Agencies /Deauville, France
Deauville racecourse was the scene of action for two top races for Purebred Arabian races sponsored by the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) yesterday. In the colours of Al Wasmiyah Racing, Al Ghadeer (Al Mourtajez x Gharraa) stormed to land Group 1 Purebred Arabian victory at only his second time of asking when lifting the Al Rayyan Cup (Prix Kesberoy) (Group 1 PA) over 2,000m for three-year-old’s, having dominated the field by five and half lengths.
Francois Rohaut’s trainee was ridden to top success by Christophe Soumillon. Nearly 30 minutes later, in the following race, the Royal Cavalry of Oman-owned Soko (Nieshan x Saka), under Cristian Demuro, managed to defend his title and grip the Doha Cup (Prix Manganate) (Group1 PA), over 2,000m for 4-year-old and older Purebred Arabians for the second year in a row.
Hussain Ali al-Fadalah, Minister Plenipotentiary of the embassy of Qatar in France, was present at Douville and crowned the winners of the two races, in presence of Olivier Delloye, managing director of France Galop.
Purchased by Al Wasmiyah Racing following his debut second place three-weeks-ago, Al Ghadeer wasted no time in repaying connections and romped clear to victory. Transferred to the stable of Francois Rohaut since his debut effort, the talented colt’s success was the second leg of double in the race for his trainer, who took this contest last year with HE Sheikha Reem bint Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Samlla (Assy).
Once out from the gate, the April-born colt was settled towards the rear of the five runners through the opening stages. Keen in the backstraight, Al Ghadeer ranged up to the heels of the leader Monaasib (Dahess). Travelling exceptionally well into the straight, the colt cruised through to lead under Soumillon and was never in trouble. Reversing the placings with Joe Star (Al Mourtajez), who has beaten Al Ghadeer on debut, the colt prevailed by five and a half lengths. Monaasib took third, an incredible sixteen lengths behind the runner-up.
Speaking after the race, the winning trainer said: “He is extremely talented. We saw last year with Samlla what these Arabian horses can do. They are becoming more and more like thoroughbreds. This is just the start of things to come with him. He has only run once before today and we are excited for the future.”
A superb winner of Doha Cup last year and carrying the colours of the Royal Cavalry of Oman, the five-year-old, retained his crown in a thrilling finish of the Group 1 (PA) Doha Cup.
Now trained by Elizabeth Bernard, the dual Group 1 (PA) winner has enjoyed an excellent start to his domestic campaign and was following up on his easy Group 3 (PA) success at La-Teste-De-Buch a month ago.
A small but select field of six went to post for the 2,000m contest and it was Soko who set the early fractions in his usual, enthusiastic style. With little change throughout, Soko’s jockey, Cristian Demuro asked him for an effort at the top of the straight. Courageous, Soko defended the lead from the persistent challenge of eventual runner-up, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Abbes (TM Fred Texas) and passed the post with a half a length to spare. The nine-year-old legend of Arabian racing, Ebraz (Amer), owned by HE Sheikha Reem bint Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani, made an excellent stable debut for François Rohaut and took third place, just over a length behind Abbes.
Speaking after the race, the winning trainer Elizabeth Bernard said: “Soko is the most adorable horse, and it is a pleasure to deal with daily. He must be a dream ride for any jockey and knows exactly what is required. He has a fantastic attitude and loves a battle. Cristian gave him the perfect ride. As a jockey he has so many qualities and I love the way he listens to all the indications I give him.”
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