MILLAU wins on debut for H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani

MILLAU (Wootton Bassett x Sage Melody) made a perfect debut in the blue silks and white stars of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday when winning the Prix Phebe, a newcomer’s race over 1,400m.

Trained by Francis Henri Graffard and ridden by Hugo Journiac, the 3-year-old colt, who was also bred by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, was making his first appearance on the track and faced 11 rivals in this competitive race. The runners broke evenly from the starting stalls, and Journiac quickly took MILLAU to the rail, allowing him to smoothly progress forwards to take the lead after 300 meters. HEARTBEAT (Dabirsim x Hesione), initially in the lead before relayed by MILLAU, sat in second by a length, with EOINSTYLE (Style Vendome x Vision Intense) in third. MILLAU travelled strongly through the bend and, turning down the center of the track in the home straight, showed a good acceleration. His rivals, previously bunched in behind him in the turn, now spread across the track, with a strong run coming from SPARKLIA (Dark Angel x Gwenseb) from off the pace, and PINWHEEL (Exceed and Excel x Quilting) on the far rail. However, MILLAU always maintained his advantage and his rivals were unable to gain and ground on the eventual winner. He won by ¾ length in front of SPARKLIA, while Pinwheel just held on to third from JOJOGO (Goken x Jabberwocky) in fourth. Just a short head separated the fifth place, which went to TOMBECKA (Kingman x Totally Devoted).

Trainer Francis Graffard commented after the race, “The orders weren’t to go in front, but he was a little lazy coming out of the stalls; Hugo Journiac said afterwards that he had encouraged him to go on to get a good position, and the colt took himself up to the lead. He was tough in the finish, despite his immaturity. He was looking around, and the track was a bit soft, which is why he shortened up in the final strides. I think the post only just came soon enough, but he is a nice colt who will improve mentally and physically.”

MILLAU was bred by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Al Shahania Stud. By Wootton Bassett, sire of European Champion Almanzor, he is out of the Sageburg mare Sage Melody. She was multiple Group placed for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani. MILLAU is her fourth foal, and her fourth winner.

Source: Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club

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