(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha, Qatar: Al Shaqab Racing's horses made an impressive start for the racing action associated with the 2023 renewal of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, as they topped the two Arabian races for fillies and colts at Saint Cloud, Paris, yesterday.
In the colours of Al Shaqab Racing, Ajfan took the Gr1 Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Poulains (colts) and Norma Al Maury dominated the Gr1 Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Pouliches (fillies). In doing so, the two 3-year-olds have declared themselves the leaders of their generation, re-confirming Qatar's leadership in Arabian racing worldwide. Following the two races, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club's (QREC) Chairman Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi presented the trophies to the winners.
Present on the race day at Saint Cloud as well were QREC Board Member Khalifa bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Acting CEO Bader Mohammed Al Darwish, Racing Manager Abdulla Rashid Al Kubaisi, Support Services Department Director Ahmed Amanalla AlSheebani, Public Relations and External Communications Director Dr Nasser Ahmed Al Hamar, Marketing Director Salem Khejaim Al Adbi, Adviser to QREC Chairman Sami Jassim Al Boenain, and Director of the QREC CEO Office Saoud Hamad Al Hababi.
Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Chairman Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi (second right) presented the trophies to the winners of the Gr1 Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Pouliches after Al Shaqab-owned Norma Al Maury won the race.
Winner of the Gr.3 (PA) Prix Tidjani - the Al Shaqab-owned homebred Afjan (Tm Fred Texas) produced a showstopping performance to win the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Poulains, which followed on from his excellent third place in the Gr.2 (PA) French Arabian Breeders' Challenge - Poulains at La Teste earlier this month.
Trained by Francois Rohaut, the Purebred Arabian colt was one the fancied contenders for the 2,000m contest at Saint-Cloud. Still lightly raced, the three-year-old was having his only fourth start and is now a Gr.1 (PA) winner.
With Christophe Soumillon in the saddle, Afjan was held up second last of the twelve runners through the early stages of the contest. Still a lot to find on the leader on the turn for home, Afjan gradually improved his position showing a plenty of determination to beat and reverse the form with Extra Time (Valiant Boy) in second. Kanti De Bozouls (No Risk Al Maury) took third.
Speaking after the race, the winning trainer said:“We made a mistake last time out at La Teste when he made the running, he's a horse that we need to ride cold at the back of field as he can be a bit nervous. We know he has a good turn of foot and that our main dangers today were the ones that finished ahead of us last time out at La Teste. I was worried about the David Morrison-trained Extra Time who ran a remarkable race once again”
Jockey Olivier Peslier and Norma Al Maury on their way to victory.
Norma Al Maury too good in Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Pouliches
Recently purchased by owner Al Shaqab Racing, the three-year-old Purebred Arabian, Norma Al Maury (Azadi) improved quickly to land the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian Des Pouliches at Saint-Cloud only 30 minutes after Ajfan secured the colts' trophy for the same owner.
Trained by Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte and patiently ridden by Olivier Peslier, the filly was having her second start and despite having shown greenness when the pace lifted, Norma Al Maury delivered with tenacity. Kept towards the outside of the pack, Norma Al Maury stayed on strongly to win by one and a quarter lengths in front of Divana Chica (Majd Al Arab). Alrasha (Mahabb) took third.
Norma Al Maury is now a Gr.1 (PA) winner and remains unbeaten from two lifetime starts.
The winning trainer said after the race,“I was a bit worried about the wide draw but the magic hands of Olivier Peslier and the talent of the filly made the difference. I didn't want to run between her first start and today as she needed to come into this race fresh. She's well bred and I never had any doubt about her ability”
Bred by Mlle Renee-Laure Koch, she is by Azadi and out of Nemosie Al Maury, sister to Gr.1 PA winner and sire No Risk Al Maury.
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