16 December 2016, Qatar ~ The 2016 Qatar International Derby Festival takes place on 28 and 29 December and has seen a host of international runners entered.
On 29 December, the Festival’s feature race is the USD $500,000 Qatar Derby for Thoroughbreds, which is for three-year old colts, geldings and fillies and is run over 1m2f. Dual Group 3 winner, Noor al Hawa has been entered by Melbourne Cup winning trainer Andreas Wohler (Germany) and there are two British entries with Richard Hannon’s Listed Stakes winner, Steel of Madrid and Eve Johnson Houghton’s Scarlet Dragon, both intended runners. Last year’s Qatar Derby winning trainer Mario Hofer has entered Noble House.
The stand-out race on 28 December for Thoroughbreds is the USD $100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes for two-year old Thoroughbred colts, geldings and fillies, run over 7 furlongs. This race was won last year by British trainer, Brian Meehan, with his 2-year-old Perkunas. This year’s running sees a number of international entries; Mark Johnston (UK) has entered multiple winner, Masham Star and last year’s Qatar Derby winning trainer Mario Hofer (Germany) has Hyper Hyper entered in the valuable 7f contest. The Norwegian trained Trouble Of Course with Niels Petersen, is also entered who has won three of his four starts in Scandinavia.
There is also a Pure Arabian Derby on 28 December worth USD $100,000 that has attracted three French trained entries. Thomas Fourcy, trainer of Champion Arabian Al Mourtajez has entered Zikreet and Ateej in the 7f contest. From Oman Ibn Azazi, Petit Monsieur, Dowy Du Croate and Maisoor have all been entered to complete the international line up.
Nasser Al Kaabi, General Manager of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, commented: “We are delighted to attract plenty of international runners for this year’s Qatar Derby Festival. This event has really developed internationally and following wins in the 2015 feature races for British, South African and German trainers, we are excited to see how the international challengers fare at the end of December.”