Highest Rated Arabians Declared for Qatar International Stakes

Goodwood Scores Top Rated Arabians in Qatar Arabian International Stakes Gr 1


First Classs

First Classs and Ronan Thomas win the 2022 Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1PA)
©Debbie Burt – Equine Creative Media

25 July 2022, UK ~ The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) has announced the declarations for the Qatar International Stakes, a Group 1PA to be run over a mile as part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Wednesday 27th July. The £400,000 race is the most valuable Arabian race in the UK and the most valuable race over a mile for Arabians in Europe. The race has seen many of the best Arabians in the world compete and last year’s winner Lady Princess (127), meets First Classs (128), currently the world’s highest rated mare and gelding, along with Samlla, Europe’s highest rated four-year-old.

Of the 11 declared, there are four individual Group 1 PA winners of an impressive 16 top-level races. Two are Group 2PA winners, whilst four have been PA Group placed and overall, they have won 53 races between them. The prize fund for the Qatar International Stakes is £400,000, with £226,840 to the winner. There will also be a prize of £250 awarded to the groom of the Best Turned Out horse.

Since Lady Princess’s win, she has been a close second in the Qatar Arabian World Cup in Paris, won the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi and the HH The Amir Sword in Qatar. Trained by Thomas Fourcy for Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari, the diminutive mare has now won seven Group 1PA races and has not finished out of the first three in her 15 starts, virtually all at the highest level.

Of her preparation Fourcy commented: “Lady Princess is in very good form in the mornings. Her return to European racing was easy, winning well for Christophe Soumillon. On Wednesday, her jockey will be Jim Crowley who also knows her well, having ridden her to win the Jewel Crown and Amir Sword.

“We are looking forward to visiting Goodwood again, where she was brilliant last year. She will meet new horses like Hattal, Samlla and First Classs who has shown a lot of ability.”

The American bred First Classs makes his European debut for young French trainer, Jean de Mieulle, having been in the care of his uncle Alban de Mieulle, whilst in Qatar. The five-year-old son of Dahess progressed throughout the winter in the Gulf, winning the Qatar Derby for four-year-olds in December, then Saudi Arabia’s first $1million dollar Turf race for Arabians, the Al Mneefah Cup. In Dubai he gained his first Group 1PA success in their premier race, the Kahayla Classic at the Dubai World Cup in March. Leased HE Sharida Al Kaabi from his breeders Cre Run Farm, First Classs appears equally effective on turf or dirt from six furlongs to ten and a half furlongs. He will have his regular partner, Ronan Thomas on board, who gained a second leading jockey title in Qatar this season.

Of his new charge de Mieulle commented: “First Classs arrived in my stable at the end of May. From day one he has been very well, he’s a great horse, easy to train, always happy, with beautiful conformation. We have worked him twice on the grass to get him fit for his first race in Europe.

“He is in wonderful condition, let’s hope it will be a great race for him, even though we know that the mile is not his best distance, but Goodwood is a very special racetrack with an uphill finish. We are coming to the UK with confidence, even though it is a very strong field with the best Arabians, let’s hope he runs well, all the lights are green, so fingers crossed.”

Since the entries were published Samlla has cemented his place at the top of the four-year-old tree by winning the Qatar Derby des Pur-Sang Arabes at Chantilly in the colours of his breeder’s daughter, HE Sheikha Reem bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani. The colt’s other top-level wins were the 2021 Al Rayyan Cup (Prix Kesberoy) at Deauville and Doha’s Qatar International Cup over this distance as part of the HH The Amir Sword Festival in February. Third in that race was Djafar, also proven at this trip when winning the Qatar Purebred Arabian Guineas. Providing he showed enough ability, this race has always been a target according to his owner, Abdullah bin Fahad Al Attiyah. He joins Francois Rohaut’s team from Gassim Ghazali in Qatar and will be ridden by Tom Marquand.

Pau based Rohaut, who trained Muraaqib to win this race in 2017, commented: “Samlla traveled to Deauville a week before the race. His preparation in Pau went well. He’s in great shape and the mile of Goodwood should suit him.”

A win for Samlla would be the first success in this race for a four-year-old, though both Prada T and future dual winner Ebraz were placed at that age. He will be one of four French Derby winners to contest the race, but all have been older and only Sir Bani Yas was successful. Trained by Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte, Hattal, won the French Derby in record time at Chantilly in 2020, since then he has been carefully campaigned and is on an eight-race winning streak, which includes three UAE President Cups, one of which was the UK Arabian Derby at Doncaster.

Thierry Delègue, European racing manager for the horse’s owner-breeders YAS Horse Racing Management commented: “Hattal is an exceptional horse whose wins include five Group 1PA’s and two Group 2PA’s.

He has a dream pedigree, 100% from Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed al Nahyan’s breeding by his leading sire Mahabb out of Mizzna, herself winner of six Group 1PA races including the Kahayla Classic. She is already the dam of two multiple Group 1PA winners in Ziyadd and Rabbah De Carrere.

“This will be Hattal’s first time running over a mile and against such opponents, but we can’t wait to see him on the track as he shows very high base speed and looks in sparkling form!”

Also entered from France and making his European debut for a new trainer is Mwarid, owned and bred by Al Shaqab Racing who first won this race in 2016 with Al Mourtajez. Another formerly trained by Alban de Mieulle in Qatar, the six-year-old also has a fantastic pedigree being by world champion sire Amer out of their first Group 1PA winner Al Nachmiya. His two black-type wins this winter include the HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy over 11 furlongs beating Abbes and Ebraz, though Abbes reversed that form by a head in the Qatar Gold Sword in April.

Now trained by Eric Lemartinel who enjoyed a fine debut season in Qatar, finishing tenth in their trainer’s championship, he said: “Mwarid joined me in Qatar in mid-May from Alban and arrived in France on June 3, his preparation has gone well. The mile is a bit short for him, but at Goodwood you need to stay well, so it will be ok. He’s a nice horse.”

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