By Mikhil Bhat/Doha
Three absolute thrillers capped yesterday’s horse racing action at Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s (QREC) Al Rayyan Park, with Julian Smart-saddled duo – Sharesa and Ebraz – and Alban de Mieulle-trained Gtnah topping the three big Purebred Arabian races.
In the HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy, the QR500,000 Local Purebred Arabian feature, Theo Bachelot had Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Sharesa track last year’s topper Molheb Al Naif coming on to the home straight in the miler. He then edged Harry Bentley’s ride out at the post by half-a-length to not only send Smart into a spell of ecstatic yells, but also complete a hat-trick of wins this season.
In the penultimate race of the day, the Group 2 HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani Cup, Bachelot was in the saddle for 2017 HH The Amir’s Sword winner Ebraz, and the two built a comfortable gap in the final two furlongs of the mile-long contest.
With Umm Qarn’s Tayf, helmed by Ronan Thomas for De Mieulle, giving chase, Ebraz pulled up a bit but Bachelot had the colt hold on enough for a half-a-length victory.
“If I get beaten with Ebraz, it’s my fault. If I win with Ebraz, it’s normal. They went fast, and the faster they go, he is always in with it. He almost won the race too easily, too early. So once he got to the front, he said, ‘my job’s done’, and he has a tendency to do that. He scared me,” Smart told Gulf Times.
Talking about Sharesa’s victory in the finale, he said, “Beautiful filly. The plan worked to perfection. It was full of good horses but we picked Molheb Al Naif as the horse to beat. We were following him. She was hanging a little bit to the inside, but Theo then got her out, she showed a lovely little turn of foot, and got them right on the wire.”
Smart had 10 victories to his name coming into yesterday’s meeting. But the two big wins, have given his campaign a boost. “I hide nothing; we have had a terrible time. But to be honest, to win two Sheikh Abdullah races is fantastic,” he said.
A blitz on the home straight by Smart’s debutant Maxr turned HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani Silver Cup into a spectacle but the gelding fell short as De Mieulle’s ward, Gtnah, held her own to win the 2200m race for four-year-old Purebred Arabians.
As the field opened up coming off the final bend, Ronan Thomas had Al Shaqab Racing’s Gtnah edge forward while His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Maxr went really wide.
With Ryan Curatolo riding Maxr almost on the outer rail, the gelding made up ground and fast, coming threateningly close, even as Thomas-helmed Gtnah too moved out and the two were virtually inseparable at the post. The photos put Gtnah ahead by a short head, while Theo Bachelot-ridden Annan completed the top three.
“He (Maxr) has never run before, green. But he has shown that he can run. He moved far too left, and if the jockey had switched to the other side with the whip, he would have probably gone back in. But well, I can’t be too greedy now,” Smart joked after the evening’s proceedings.
A fantastic ride by Eduardo Pedroza saw Ibrahim al-Malki-trained Pazeer register a dominant win in the Umm Qarn Trophy, yesterday’s Thoroughbred feature.
Even as Al Shaman and Opera Baron set the pace early on, Abdulatif Hussain al-Emadi’s colt had little trouble pulling away on the home straight before easing past the post for almost a four length victory. Ivan Rossi-ridden Jewel House ensured a one-two for al-Emadi colours, while the second al-Malki ward in the race, Khataaf, completed the top three under Jimmy Quinn.
Sheikh Salman bin Jassim al-Thani’s Al Muntathar was the second straight winner on the day for al-Malki and Pedroza.
The AF AlBahar colt, after coming close thrice earlier this season with top three finishes, grabbed his third win in Qatar, topping the Majd Al Arab P/A Sprinter Championship (Gr3 PA).
The 1100m sprint saw Stephan Ladjadj guide Kasser to second place, while Ryan Curatolo was astride third-placed Bint Al Akaber.
Hadi Nasser al-Ramzani’s charge, Hajaam, bounced back from a heavy defeat in a Group 2 run on his last outing with a thrilling quarter-of-a-length victory in the Yasmeen Cup, a Thoroughbred Handicap event for horses rated 70-90. Ridden by Tomas Lukasek in yesterday’s 1850m run, the gelding edged out Jean Baptiste Hamel-ridden Rich History for the win at the post.
Mohamed Jassim Ghazali-trained Al Maftoon had finished runner-up in the last year’s edition of the Charm Spirit Cup, a Thoroughbred Handicap event for horses rated 70-90.
With Harry Bentley in the saddle yet again, this time the gelding, owned by Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari, held off a valiant run on the outside by Deborah Mountain-trained French Encore to win the seven furlong run by three quarters of a length. Ryan Curatolo-ridden French Encore edged out Theo Bachelot and his partner Woodkid by a neck for second.
Earlier in the day, Rashid Mohamed al-Jehani’s ward Es’hail, ridden by Gerald Avranche, finally shed his maiden status, having come close on a number of occasions earlier in his career, in the Very Nice Name Cup, a Thoroughbred graduation plate event.
Race 1: 1. Es’hail (Gerald Avranche), 2. Qatari Gold (Ronan Thomas), 3. Festive (Marco Casamento), 4. Al Mohalhal (Mathieu Pelletan). Won by: 4, Nk, 3/4. Time: 1:38.20. Owner: Khalid Rashid al-Mohannadi. Trainer: Rashid Mohamed al-Jehani.
Race 2: 1. Al Maftoon (Harry Bentley), 2. French Encore (Ryan Curatolo), 3. Woodkid (Theo Bachelot), 4. First To Post (Eduardo Pedroza). Won by: 3/4, Nk, 1 3/4. Time: 1:25.81. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Mohamed Jassim Ghazali.
Race 3: 1. Hajaam (Tomas Lukasek), 2. Rich History (Jean Baptiste Hamel), 3. Off He Goes (Theo Bachelot), 4. Hajaj (Faleh Bughanaim). Won by: 1/4, 1, Shd. Time: 1:56.44. Owner: Al Jeryan Stud. Trainer: Hadi Nasser al-Ramzani.
Race 4: 1. Pazeer (Eduardo Pedroza), 2. Jewel House (Ivan Rossi), 3. Khataaf (Jimmy Quinn), 4. Al Shaman (Theo Bachelot). Won by: 3 3/4, 2 1/2, 3/4. Time: 2:03.71. Owner: Abdulatif Hussain al-Emadi. Trainer: Ibrahim al-Malki.
Race 5: 1. Al Muntathar (Eduardo Pedroza), 2. Kasser (Stephan Ladjadj), 3. Bint Al Akaber (Ryan Curatolo), 4. Caid De L’Ardus (Harry Bentley). Won by: 1, 1, Hd. Time: 1:13.67. Owner: Sheikh Salman bin Jassim al-Thani. Trainer: Ibrahim al-Malki.
Race 6: 1. Gtnah (Ronan Thomas), 2. Maxr (Ryan Curatolo), 3. Annan (Theo Bachelot), 4. AJS Moaddie (Tomas Lukasek). Won by: Shd, 3 1/4, Nk. Time: 2:34.30. Owner: Al Shaqab Racing. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 7: 1. Ebraz (Theo Bachelot), 2. Tayf (Ronan Thomas), 3. Spaghetti (Harry Bentley), 4. Meelad (Mathieu Pelletan). Won by: 1/2, 6, 2 3/4. Time: 1:45.87. Owner: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Julian Smart.
Race 8: 1. Sharesa (Theo Bachelot), 2. Molheb Al Naif (Harry Bentley), 3. Aahil (Ronan Thomas), 4. AJS Al Rayyan (Tomas Lukasek). Won by: 1/2, Nk, 4 1/4. Time: 1:45.93. Owner: Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Julian Smart.
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