23 February, 2016, Doha, Qatar ~ The draw ceremony for the two big races of HH The Emir’s Sword Festival, HH The Emir’s Sword (GR1PA) and The Thoroughbred version, HH The Emir’s Trophy, was held on Wednesday, 22 February, at Doha’s St. Regis Hotel.
With owners, trainers and other connections present, the ceremony was hosted by racing presenters Nick Luck and Gina Harding. Both races will headline the 25th February racing at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club in Doha.
Al Shaqab Racing’s AL MOURTAJEZ was drawn first to start the draw ceremony for the Purebred Arabian feature, HH The Emir’s Sword (Gr1 PA), where trainer Thomas Fourcy drew stall 10 for the Dahess colt that will be going after the million dollar Triple Crown, having won the first two legs at Qatar Goodwood Festival and Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting.
Another Fourcy charge LAFT NETHAR will be on the rails, while METRAG will give Al Mourtajez company from stall 9 in the race, sponsored by Total E&P Qatar.
Defending champion GAZWAN, unbeaten by Al Mourtajez or Assy last year, will start out the furthest in the 15-horse field.
Julian Smart’s other runners BA’SIL and EBRAZ will start from stalls 13 and 4 respectively.
Smart called the 2017 edition of the race strongest in the recent years, with two entries from Oman, two from the UAE and one from the UK.
Umm Qarn’s TAYF too will be in the thick of things having picked stall 8, while last year’s HH The Emir’s Silver Sword winner SPAGHETTI, will start from stall 6 and will have another De Mieulle ward, SEHAB, for company on the right.
Apart from Spaghetti, Ghazali has TEFKIR (stall 12) in the fray for owner Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari.
DOSSAR ATHBAH, trained by Britain’s Philip Collington, starts out to Gazwan’s right in stall 14, while ABU ALABYAD, schooled by Eric Lemartinel in Abu Dhabi, starts from stall 3.
The Qatar International Racing Festival runs from 23-25 February.