February 6, 2014, Doha ~ Rising stars came were brilliant on Qatar Trophies and Gold Sword day at the Racing and Equestrian Club on Thursday, February 6, when young British jockey Harry Bentley claimed the two Qatar Gold Trophy races on Al Anga and Dubday, taking his tally to 20 winners on visits from Dubai, where he is based for the Carnival season.
Dubday, making his four-year-old debut for owner Sheail Bin Khalifa Al Kuwari and leading trainer Jassim Ghazali, followed up his win in the Qatar Derby at the end of December on his first outing in the Middle East by putting his elders in their place in the Qatar Gold Trophy for thoroughbreds over 2,200m.
After stablemate Miblish had set the pace until early in the straight, Bentley made his move late on Dubday, grabbing the lead from Lion D’Anvers about 100m from the finish and readily holding Very Nice Name by three-quarters of a length. Lion D’Anvers was the same distance away third, a neck ahead of Momalorka, who came into the race from the reserve list after the withdrawals of Lancelot and Mainsail.
Very Nice Name, winner of the race last year, had only two behind him at the entrance of the straight and ran on well for Olivier Peslier, but the year-younger and much less experienced Dubday proved much too strong on the day.
Dubday, a son of Dubawi bred in Britain, was in training with Sir Michael Stoute as a two-year-old but never ran and was sold in October 2012 to race in Germany, from where he won the first of four races. He was sold at the pre-Arc de Triomphe sale last October for €200,000 and has thrived since his arrival in Qatar.
In similar vein, the five-year-old mare Al Anga (Amer x Kerbelle Du Loup) clinched her 2nd win of 2 starts this year and continued her rise through the ranks with her fifth win in a row – and fourth for Bentley – in the Qatar Gold Trophy for Purebred Arabians over 2,000m.
Despite her exemplary record, Al Anga, owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani and trained by Julian Smart, faced several more highly-rated rivals, but she passed her stiffest test to date with flying colors, always being handily placed before Bentley sent her to the front about 150m from the finish.
Al Anga won a shade comfortably by three-quarters of a length from Nashmi, with Muntasar and Vetlana De Faust dead-heating for third place, half a length in arrears.
The combination of owner HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani and trainer Smart rounded off the Exxon Mobile-sponsored card by winning the Qatar Gold Sword, for local Purebred Arabians over 2,200m, with the five-year-old Assy.
Ridden by visiting French jockey Christophe Lemaire, who had teamed up earlier with Smart to win a Purebred Arabian handicap with Hareq (Amer x Mangadore) for Al Shahania Stud, Assy was starting the year as he ended 2013 by extending his winning sequence to seven from eight races.
As La Hoor made the running, Lemaire held Assy in mid-division before challenging to lead 200m from the finish and won by a length and three-quarters from Khabbab, with the latter’s stablemate Fouladh in third and losing by a head his record of never having finished out of the first two in 20 previous outings since mid-January 2012.
Assy’s success over Khabbab completed an exasperating afternoon for the Umm Qarn stable of trainer Alban de Meuille, that also sent out the runners-up Very Nice Name and Nashmi in the two Qatar Gold Trophy races.
Dubday’s trainer Jassim Ghazali equalled Julian Smart’s feat of three winners on the card, and took his total over the three-day fixture to nine, by also winning a conditions race for local-bred thoroughbreds with Al Mansoor, owned by Mishal Bin Ali Al Attiya and ridden by Stephen Ladjadj, and the Qatar Silver Trophy, for non-sheikh-owned three-year-old thoroughbreds over 1600m, with Roman Legend.
Ridden by Gerald Avranche for owner Mansoor Ibrahim Al Mahmood, Roman Legend was completing a hat-trick after being stepped up to the distance, having been beaten in five previous races over shorter trips since arriving from Britain, where he was unplaced in two outings.
Roman Legend, who avoided trouble in running by being produced three off the rails, had a little more in hand than his winning margin of a length and threequarters over Peter Mac, who foiled a Ghazali-trained one-two by a short head over City Zen, might suggest.
The equivalent race for four-year-old Purebred Arabians, the Qatar Silver Sword, went to owner-trainer Hassan Ali Hassan Al Matwi with Majd Al Uraiq (Majd Al Arab x Mezooh) , on whom Pier Convertino gained a very comfortable victory by three and a half lengths from the Ghazali-trained pair Tajarub and Maksab. This would be three wins in a row for the 4 year-old.
Photos by Juhaim