Al Walid ends Nafees’ unbeaten run
7 February 2018, Pau, France ~ Al Walid under Quentin Houdoin gave Al Shaqab Racing the win in the first HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup series on 6 February 2018 in Pau, France.
Eight were in the fray for the 1,900 metre Prix du Haras de Gelos- Wathba Stallions Cup carrying a prize fund of Euros 17,000.
Nafees under lady jockey Mickaelle Michel running in the colours of the Royal Cavalry of Oman was unbeaten in four starts last year and seemed the one to beat along with Bandar, owned by Yas Horse Racing Management.
Dalmaz Lotois did the early running with the Al Shaqab pair of Al Walid and Kashmir handily placed while a little off the pace was Nafees with Bandar further behind. At the bend Al Walid under Houdoin forged ahead and soon was hotly pursued by Bandar ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal with Nafees under Mickaelle also moving into top gear.
The Tim Fourcy-trained Al Walid (Dahess x Al Sarwa) was well in control making a smart win while a late surge by Nafees saw the Omani raider just fall short but good enough to pip the Frederic Sanchez-trained Bandar for second place.
It was a second career win in six starts for Al Walid, a 5-year-old Dahess son, and his win here halted the unbeaten run by Nafees (Azadu x Vivamaria by Njewman). The winning time for the 1950-metre trip was 2:14.20 and the winning margin was one and a quarter length.