” Fourcy said. “He will age well.” Interestingly, Jarif’s dam, Kiss de Ghazal, was an outstanding race mare, winning the UK Arabian Derby and Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments in 2011 for owner Haif Mohammed Al Ghatani, who owns Jarif. Runner-up Jarif impressed trainer Elisabeth Trainer François Rohaut, left , celebrates RAAHAH 's win with Bernard with his progress as a three-year-old. Jarif jockey François-Xavier Bertras and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa was sixth in his career debut in the French Arabian Al Thani, right.

A H W > 152 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9


LADY PRINCESS won the Group 1 $110,000 Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches for three-year-old fillies at Saint-Cloud on October 4 for owner Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari of Qatar, pictured right. Lady Princess (General x Nacree Al Maury by Kesberoy) gave trainer Thomas Fourcy his second big win of the day, ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

Lady Princess is a half-sister to the star multiple stakes Mister Ginoux from earlier this decade. Mister Ginoux was one of the top-rated three-year-olds of the 2014 season and top-rated older horses of the 2015 season. Lady Princess began her career with a win at Toulouse in April and did not race again until she won the Group 1 Prix Kesberoy against males at Deauville in August. She was purchased by Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari between those starts. Back against fillies at Saint-Cloud, Lady Princess was favored. She closed from just off the pace to reach the front well in time. Fourcy said the soft turf may not have been ideal for Lady Princess, but that the filly “has a heart so big. She has everything for a champion. This is the Zarkava of Arabians.” (Zarkava was a star Thoroughbred in France in 2007-08, going unbeaten in seven starts. She won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the final start of her career.) Fourcy was equally complimentary of runner-up Meethag. “She had a very good race, showing good behavior,” Fourcy said. Those fillies are not expected to race again until 2020. Raahah, a half-sister to Ebraz, was the second of three stakes winners for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani, in the Group 1 Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments for four-year-old fillies at Longchamp on October 5. While Ebraz and Amyr du Soleil were favored, Raahah was an 18-1 outsider

and with good reason – she won for the first time in her eighth start in the $165,000 Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments. Trained by François Rohaut, Raahah won the race at 2,200 meters, or 1 ⅜ miles, by a neck over Jaazmah Athbah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah x Keen Game by Bengali d’Albret). Raahah closed from off the pace in the field of 10. A key to the win was soft turf, according to Rohaut. “When I saw the ground was going to soften, I knew it would help us,” he said. “She showed us what she is capable of. Next year, she will aim for the big race.” “She is a very tough filly,” added winning jockey François-Xavier Bertras. “She was doing the best for this race. We needed a tough filly and she was today. The trainer is formidable when it comes to aiming for a particular race.” Raahah was second or third in four of her first seven starts before she won her first appearance at Longchamp. Rohaut noted improvement in Raahah in the spring and summer after the filly did not start as a three-year-old in 2018. “She started to progress in the spring, becoming better with each race,” he said. “This is a great mare, from a very good breeding. I think she has real room for improvement.” Steve Andersen is a correspondent for Daily Racing Form.

A H W > 153 < 1 1 / 1 2 . 1 9

Profile for Arabian Horse World

Qatar Arabian World Cup and French Racing Weekend  

The biggest weekend of racing in Europe, and perhaps the greatest spectacle, includes the $1.1 million Qatar World Cup. For the fifth time A...

Qatar Arabian World Cup and French Racing Weekend  

The biggest weekend of racing in Europe, and perhaps the greatest spectacle, includes the $1.1 million Qatar World Cup. For the fifth time A...