Doha: Qatari owners are represented by seven of the 18 initial entries for the £150,000 Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Harwood International Stakes (Group 1 PA) — the UK’s highest value race for purebred Arabian horses — that will take place in Doncaster, England, on September 13.
Julian Smart — whose racing year is split between H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Al Shahania Stud in Qatar and a summer base in Lambourn — is responsible for four, including previous group race winners Al Anga and Aden.
Smart — three-time winner of Qatar’s most prestigious race, the H H Emir’s Sword — is also set to saddle Taraf, the striking silver dun filly that won the Shadwell Madjani International Stakes at Newmarket in July and
the Emirates NBD Conditions race at the Dubai International Arabian Races at Newbury last weekend.
Leading French trainer Alban De Mieulle and owner/breeder H E Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al Thani will be hoping for a repeat of their success in 2013 when Nashmi joins the line-up — after they claimed victory with Tarabak in the inaugural running of the race.
Nashmi was narrowly beaten by last year’s runner-up, Djet Taouy, in a listed race at Newbury in May in which Shadiya finished third.
Shadiya is one of three entries in the Doncaster showpiece for British owners Almost All Partnership.
Although Nashmi doesn’t have Djet Taouy to worry about this year, he does look set to face opposition from two others — Jean Francois Bernard Yard, including No Problem Al Maury, the top lot at the 2013 Arqana Sales in France.
The UK’s champion Arabian trainer, Gill Duffield, also has a strong hand. The pick of her three entries is Manark, which won a seven furlongs Group 2 event at Newbury as a three-year-old.
The Royal Cavalry of Oman succeeded in a rare feat when Al Mouhannad retained his crown in the Group 1 Jebel Ali Racecourse Zaabeel International at Newbury last weekend. He will be looking to improve on his third place in this race last year.
Toutatix — saddled by Georgina Ward, who has recently relocated to the UK from Oman — comes to the race after winning the opening Premier Handicap at Newbury’s Dubai International Arabian Races last weekend over the same distance. This represents a significant step up in class but he looked impressive on his most recent start and never gives up without a fight in his races.
Arabian Racing Organisation Racing Manager Amanda Smith said: “We are very grateful to Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club for their ongoing support of Arabian racing in the UK. This race is the single most valuable of the UK season and the only race for purebred Arabians staged on a Classic card in Britain.
“More than 30,000 people attended Doncaster last year providing a fantastic showcase for Qatar and for Arabian racing. I am sure Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club will be rewarded with another superb event.”