The Arabian Racehorse - Gulf Festival Special 2022

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Gulf Festival Special !"!!




HH The Amir Sword Festival The Saudi Cup





RACEHORSE Gulf Festival Special - 2022 5

A New Era For UK Arabian Racing


Equine MediRecord Goes From Strength To Strength


HH The Amir Sword Preview


Mohammed & Abdulla bin Fahad AlAttiyah


Saudi Cup Preview


Phil Collington

Welcome to this special edition of The Arabian Racehorse celebrating two of the most important racing Festivals for Arabian racing in 2022. Year on year Arabian racing continues to grow in the Gulf and with the increase in prize money for such events, international interest in these races grows with it. The Arabian Racehorse is primarily a digital magazine, however print editions may be ordered,

you may subscribe to our e-newletters and during the UK Arabian racing season you can watch our podcasts, supported by Equine MediRecord on their dedicated YouTube channel. For further information or access to back copies go to our website:

Debbie Burt Editor, The Arabian Racehorse

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Unless otherwise stated, all features, reports and photographs are by Debbie Burt (copyright) All rights reserved. Print copies may be ordered. Photographs may be viewed and purchased at ww www ww. w.equinecr c eativemedia cr i .smug ia u mug ug u .com ug THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


The Arabian Racing Organisation Limited (ARO) is the sole Arabian racing authority in the UK, operating under the rules and regulations of the British Horseracing Authority.

Racing with ARO allows owners and breeders to participate at all levels. Talk to us about racing and sponsorship opportunities in the UK in 2022 and beyond. T e l : 0 1 6 3 5 5 2 4 T4H 4E 5A R A BE Im ail: AN RACEH RSE


2022 Gulf Festival Special A New Era For UK Arabian Racing

ARO CEO Genny Haynes presents Tom Marquand with the 2021 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup winning jockeys trophy for his ride on Bayan Athbah The Arabian Racehorse (TAR) speaks with the Arabian Racing Organisation’s (ARO) Chief Executive Officer, Genny Haynes (GH) about the new era in UK Arabian racing and her thoughts on the forthcoming Festivals in Qatar and Saudi Arabia which she will be attending. TAR - It’s been a difficult couple of years for UK Arabian racing with Equine Flu, Brexit, Covid and the sad loss of ARO Patron HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and yet ARO has survived. There has been an inevitable contraction of UK racing, however the current provisional raceplan shows an expansion in race numbers, do you feel ARO is turning a corner now?

GH - Despite all of the above, on a positive it has given ARO the time to reflect on its current working model, and therefore we’ve been able to re-evaluate its position as a brand in Arabian racing. It has certainly brought to the fore how vulnerable as an organisation we are (as I am sure other organisations, not just in racing, are experiencing coming through Covid). It’s also shown that certain changes have been required and still need to be made for Arabian racing in the UK to continue. TAR - ARO was an early adopter of the Equine MediRecord system in 2019, how did that help Arabian racing through this period?


6 GH - Adopting the EMR system meant that our Arabian racehorses and our participants could race through Covid-19 as we were able to adhere to all the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and racecourse protocols that were set in place. Though it was a late start to our season in September 2020 and we only staged 14 single races (including two Group 1PA’s) ‘behind closed doors’, having this system in place meant that ARO and our participants could successfully prove that we were prepared to adapt our working practices with a professional approach. TAR - Covid overshadowed the announcement in December 2019 that BHA are now allowing licensed thoroughbred trainers to train Arabians, if they wish to do so, what does that mean for the sport in the UK now? GH - I don’t think we can keep blaming Covid for everything (although integration is a little slower than was first outlined because of it) and ARO certainly has a bigger part to play in lobbying professional thoroughbred trainers to embrace Arabians. That is something we have set out in a three year development plan moving forward. However, we do have definite interest from certain trainers of thoroughbreds that already have middle eastern connections and those conversations are already taking place. This is now an ideal opportunity for a smaller thoroughbred trainer to extend their string by training Arabians this door is now firmly open for business. TAR - What other benefits of greater alignment with the BHA are there for UK Arabian racing? GH - The ARO/BHA integration project is still very much being driven forward – there is no longer the segregation between Arabians and thoroughbreds at racecourses, distribution of prizemoney falls into line with BHA criteria together with ARO’s rules and regulations to make this transition from an amateur to a professional sport a seamless process. There are benefits from other established

organisations such as Racing Welfare to include our racing staff, whilst the Racehorse Owners Association have included ARO’s Arabian owners into their current benefit scheme for 2022. ARO still has many other boxes to tick before the integration into the British Horseracing Industry is complete and it is an ongoing process. TAR - Covid was a huge challenge for horseracing worldwide, not just the UK, how well do you feel ARO coped with the challenges? GH - Coped is probably the appropriate word to use, ARO adapted where necessary and it was certainly a massive ARO team effort of how we were going to perform through this, so we all dug deep and showed resilience. Undoubtably, the support and loyalty of all our sponsors made it all possible for ARO to come through the other side, a bit battered maybe, but through. TAR - When the season starts in the spring we will be racing without restrictions, for both domestic and international races, what will this mean for the international races? GH - This is definitely the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ now that the restrictions have been lifted. ARO struggled (but was successful) with international runners during Covid. We assisted by acting as administrator, groom, trainer, owner and so on when those foreign runners came over in 2020 and 2021. As I mentioned previously, it is thanks to the support of our sponsors, HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, Royal Cavalry of Oman, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, as well as our domestic sponsors that have been with us throughout this challenging time and are continuing to be there for both ARO and UK Arabian racing. It will be ARO’s pleasure to welcome all the international runners back to a more normal racing experience in the UK in 2022 and we are very much looking forward to doing so.



Lady Princess wins the 2021 Qatar International Stakes (Gr1PA) at Goodwood TAR - What can ARO offer overseas sponsors? GH - I think the main attraction for overseas sponsors is that ARO can offer the opportunity to race at a variety of beautiful racecourses, both on the turf and the All Weather and certainly on the cards of the major meetings at Grade 1 tracks, such as St Leger day at Doncaster for the UAE President’s cup, (UK Arabian Derby) or as part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. These opportunities certainly give the sponsors maximum exposure for their brand and the ability to raise the profile and awareness of the sport of Arabian racing to a wider audience. TAR - over the years ARO has had a long involvement with QREC, sponsors of your most

valuable race, the Qatar International Stakes (Gr1PA), which has produced some top class racing, what has the inclusion of this race in the program mean to ARO? GH - QREC have sponsored with ARO since 2009 and have built their sponsorship programme over the years in the UK. They recognised the need to accommodate and support our requirements, as have all our sponsors and for that I am extremely grateful. The Qatar International Stakes Group 1 PA at Goodwood showcases Arabian racing at top level, not just the young horses coming through, but the return of the Arabian stalwarts of the sport that never disappoint. So for ARO to be given the opportunity to stage this prestigious race in the UK is an absolute privilege.



Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa Al-Attiyah's AJS Hajaj winning at Wolverhampton in 2021 TAR - The UK has traditionally offered an opportunity for Gulf owners to race their horses over the summer, though Covid has had an understandable effect on this, do you think UK racing is still attractive to overseas connections?

country, especially at a high level. Also, it’s a great opportunity to see if I can improve our racing here, by watching and learning how other organisations run their racing – there’s always something to learn from others!

GH - I think ARO still has a long way to go with regard to increasing prizemoney to encourage foreign breeders/owners to come over for our season. It is ARO’s intention, though currently our sport is scaled back in races, to build for the future and that process has already begun by discussions with various racing stakeholders, sponsors, owners, breeders and participants. The end result is always the same, however many times you go around, it has to be a sustainable product that everyone can participate in and enjoy at all levels.

TAR - Obviously numbers of registered horses are down this year, what is ARO doing to encourage breeders?

TAR - You will be attending the HH The Amir Sword Festival, the first time since 2020, what do you like about that meeting and what memories stand out for you? GH - For me Qatar was the very first Middle Eastern country that I visited in this role with ARO, and my goodness how the country has changed from that first time. For me it will always be the quality of the Arabian racing and every time I return, the racing is fantastic. Great friendships have been forged there over the years and I hope will continue to do so, both on and off the track. TAR - And you will be going to the Saudi Cup, what are you looking forward to? GH - This will be my first visit to Saudi Arabia and I was delighted to receive the invitation from HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmed, owner of Athbah Racing, to attend the Saudi Cup. It is always exciting to see our sport staged in a different

GH – Our Arabian horse population at present is a concern, however ARO will endeavour to continue to address this by bringing in new incentives, for example we’ve launched a UK breeders scheme with monetary value for all domestic races to encourage new participants and those established breeders to continue. There will also be a free nomination to a selected stallion for the leading breeder of 2022. TAR - HH Sheikh Hamdan played a huge part in shaping UK Arabian racing, but we are now entering a new era, his bloodstock has been dispersed, though many will continue to race in the UK for new owners, what would you like to see as his legacy to UK Arabian racing? GH - The passing of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a great loss to Arabian racing, not only here in the UK, but worldwide. There’s no doubt that Arabian racing wouldn’t still be in the UK, if it wasn’t for HH Sheikh Hamdan’s passion and devotion for the breed and to racing. By ARO continuing to strive for recognition for Arabian racing as a professional sport, integrated into the British Horseracing Industry, would for me, be the legacy that HH Sheikh Hamdan so deserves, as after all, this was always his vision.



2022 Gulf Festival Special Equine MediRecord goes from strength to strength

Leo Clancy, CEO Enterprise Ireland, Finlay Dargan, COO Equine MediRecord, Pierce Dargan, CEO Equine MediRecord, Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia Photo supplied by EMR In November last year, an Irish Trade delegation to Saudi Arabia led by Leo Varadkar announced that the Kildare-based Equine MediRecord (EMR) had secured a long-term contract with the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia to provide their revolutionary software platform into the Kingdom. Introduced to support the highly prestigious Saudi Cup 2022, the EMR platform allows for the full veterinary history of the horse to be recorded securely, aiding with anti-doping procedures. Integrity of this information is ensured using the system and its algorithms which guarantee compliance before they race, for all horses who participate, ensuring the best possible equine welfare. The Arabian Racehorse (TAR) meets EMR CEO Pierce Dargan to discuss the platform’s progress and his thoughts on the forthcoming racing. TAR - what does securing the contract for the

Saudi Cup mean to EMR in terms of profile and also what are the benefits to horsemen with runners? PD - Securing Saudi Cup is a big step for our business. It is the most valuable horse race in the world and sees the leading Arabians and Thoroughbreds from across the globe compete. This means that the top racehorse trainers and vets will be using our EMR system to allow the event organisers to ensure the horses are safe to travel and compete. Our system allows horsemen and vets to know exactly what they need to submit and be reminded if they have not completed the required documentation and checks. Given the ever increasing international interest in horse racing in the Gulf, it is very important from our perspective to be involved and have our system used in such an important event.


10 TAR - Though not yet involved with the HH The Amir Sword, you are assisting Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club with their runners to Saudi, how is that going? PD - We’ve been helping their trainers, attending veterinarians and appointed veterinarians ensure that all the documentation is provided for their runners in the Saudi Cup races. We hope that this will demonstrate the benefits of the system, so that we may hopefully do something similar for their HH The Amir Sword festival in the near future. TAR - One of the early adopters of your system was the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) in the UK, how has your experience with Arabian racing helped EMR gain traction in the rest of the world, both with thoroughbreds and Arabians? PD - ARO has been the perfect references case and customer. Back in 2020 when we first started with ARO it was EMR’s first contract with an organisation rather than with an individual trainer or stud farm. We knew to grow our user base we would have to get event organisers and associations to agree to have all their trainers and horses on the system, but it is always hardest to get the first association to give you that chance to show the benefits our system can bring. Once ARO gave us that chance and we received

glowing endorsements and support from their horsemen, it allowed us to show the success we had to other organisations which has led to partnership and contracts with the likes of Saudi Cup, Breeders Cup World Championships, Pegasus World Cup, Thoroughbred Owners of California and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association to name but a few. TAR -You have been a guest at both Festivals, and all being well, will be attending both this year, what do you think of the growth in this type of fixture in the Gulf States and do you think that it is helping to raise the profile of Arabian racing? PD – I’ve had the privilege of attending both Festivals and hope to have the same great experience of attending both this year as well. I think having such racing events where owners, breeders and trainers can showcase their best horses in front of an international stage is only going to be a huge positive when it comes to raising the profile of Arabian racing. I think you can see the international interest in these events, even during Covid you had a multitude of international runners who were still willing to travel with their horses to compete. It shows the opportunity these races bring, not only to the horses but also to the trainers, owners and the sport of Arabian racing as a whole, raising its international profile even further.

Equine MediRecord's Finlay Dargan presents the Arabian Racing Achievement Award to Richard Hills on behalf of Shadwell Estates at the Annual HWPA Awards THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Awtaar finishes sixth in the 2021 UAE President Cup-UK Arabian Derby (Gr1PA) TAR - On a personal note, you manage a syndicate that leased an Arabian racehorse in the UK last year, finishing sixth in the Presidents Cup - UK Arabian Derby, and you’re hoping to do the same this year – what’s the attraction for you and your members? PD - It was a wonderful experience to become an Arabian owner for the first time last year, albeit in a small way with my Blackrock Racing Syndicate. It was the perfect start. Awtaar, trained by James Owen, ran a great race in her first run for us to finish second at Chepstow, which meant with our first horse we were off to a Group 1PA Derby at Doncaster on St Leger day! To have a runner on a Classic day, my members couldn’t have been happier, though we knew that it was very unlikely that we were ever going to challenge to win. But if you’re not in the race you definitely won’t win it. She ran a great race to finish sixth and it was an absolutely amazing experience, one that I, and my members who were there, won’t forget. We’ve had Thoroughbred horses in Ireland and the UK with Joseph O’Brien and James Ferguson and have been very fortunate to have some success, but I think what it showed was the opportunity is definitely there to have those amazing experiences and great racing

memories by racing Arabians in the UK. Clearly that thought is shared by my owners as we have stayed in Arabians for this season. We’ve leased an older horse, Al Tabari (trained by Peter Hammersley) and are in talks with another owner for a four-year-old filly, so who knows, maybe we’ll have another runner in the 2022 Arabian Derby, only time will tell. We were also delighted to support UK Arabian racing by sponsoring the annual Arabian Racing Achievement Award at the prestigious Horserace Writers and Photographers Awards in December. After a difficult couple of years’ we hope the sport can now go from strength to strength in the UK.





2022 Gulf Festival Special HH The Amir Sword Preview

Mon'nia wins the 2021 HH The Amir Sword from Ebraz and Lady Princess Photo supplied by QREC The HH The Amir Sword Festival 17-18-19 February The 2022 HH The Amir Sword Festival promises to be as exciting as ever, culminating in the Festival highlight, HH The Amir Sword (Gr1PA) over 2400m. Earlier in the card is the Qatar International Cup (Gr1PA) over a mile, whilst the two preceding days feature the Gulf Cup (for Gulf bred horses on Thursday) and the Al Zubara Trophy (for Qatari breds on Friday). It is likely that in the HH The Amir Sword the first three home from 2021 could all reoppose. When winning last year, Mon’nia broke the track record, however she was given an easy lead with all eyes focussed on her stablemate Ebraz who was attempting an unprecedented fourth win in the

race. She is unlikely to be allowed to slip the field this year however. Though racing well in France in the summer, she has found shorter trips in Doha more of a challenge, finishing over six lengths adrift of the winner Jabalah on her reappearance in a mile Group2PA and over four lengths behind HM Jalfane on her last outing over 1750m. A fourth win for Ebraz would most likely be an emotional conclusion to a long and very distinguished career. Now nine, after his Qatar Arabian World Cup fourth when he didn’t get a clear run on the rail, he was out of the frame on his Doha return in the Late Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani Trophy (Gr2PA) won by Mwarid, and third to that one again on his last start. On that form it looks like another place at best.


14 Whilst Ebraz’s star looks on the wane, since placing third, Lady Princess has not been out of the first two, winning the Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood and the Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi, bringing her tally of Group 1PA wins to five. Possessing an enviable turn of foot, in current form she seems the most likely of those three to take the crown. After winning Abu Dhabi’s Jewel Crown (Gr1PA) in December, her jockey Jim Crowley said: “I’ve been lucky to ride some very good Arabians, Muraaqib won this race and the Goodwood one and she’s up there with the best of them. She’s not very big, a proper pocket rocket. She loves the fast ground and likes a strongly run race.” This is certainly no three-horse race, the UAE Presidents Cup-UK Arabian Derby winner Abbes was only just beaten by Mwarid in the HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy (Gr3PA) last month (with Ebraz third), both colts are open to more improvement. Mwarid is also in a rich vein of form having won all his starts this season and is on a winning streak of six, though the trip will be an unknown to him.

There are plenty of examples (not least Ebraz) of four-year-olds taking advantage of the weight allowance and Al Wakrah not only gets that for her age, she gets the fillies’ allowance too. She has shown up well in all her black type starts in France and Doha and over 2400m getting 6kg from Lady Princess, or 8kg from the likes of Ebraz, she cannot be overlooked, despite only recently breaking her maiden in a novice plate at Al Uqda. Dawi was sixth in 2021and Um Taj was fourth to Ebraz in the Prix Dragon in September, and whilst both are young enough to improve further, this year’s event is as competitive as ever. In the Qatar International Cup (Gr1PA), top rated Lamet Shamel won over this trip in a Baden Baden Group 2PA in September, but this will be a lot more competitive. As mentioned above, Jabalah advertised his well-being with a win in the HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani Cup (Gr2PA), along with the runner-up, his stablemate, the Qatar Oaks winner Queenshala.

Mwarid wins the 2021 Late Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani Trophy (Gr2PA) Photo supplied by QREC THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Samlla goes to post for the Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Poulains (GR1PA)

Improving four-year-olds with allowances who might also feature are the Group 1PA winner Samlla and the two-time Group 3PA winner, Moharram. Samlla has only had four starts but he has won three, including the Al Rayyan Cup (Prix Kesberoy)(Gr1PA) over 2000m in Deauville and was less than three lengths third to the exciting Moshrif in the Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Poulains (Gr1PA) on his last start. He will arrive in Doha fresh from a break. Moharram’s form is not quite as strong having won two Group 3PA contests in France, he has not yet progressed since arriving in Doha, finishing fifth in the Qatar Derby (Gr3PA) and placing in handicap company last month at Al Uqda. Tarek Du Soleil was sixth in the HH The Amir Silver Sword on the Saturday undercard last year, but he has always been thereabouts in his Doha races. Djafar is on the comeback trail after a setback, but as the winner of the Qatar Guineas the trip will be ideal. Hidalgo Du Croate has shown signs of ability, including when second in the Silver Sword. He had some quality opponents behind him and is another that could do well if recapturing earlier form.

for Arabians is The Gulf Cup for Gulf breds. Last years’ one-two Ghannam and Aahil both have entries. Ghannam has been out of form and Aahil hasn’t run since winning in October. From Oman Al Mustafiz and Kaif Tar could also take their chances. AJS Sarhan won the local bred Derby in December and wasn’t far off the winner when third in the HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy for Local breds. He could be open to further improvement, either in this race or the Al Zubara Trophy on the opening day of the Festival. There is still the chance for supplementary entries to throw in further excitement, or if plans change for horses initially targeted elsewhere change course and declare for Doha.

Run over the same distance, the Friday highlight THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


2022 Gulf Festival Special Mohammed & Abdulla bin Fahad Al-Attiyah

Munir Du Soleil wins HH The Amir Silver Sword in 2021 ©QREC After the success of Munir Du Soleil in the 2021 HH The Amir Silver Sword, the brothers Mohammed and Abdulla bin Fahad Al-Attiyah are looking forward to this year’s HH The Amir Sword Festival. They also have their sights firmly set on more international competition and are continuing to invest in developing their breeding programme. Having always taken an interest in racing, initially as a hobby, they soon realised that they needed to move on, to race locally was not enough, they wanted to be competing on the global stage. Visiting the international races, they saw what they needed to do to get to that level, and began by starting their own breeding programme, under the banner of MBF (for Mohammed bin Fahad) and investing in young racehorses with good bloodlines. Though their horses race in different silks, they see themselves as a team, which also extends to their first cousins at Al Wasmiyah Stud, whose focus is on thoroughbreds. As Mohammed explains: “We

are like one team, working together. There is also no rivalry between my brother and I. When the time comes to select horses to run in our colours, we discuss it and choose which ones we like, we are not competitive between ourselves, it is all for the family.” Discussing sourcing their horses Mohammed says: “We look at all the sales, mares, foals, everything, but we also go to the trainers every year. We take around two to three months in Europe, just going around each trainer looking at all the horses, to see the next generation and what might be suitable to buy.” With Munir Du Soleil, Abdulla takes up the story saying: “We were at Thomas Fourcy’s and saw him in training. Before his first race, we bought fifty percent and we said to Lisa [owner-breeder Lisa Deymonaz] that we need to see how he runs, if he did something special, then we would buy the remainder.”


17 On his debut, he finished third by less than half a length. The winner, HM Jalfane, also trained by Fourcy was purchased as well. Munir Du Soleil went on to win the Listed PA Prix Ourour, beating subsequent Doha Cup (Gr1PA) winner, Soko that autumn. Impressive in the Silver Sword, winning by three lengths from a quality field that included the Group 1PA winner Hadi De Carrere, he returned to France. In the Sheikh Mansoor Festival Prix Dormane (Gr3PA) he was beaten a nose by UAE President Cup-UK Arabian Derby (Gr1PA) winner Abbes, with the future Qatar Arabian World Cup winner Hoggar De L’Ardus a length and a quarter behind in third. Munir Du Soleil boasts an excellent pedigree being by leading sire Munjiz, out of Rahab, herself a daughter of Al Hanoof, making her a full sister to General and to another top racehorse and subsequent top producer, Al Dahma. He was bought in utero at the Arqana PA Sale in 2016 by Deymonaz and her husband Pierre, who along with the bin Fahad Al-Attiyah’s, board their horses at the Haras du Saubouas in the South of France. Of this arrangement Mohammed says: “If in the future, we had a horse good enough to be a stallion, for example if Munir Du Soleil progresses, then we would stand them at stud in France. So far it is going well, boarding our bloodstock in France, they foal there, get broken in and also go there for their time out of training, but why not in the future

to have our own private stud, it’s a possibility.” Discussing their bloodstock Mohammed comments: “We have around 25 to 30 Arabian broodmares. As far as youngstock goes, I think now, after this foaling season we will be close to 80. We have a big selection of mares, so of course we are always looking to try and cross with the best bloodlines, to give every mare a chance. We focus on the best stallions and have used horses like Mister Ginoux, Al Mourtajez and AF Albahar.” Continuing Abdulla says: “We are always searching for the best young mares to add to the group, we recently bought four from the Shadwell consignment. I want the best for the Arabian horses, we had Coeursamba [winner of the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches last year] so of course I like thoroughbred races, but it is shame that Arabian horses are not valued like thoroughbreds when they win pattern races. This is something that needs to change.” He considers embryo transfer to be part of the problem, saying: “I don’t want to do embryo transfer, I hope by stopping this, it should improve the value of the Arabians, as four or five embryos in a year is a shame. I believe it lowers the horses’ value. If a mare has problems, then ok, but just one embryo transfer. It should help the value to go up.”

Celebrating Munir Du Soleil's HH The Amir Silver Sword win in 2021 ©QREC THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Image Du Croate (1st, pink cap) Monda (3rd, black cap) and Sahab (2nd, silver cap) in the 2021 Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1PA) They are pleased with their first crop to race which includes the four-year-old fillies, Sahab and Thi Qar. Sahab, won on her debut in France and was placed in two other black type races before finishing second by a head in the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Pouliches (Gr 1PA) at Saint Cloud for Fourcy. She then left for Doha and was a good second in the Qatar Derby (Gr3PA) for three-yearolds to the very smart Moshrif (winner of the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Poulains). On her latest start Sahab won the HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy for four-year-olds and they are hoping she will emulate Munir Du Soleil at the Festival. “Sahab will go to the Silver Sword,” says Mohammed. “So hopefully we can win it for a second year in a row. Afterwards she will have a short break at the Haras du Saubouas and then she will return to Thomas Fourcy for a summer campaign.”

She will be joined in the race by Monda, who was purchased after finishing third in the fillies’ race at Saint-Cloud, and Thi Qar who won Qatar Oaks for three-year-olds in December. Mohammed explains: “Thi Qar raced in France in my jacket, but in Doha she is in the silks one of my young cousins. After the Silver Sword she will also go to France for a break and then be back in my colours in the care of Xavier Thomas Demeaulte for the European season.” Sahab and Thi Qar are both daughters of AF Albahar who so far has had an excellent season in Qatar. Sahab is out of Manella, a Dormane daughter of Ballade Folle, a great family that has produced the Group 1PA winners, Dahor De Brugere, Mahess Du Soleil and Amyr Du Soleil. Thi Qar is out of the Tahar De Candelon mare Clairvoyant, dam of the dual black-type winner Sniper de Monlau who was twice Group 1PA placed on the turf and dirt in the UAE.


19 HM Jalfane, has a different agenda. Having won on his three-year-old debut, he followed up in the Prix Cheri Bibi (Gr3PA) and then went out to Qatar in the autumn of 2020, joining Alban de Mieulle. He finished runner-up in the Qatar Derby (Gr3PA) going on to be fifth to Munir Du Soleil in the Silver Sword. He bypassed a European campaign, and this season has won two conditions races, including the four-year-old Derby Trial and impressed when winning the HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy on his most recent start. He now heads to Saudi Arabia for their Festival, where he will represent the family in the Al Mneefah Cup. If he runs well, he could continue his international campaign in the Kahayla Classic followed by a break in Qatar. Also with further international aspirations is Djafar. He had finished third in last

years’ Silver Sword and was purchased in the autumn, joining Gassim Ghazali, in whose care he has won the Arabian Guineas for four-year-olds, though has disappointed since. Of his form Abdulla said: “Djafar had setback, we found he has a few issues after the last race, however we expect he will be back for the mile Group 1, the Qatar International Cup. If he runs well, he would be considered for the Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood.” After their holidays at Saubouas, Sahab and Thi Qar will take in a black type campaign in Europe, with the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments, the four-year-old fillies Group1PA held on the Saturday of Arc weekend at Longchamp an obvious target. Munir Du Soleil could go to the Gold Sword or possibly to the Kahayla Classic and later on, to the Qatar Arabian World Cup.

HM Jalfane wins the HH Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Trophy for Purebred Arabians ©QREC THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Al Shaamikh and Daniel Muscutt after winning at Wolverhampton in 2020 They’ve also had horses in training in the UK, in Mohammed’s colours, though unfortunately in 2020 when the programme was curtailed by Covid. Al Shaamikh was unbeaten in both his starts and Toufan Du Croate was placed, but further involvement with horses trained in the UK would depend on the races on offer. Mohammed comments: “However for sure we will come for the best races like Goodwood, where we would hope to have a couple of runners.” Of the general situation at home Abdulla says: “I’m pleased we are racing three days a week, with the addition of the new track, as the horses that weren’t good enough to do well at Al Rayyan now have a chance at Al Uqda. Also it gives more options, as some are better on a straight track, others are better going round a bend. There is also a big difference between the dirt at Al Uqda and Al Rayyan, it suits different types of horses.”

Both have ambitious aims for their domestic racing. Abdullah wants to see others follow their path by investing in the quality of their runners to raise the overall standard saying: “With the incentive of the Saudi Cup prize money and the ability to race anywhere in the Gulf now, the market is moving again and getting stronger.” They also acknowledge that the countrys’ focus is currently more on football than it is on horseracing, but Mohammed is optimistic concluding: “In the next couple of years, we could see something really huge with horse racing in Qatar. If we can build a new track, something really special for international competition and work towards a Qatar World Cup for horseracing, that would be the goal.”




R A C E H O R S E Issue No.!"




Issue No.!!

February "#!$




Jewel Crown HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival Special

ARO Annual Awards 2015

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Supporting UK Arabian racing since 2015 THE ARABIAN RACEH



2022 Gulf Festival Special The Saudi Cup Preview

Tilal Al Khalediah wins the Prince Sultan Cup © JCSA / Melissa Ziarno Saudi Cup 25-26 February The Saudi Cup continues to progress, backing up its incredible prize money with the development of a strong undercard, which for 2022 means that there is an additional Arabian race on the Friday the Listed PA Al Mneefah Cup over 2100m on Turf. The premier race for the Arabians, the Obaiya Arabian Classic has Group 2PA status, however given the quality of entries for both races, it is clear it won’t be long before they are raised to the top level. Based on current ratings at the time of writing and thoughts from trainers who’ve indicated a preference should they be invited, we look at the probable fields. The Obaiya Arabian Classic, run over 2000m on the Dirt, is the sixth race on the eight-race card, giving it plenty of prominence, as if the prize fund of $2million wasn’t eye-catching enough. No

defending champion this year, as Mubasher Al Khalediah doesn’t run, and the inaugural 2020 winner, Tallabb Al Khalediah is expected to make his seasonal debut in the Al Mneefah Cup. Heading up the likely strong home challenge from Al Khalediah Stables will be Tilal Al Khalediah, rated 125 after his win in the Prince Sultan World Cup (Gr1PA) run over 1800m on dirt at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz racetrack at the end of January. He had already won three times at the main track in Riyadh this season over a mile and is sure to be hard to beat. Prince Sultan Cup second, Nabil Al Khalediah II is likely to join him, along with last years’ Obaiya second Mutwakel Al Khalediah and winner of the Al Khalediah International Cup (Gr3PA). The mare, Shihaana Aldahm, is also a possible local contender. A winner over 1400m in December, she was a narrow second next time out over a mile and filled a similar spot back down to 1400m in a mares’ only race earlier this month.


23 Potential internationals feature the 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic winner, and last years’ Obaiya fifth, Deryan. Winning by a head in what has become a regular warm up race for the French contenders in Pau in Janaury over the 2000m trip, he travelled well throughout.

be invited, it is a place I don’t know yet. Hadi De Carrere won two Group1PA races at three years and but because he gave much of himself, he had ba long break last year. He had a good return at Pau against older and experienced horses and he needed that run.

Thierry Delegue, French racing manager for YAS Horseracing Management said of the Didier Guillemin trained runner: “Deryan is a true champion who has already won several Group 1PA’s. His return to racing three weeks ago was very satisfying with an easy win at Pau racecourse. He loves traveling and we are coming to Riyadh with big ambitions!”

"His training is going well. I think he should go well in Riyadh, it’s a fast track. Hadi de Carrere is a horse who has plenty of stamina and a big stride."

That Pau race could prove influential, with the fifth, Hadi De Carrere (leading French juvenile of 2020) looking to make the journey from France for the Obaiya, with Rysk Tout and Jarif, who finished further behind, possibles for the Al Mneefah. None of them would have been at full fitness for the race, so the bunch finish was not entirely surprising and all will have their eyes firmly set on the Saudi prize. His trainer Thomas Fourcy considered his chances saying:"Concerning Riyadh, we are so pleased to

Sharing a mark of 123 with Deryan is RB Rich Lyke Me. A four-time Grade 3 winner when in his homeland of America, the six-year-old son of Majd Al Arab is unbeaten since joining the stable of Fawzi Nass who co-owns him with the Victorious Stable in Bahrain. Impressing with a 14 length win in the 1400m Bani Yas (Gr2PA) at Meydan on his Gulf debut, he scored again by four lengths in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (Gr1PA) over a mile. Clearly at home on the dirt, the 2000m will be unchartered territory, though two of his US graded wins were over 1700m. On 116 is Rasi, who showed he still had a good race in him when finishing a length behind Mutwakel Al Khalediah in the Al Kaheldiah International Cup.

Deryan goes to post at Goodwood for the Qatar International Stakes (Gr1PA) THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Soko goes to post for the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1PA) Making the trip from Qatar could be Sealine, the eight-year-old is very effective on Dirt winning eight of his ten races on that surface. He may be joined by Zalej Al Cham, winner of his last three races on Dirt, though this will be the strongest test he has faced since finishing sixth in the Qatar Gold Sword (Gr1PA) in April last year. The ex-Qatari She’ris who is now trained in Oman, could also feature given a good run in the Mazrat Al Ruywayah at Meydan this month. One horse whose place is assured however, is Prince Amer, who won the domestic qualifying race, the AlDareyah Cup over 2000m at the end of January. The fact that he has got in off a mark of 95, way below the other possible runners, shows how the quality of entries for both races has exceeded expectations. For a Listed PA race the Al Mneefah Cup has an exceptionally solid look with the likely participation of Soko, rated 123. Recently sold to the Royal Cavalry of Oman, the colt showed a good level of form in France last year, placing third in the French Derby, before an impressive display to win the Doha Cup (Prix Managanate) by over

five lengths. Both were Group 1PA contests over 2000m. Not at his best in the Qatar Arabian World Cup, he returned to form in Toulouse’s French Arabian Breeders Challenge (Gr1PA) over 2200m, beaten in a photo by a short head. Since arriving in the UAE he was fourth in the Jewel Crown and for his new owners, was a close second on his latest run in a conditions event in Abu Dhabi. Trainer Helal Al Alawi commented: “Soko is in top form after his prep race for the Al Mneefah and is ready to put up a great performance. Olivier Peslier gets on well with him and he will take the ride.” Heading the domestic challenge is another highly rated colt, Hamdani Khaled Al Khalediah on 122. Winner of the UAE President Cup (LRPA) over 1800m in January, beating Mutwakel Al Khalediah by a length and a quarter. Jaazmah Athbah was a classy filly when in France with Elizabeth Bernard and was sixth in the Obaiya last year. Madame Bernard has had a great association with the Saudi Cup and with Hajres out of the main event, she relies on Jarif in the Al Mneefah.


25 Jarif has a bit to find with Soko on their Toulouse outing, and with another French possible, Rysk Tout who he also met at Pau. Rysk Tout was fourth to Teema in the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments (Gr1PA) in Paris last October and will have to work hard to reverse those placings if they meet here. The lightly raced Teema has been given a break since that win. Also managed by Delegue he said: “Teema showed last year that she was the best filly of her generation with a brilliant victory at Longchamp. It will be her first big trip and she will face both colts and older horses! It is a difficult challenge but her last work was very encouraging.” Trainer Xavier Thomas Demeaulte commented: “Teema is a nice filly, very well bred. She has had a good winter with a few weeks rest at the stud. She had a public racecourse galop on January 26th at Pau and worked very well, showing improvement on her previous training at home. She will be going to Saudi in good condition.”

lengths behind the winner, HM Jalfane, in the HH Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy, both are young improvers on th eupgrade. Fettah Du Loup is well travelled and has been third in the Prince Sultan World Cup for the last two years. He was disappointing in the Obaiya however and could do better, now tried in the Al Mneefah. Similar comments could apply to the Omani trained Shabah, who has been outclassed in the Obaiya twice before. Good Des Vialettes won twice this season before finishing fourth in the local Obaiya qualifier, he’ll need to improve. However, one young horse on the upgrade appears to be Dergham Athbah, recently raised to 110 following his second in Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (Gr1PA). With the invited fields not fully finalised, there could be others that may run themselves into a berth at the end of February.

Qatari possibles include First Classs, winner of the Qatar Derby (Gr2PA) for four-year-olds over 2000m. Next time out First Classs was over three

Teema (yellow cap) wins the 2021Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments (Gr1PA) THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


2022 Gulf Festival Special Phil Collington

Mehdaaf Athbah and Phil Collington prepare for the Obaiya in 2020 To date, Newmarket based trainer Phil Collington has trained the winners of eleven PA Group winners, including Mashhur Al Khalediah, winner of what was then the world’s most valuable Arabian race on Turf, the 2019 Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi. He has also been leading UK Arabian trainer (in 2018) and when he rode as an amateur, principally for HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, he was also leading ARO jockey on five occasions. He is the only UK Arabian trainer to have experience of having runners in the three main Arabian races in the Gulf - the HH The Amir Sword, the Obaiya Arabian Classic and also the Dubai Kahayla Classic. Though Collington does not have a runner in either of the Qatar or Saudi principal Festivals this year, he is looking forward to going out to the Saudi Cup, as as the guest of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmed, owner of Athbah Racing. Considering the two Festivals Collington says: “When I went out to the Amir Sword with Dossar Athbah in 2017, I was

very pleased with what was on offer to the internationals. The inside of Al Rayyan is nothing like Riyadh, but still great facilities, the hospitality is amazing. The race meeting itself, there’s a great atmosphere and it was a really, really enjoyable day. We’d had runners and winners in Europe before that, but Dossar was my first Middle Eastern runner. “As for Mashhur Al Khalediah and Mehdaaf Athbah, they went out to Dubai after running in Paris in the Qatar Arabian World Cup in 2019. Mashhur then went by road to Abu Dhabi, ran in and won the Jewel Crown, whilst Mehdaaf continued to Saudi and Mashhur followed on. I was back and forth that winter from the UK to Saudi. Mehdaaf was second and third in the first two Arabian races that they held on the main Riyadh track. Mashhur ran in the prep for the Obaiya, and of course was third in the Obaiya itself, whilst Mehdaaf was sixth. It was a brilliant experience.”


27 Since retiring from race-riding, Collington is one of a few trainers to still ride his horses in their work. Having travelled them all, he is uniquely placed to consider the two tracks at Al Rayyan and Riyadh and how they compare from an onboard perspective. Of the dirt track at Al Rayyan he says: “When I was out with Dossar Athbah, I found it was bit deeper and more of a training track. “In Riyadh the outside training track is very, very good, its lighter, there’s a good cushion in it, it doesn’t ride deep. The main track itself is fantastic, it rides great when doing fast work obviously. When you watch the races there, the turns, a little bit of camber - they seem to have everything just right. All the jockeys, like Peslier and Dettori, have always said that the Riyadh dirt track rides as good as any dirt track in the world.” Comparing the type of horse most suited to these tracks he muses: “Gate speed in these big races is important, especially in the Obaiya, as the 2000m start is right at the bottom of the back straight and the chute. There’s no chance to get a breather, they go hard and you’ve really got to stay well. The Al Mneefah on turf, I suspect, will be a bit like Meydan because you still need gate speed, but

they do back up after they’ve gone round the turn. So possibly, they might not have to stay so well on that turf and the 2100m might ride a bit easier. “I rode in a high-class amateurs race at Al Rayyan, it was quite special riding round there. They go so quick, it’s a much sharper track, right-handed. You can still come from behind, but you’ve got to have a horse that handles the quick ground there. Could you get away with a horse that doesn’t quite stay in Doha? Maybe. More so than Riyadh anyway. I think with Riyadh, you’ve really got to stay well.” Over the last couple of years, despite the challenges of Covid and in Europe, Brexit, Collington has continued to travel, race and win internationally with his horses. He is proud of his team saying: “It has been a challenge and it took a bit of getting your head around all the different restrictions and working out just how much more time we’d need for the horse on the journey, but we’ve learnt how to do it and then do it better and better. It’s never going to be as straightforward as it was, but they’re still going there and performing and coming back as winners.”

Mehdaaf Athbah and Phil Collington with Mashhur Al Khalediah and Jean-Bernard Eyquem in Riyadh for the inaugural Saudi Cup THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


The Collington trained, Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa Al-Attiyah owned, AJS Hajaj and Josephine Gordon win at Wolverhampton in September Collington has plenty of experience training winners for overseas owners over the last six seasons. Having had horses from Athbah Stud, Al Shahania Stud, Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa AlAttiyah, and of course Sheikh Hamdan, when asked about the specific challenges that that situation can produce, he comments: “I suppose with the owners, it’s trying to work out how important it is that the horse gets to a particular meeting and to a particular race. “Nothing really fazes me now. I can go anywhere with the horses if I’m confident that the horse will travel and run well when we get there. You do need to have a horse with the right constitution to do those trips as otherwise it does get difficult. It’s just knowing that you’re in the right race and with the right horse. “When you travel, you take as much with you as you can, to cover every eventuality. If we’re going abroad, we’ve got a fair idea of what is normal for

a horse, as far as eating and drinking goes. When one comes in from abroad, we just try and assess it very quickly, watch it carefully in the first week and try and work out from there what might need changing straight away, or any underlying issues or things to be concerned about. If you’ve got notes about it, from a previous trainer or the stud, that helps too. Collington is happy to start his horses off for their owners, and actually prefers them to arrive wellhandled but unbroken. He says: “Really this last breaking session with the Qatarti and Saudi horses, it’s been quite straightforward, they’d all been very well handled but had done nothing else when we started to break them in. Interestingly, we found with that the Qatari horses, having had the experience of flying, that made a huge difference, they just adapted so quickly. Flying had made them grow up quickly, it’s amazing how it changes them.”


29 This year he’ll have no runners in either Festival, but it looks likely that Dergham Athbah who he trained in the UK, may go to the Al Mneefah. Considering the five-year-old colt’s chances he laughs: “We broke him in, he was particularly difficult!” “As a two-year-old he was very, very sharp and immature. He did take much longer to break and ride away than some of the others, but then he improved quickly. In his first race he was still very green and needed it, but his second run was massive one as he finished second to the Qatari horse Al Shaamikh and just ahead of Loolwa, who I’d trained to be third in the UAE President Cup-UK Arabian Derby. He had done so well and grown up a lot from the first run. He was straight enough, but racing was always going to be what he needed to bring him on. “Then when I was discussing his future in Dubai

with Abdul Moniem [Athbah Racing’s manager], we knew that if he can do well over a mile in the UK, he’d want a mile and a quarter out there, because they go that little bit quicker. The 2220m round Abu Dhabi was perfect for him. “As for his chances, it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the race’s first year. If Dergham has an alright draw and doesn’t get too far back (although I know he’s come from behind) I think now, with the horses that will be in the race, as long as he doesn’t get too far out of his ground, he’ll come home well. He does hit the line, he will always stay on strongly and he could run a big race.” With the passing of his principal patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and the departure of Shadwell Estates from the Arabian racing scene, Collington has quickly filled that void with new horses for 2022.

Dergham Athbah in the paddock before his second UK race THE ARABIAN RACEHORSE


Bayan Athbah and Tadhg O'Shea win the Royal Cavalry of Oman Intenational (Gr2PA) Of the new intake, he considers those that might be heading out to the Gulf Festivals in 2023. “Unfortunately it didn’t work out for Bayan Athbah this year, as she is under rated for the Al Mneefah. The race has come up almost as good as the Obaiya, with the top horses rated over 120 - which we weren’t expecting. I think originally, we thought it was going to be a high rated handicap, limited to horses rated up to 110. It would be good if they put another race on next year to cater for those horses, there’s obviously a demand, both from the domestic runners and from the internationals. “We’ll certainly try to get Bayan’s rating up. She’s had a lot of things against her, she pulled a shoe off in her final race in Saudi last winter and came home lame. When she flew back to the UK, I was hoping to get her ready for Newbury [The Arabian Racehorse International Conditions Stakes], but it just came too soon. We couldn’t have got her ready any earlier than the Belgium race that she won. Her wins in the Group 2 PA sprint at Newbury and the Group 3PA at Haydock were brilliant considering her inexperience and that they were so close together. I also think that Haydock, with the ground being so quick wasn’t ideal, but since she came back to me, she’s had five runs, producing four wins and a second, you can’t ask

for more than that. Tom [Marquand] said she’s ready for cheekpieces, or very shallow blinkers, she just does enough now, Mehdaaf was the same. Her four-year-old brother, Mlatem Athbah also started in the UK with Collington and then went out to Saudi to join Lucas Gaitan. Collington is looking forward to his return, as a possible UK Derby runner this season, saying: “He’s won and been placed in Saudi already, as well as a good run in the Qatar Derby, when he led for most of the way. He’s another who could improve and go on these winter Festivals in the future. Of his unraced horses he comments: “Hopefully the four-year-olds, Ekleel Athbah and Lewaa Athbah could be likely sorts, Ekeel is just about ready, so she’ll run soon, probably in Belgium before the UK season starts. Kafou Athbah is only three, but he moves well and has done everything right. He was broken in September and is going well, he should have done enough that we can get going with him early on. Concluding Collington says: “They all look like the types to progress and get the sort of rating you need to run in these big international races. Hopefully, now that things are getting back to normal in the UK, we’ll have plenty of chances to get involved at this level again soon.”


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