February 26, 2014, Doha ~ Oman made hard work into success and an afternoon to remember on February 26, day two the three-day racing held as part of HH The Emir 23rd International Equestrian Sword Festival at the Racing and Equestrian Club in Doha.
Raddad (Amer x Djelmila) won for Oman in the Group 1 Qatar International Trophy for Purebred Arabians for owner-breeder-trainer Ahmed Abdullah Al Marzooqi and jockey Asad Al Seyabi. First on the card, Fatma Al Manji began the assault for Oman with her win on Al Safi in the Longines Fegentri Championship for lady riders.
Al Seyabi, one of the top riders in his native country kept a good position on Raddad from the start of the one million riyals ($275,000) 1,600m Group 1. As Lahoor kept up the pace, Raddad made the challenge for the lead in the last 200m, winning by 1.5 lengths over Bin Amer and third, the filly Aden, racing almost side by side. Harran, winner of the race two years ago, came along strong at the end ahead of La Hoor but still half a length from the placed horses.
Al Shaqab Racing’s No Problem Al Maury, on whom Frankie Dettori was having his first ride at the Festival, suffered from interference before finishing seventh, while Fouladh, winner of the Gulf Cup on the first day of the meeting for the last two years, was placed eighth after being forced wide round the final bend.
A large contingent of supporters greeted the winner and draped the Omani flag over the hind quarters of Raddad, who had won his two previous races in Oman but was running in Qatar for the first time since being well beaten in last year’s HH the Emir’s Sword.
In the Ladies Fegentri series, Al Manji won the opening conditions race for Purebred Arabians on Al Safi (Dahess x Petite Class) over 1,200m, by a comfortable four lengths going away at the end, but was thrown to the ground when her mount jinked through the rails on the bend 100m after the finishing line. Al Manji returned on foot to the winner’s enclosure with only a scrape and a bit of pride worn off, and her mount was collected later on the track. Al Manji said later she was proud to wear her small bandage as it was a reminder of her good success in the race.
Second of the Lady riders to finish was US rider Annie Yeager on Shaklan (Burning Sand x Tohfa). Yeager has made her background in jump races in the US and was thrilled to see Qatar and be included in the international group of lady riders. Nicole Schlatter representing Switzerland came in third on Arraab. Jazim Gazali was the trainer for 1st and 3rd, and Julian Smart is the trainer of Shaklan.
The day’s important race for thoroughbreds, the Group 2 Qatar International Cup over 1,600m and worth one million riyals, continued the fairy-tale story of the four-year-old filly Mojave Desert, who gained her fourth and easily most prestigious success under a confident ride by former Qatar champion jockey Darren Williams.
Mojave Desert arrived in Qatar last year as a lowly-rated maiden, having been placed in one of her four races as a three-year-old for Dubai owner Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, and was sold out of Mark Johnston’s stable for 11,000gns at the Tattersalls sales in Newmarket in July.
Since joining trainer Majid Safedeen she has blossomed into one of Qatar’s top sprinters, and, according to Williams, is still improving.
The Thursday and final races will feature the H.H THE EMIR’S SWORD (Gr 1 PA) and the H.H THE EMIRS TROPHY (Gr 1) THOROUGHBREDS.