The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) and the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) were delighted to see some of the world’s best Arabians among the 21 horses entered in the Qatar International Stakes (Gr1 PA), following the first entry stage which closed at 12 noon on Monday, 5th July. The £400,000-mile contest is the most valuable race in UK Arabian racing and the most valuable over that distance for Arabians in Europe. The first six home from 2020 could all re-oppose on 28th July in what promises to be another exciting renewal as part of the QREC-sponsored Qatar Goodwood Festival, which will take place between 27th and 31st July.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s EBRAZ, who has won the last two runnings, could face HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s TAYF, who beat him in 2017, but added into the mix and new to Goodwood, are the progressive young mares H.E. Sheikha Yasmeen Bint Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s MON’NIA and Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari’s LADY PRINCESS. All four are closely matched on Qatar form when MON’NIA led home her stablemate EBRAZ in this year’s HH The Amir Sword (Gr1 PA), with LADY PRINCESS and TAYF filling the places. They could be joined by DERYAN, winner of the 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1 PA), who was second in this. Last year’s fourth was BEL’IZAM, who had beaten EBRAZ in their prep run, Shadwell – Coupe Du Sud-Ouest Des Pur-Sang Arabes (Gr3 PA), in France.
Horses returning after a break include the leading juvenile colt of 2019 HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s AMYR DU SOLEIL, and DURAT AL ZAMAN, whilst completing the overseas challenge is the lightly raced filly the Al Shaqab Racing and Nada Mousalli-owned RYME AL CHAM. A Group3 PA winner, her family is well known to the UK as she is a three-parts sister to Group1 PA winners AL MOUHANNAD and AL CHAMMY.
Julian Smart, trainer of EBRAZ, MON’NIA and AMYR DU SOLEIL commented: “We’re just waiting with bated breath to see if we can come over or not. It would be great if we can as it’s a very important race and for EBRAZ to run in it for a fifth time, would be very special.”
The domestic challengers include eight from the UK’s top ten horses, headed by AL KAASER and LOOLWA. They could be joined by ABIYAH ATHBAH who raced prominently last year, when beaten a nose for fourth place and TIJAARY who finished sixth. Both were having their first outings due to a Covid-delayed start to the UK season, which will not be a factor this time around. Group3 PA winner STORM TROUPOUR will be making his fourth appearance in the race, whilst the sole four-year-old WANAASA, steps up to this level, but looks an exciting prospect.
His Excellency Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, QREC Chairman said: “We are proud of our sponsorship of the Qatar International Stakes as one of our most valuable races and part of our commitment to promote Arabian racing. We are very pleased to see this race, once again, attracting some of the world’s top Arabians and promising to be a fabulous addition to the Qatar Goodwood Festival. I’m sure fans of all forms of racing will be fascinated by the spectacle of the Arabian horses at Goodwood. QREC would like to thank ARO and Goodwood for the excellent coordination and cooperation.”
Genny Haynes, Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) Commercial and Finance Director said: “The Qatar International Stakes never disappoints in terms of the quality of horses it attracts, as you would expect with the very generous prize money on offer. It is very pleasing to see EBRAZ and TAYF amongst the entries, as their rivalry over the last five years has really caught the wider racing public’s imagination. We’re also pleased to see plenty of domestic entries, the opportunities to try our horses at the highest level both here and internationally have been limited because of Covid and we hope that some of them prove that they can progress further.”
Haynes concluded: “ARO is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of UK Arabian racing by Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, who have been sponsoring this race at the Qatar Goodwood Festival since 2015. We would also like to thank the BHA and everyone at Goodwood and Fontwell racecourses for their assistance in ensuring that our overseas runners in particular, have every chance to participate on July 28th whilst we continue to face the challenge of Covid.”
Previous Winners, Ground and Times:
2020 EBRAZ (GB) HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Julian Smart (Qatar), Maxime Guyon
2019 EBRAZ (GB) HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Julian Smart (Qatar), Maxime Guyon
2018 MURAAQIB (FR) HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Francois Rohaut (France), Jim Crowley
2017 TAYF (FR) HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Alban de Mieulle (Qatar), Olivier Peslier
2016 AL MOURTAJEZ (FR) Al Shaqab Racing
Thomas Fourcy (France), Julien Augé
Good to Firm, 1.43.54
2015 SIR BANI YAS (FR) HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Suc. J-F Bernard (France), Jean-Bernard Eyquem
Good to Firm, 1.46.35
Source: Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club