So Big Is Better to run in Qatar Emir’s Sword Festival

Emir's Sword Festival Attracts Strong International Entries

image00110 February 2016, Doha, Qatar ~ The 2016 Emir’s Sword Festival which takes place in Doha, Qatar, on 26, 27 and 28 February has seen a very strong international entry with the feature races run on the Sunday in two races, The 2016 H.H The Emir’s Trophy (Gr 1) Thoroughbred, run over 12 furlongs, and H.H The Emir’s Sword for Arabians, both being worth US $1,000,000.

The H.H Emir’s Trophy (Gr 1) Thoroughbred has attracted the Qatar Derby dead heat pair of Tannaaf, Mike de Kock, and Rogue Runner, Mario Hofer. From the UK, Brian Meehan runs Agent Murphy with Richard Hannon running the Al Shaqab owned Tashaar and David O’Meara with the Mrs John Magnier and Middleham Park Racing owned Afonso de Sousa. From France, the Pascal Bary-trained Billabong completes the European contingent.

The H.H Emir’s Sword (Gr 1PA) features the Thomas Fourcy-trained and Al Shaqab owned Al Mourtazez with runners from UAE and Oman such as Abu Alabyad and Shaheer as well as Arkan.

The Qatar International Cup features another horse from the combination of Thomas Fourcy and Al Shaqab in Aba’ath, winners at the Qatar Derby meeting for Purebred Arabians. So Big is Better will make the trip from Abu Dhabi for his American trainer/owner Mark Powell.

The Emir’s Sword Festival will see the introduction of a new Thoroughbred turf race program over the three days with the US $200,000 Qatar International Thoroughbred Cup, now sponsored by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, for three-year olds and up over a mile on the Saturday. The Richard Hannon-trained and Al Shaqab owned Moheet heads the sole UK entry with one entry from France in the Francois Graffard-trained and Al Shaqab owned Snaad. Mike de Kock has entered Anaerobio and Abdulla Kuwaiti has Bartack in the race.

On Sunday, 28 February, there will be the running of the US$250,000 Katara Sprint Cup over six furlongs for three-year olds and up and the running of the US $250,000 Laffan Mile Shalfa Cup over one mile. The Katara Sprint Cup sees recent Lingfield Park winner Rivellino being entered by Karl Burke as well as the Marco Botti-trained Golden Steps. Brian Meehan could return to Qatar with Al Rayyan Stakes victor Perkunas whilst Richard Hannon has Tony Curtis in the race.

Richard Hannon, trainer of Moheet, Tashaar and Tony Curtis, commented: “All three horses are going to run at the Emir’s Sword Festival at the end of the month all things being well between now and then. Tashaar is moving really well at home and was fourth in the Great Voltigeur so the form is strong. Moheet wasa going to run at the Qatar Derby Festival but scoped dirty just before he was due to travel. He is in good form and the race will come just at the right time for his first run of the season. Tony Curtis is a nice horse but didn’t like the ground in the Racing Post Trophy; if he were to win in Qatar he would win more for his owners than winning a Guineas trial back home so it is a great opportunity.”
Shipment of invited horses will be arranged and paid for by the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club. Connections of horses will also receive business class flights and accommodation.

Nasser Al Kaabi, General Manager of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club commented: “The 2016 EMIR’S Sword Festival is our most prestigious race meeting of the year in Qatar and we are pleased to have attracted such a strong international entry. I am particularly pleased to see the victorious Qatar Derby International Festival horses in Perkunas, Rogue Runner and Tannaaf all returning to Qatar.”

~ end supplied report