26 February 2015, Doha ~ The grey and maroon colors of Al Shaqab celebrate their first anniversary on Thursday 26 February. The stable is aiming for a notable double as Qatar’s most prestigious race meeting of the season, staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as part of the eight-day HH the Emir 24th International Equestrian Sword Festival, reaches its climax with two Group 1 races over 2400m.
Al Shaqab’s new silks were worn for the first time when Dubday won the HH Emir’s Trophy a year ago in 2014, and the five-year-old is back teamed with jockey Frankie Dettori to defend his unbeaten record in Qatar in the thoroughbred race that carries prize-money of two million riyals, while Al Mourtazez and Farh present a formidable pairing in the HH Emir’s Sword for purebred Arabians, which closes the program with a prize fund of three million riyals.
On Wednesday 25 February, in the Qatar International Trophy Gr 1, the grey and maroon carried Mister Ginoux (Amer x Nacree Al Maury) with jockey Julian Auge’. The grey colt took off like a cannon shot in the last 100meters overtaking Aden and Al Anga as they crossed the line. The year’s tally for Mister Ginoux at second place is 741,000 riyals after Taraf at 1,653,500.
Thursday 26 February’s final and conclusive race of the Festival for Arabians, the H.H Emir’s Sword Gr 1 will throw down the gauntlet between top rated, Djanka Des Forges, and rivals Al Majh’hoor, Al Mourtazez, Raddad, Farh, Taraf, (the latter two wearing grey and maroon) and Vetlana de Faust. A win by Djanka Des Forges under Richard Mullen would cement the current top trainer standing of Julian Smart for the year, but the grey and maroon are coming on strong.