(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
The Peninsula – Paris
The curtain has fallen on the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend, which is held annually in Paris under Qatari sponsorship by the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC).
This year's renewal of this major international event was a great success due to the value and importance of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which has been held at ParisLongchamp racecourse for 102 years as the inaugural edition took place in 1921.
Under the Qatari sponsorship, which started 15 years ago, the event has gained a different glamour, especially with the introduction of the Qatar Arabian World Cup and boosting the prize money of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe race to €5m, making it the richest in Europe. Coupled with the refurbishment and development of ParisLonghcamp, all these factors have led to the targeted success and the ongoing Qatari excellence in la Ville Lumière (the city of light).
The huge success of the event was accompanied by keenness from the QREC management, led by Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, to benefit from the weekend in promoting the marketing activities related to Qatar and the H H The Amir Sword Festival, which is held at Al Rayyan Racecourse every year and is considered the richest and most valuable festival in the Qatar's equestrian sports in general, given its scale of international presence, especially following the unprecedented boost of its prize money since last year's edition.
One more factor, which added to the success of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend this year, was the remarkable success of Al Shaqab Racing in winning four titles in a span of three days.
The eye-catching brilliance of Al Shaqab Racing's horses at both Saint Cloud and ParisLonchamp secured victories for the famous colours in all Arabian race of the event; a feat which no other owner has achieved before. The superiority of the Al Shaqab Racing's runners gave the impression that the operation is managed and run in a professional and well-planned manner over the years, especially at the breeding level, which has paid off, as evidenced by the brilliant. Indeed, Al Shaqab Racing has made a real mark on racing, especially in the Gr1 PA purebred Arabian races and landed their titles one after another.
Afjan's first victory
Over three days of racing, Al Shaqab Racing was strongly present in the winners' enclosures. The beginning was at Saint Cloud on Friday when the Al Shaqab Racing-owned homebred Afjan (Tm Fred Texas), winner of the Gr.3 (PA) Prix Tidjani, produced a showstopping performance to win the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Poulains for three-year-old colts, 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 win by a short head on the line.
Unbeaten Norma Al Maury
The second of Al Shaqab Racing's victories was at the same course and on the same day. The Purebred Arabian, Norma Al Maury (Azadi) improved quickly to land the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian Des Pouliches for three-year-old fillies over 2000m. 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. Norma Al Maury is now a Gr.1 (PA) winner and remains unbeaten from two lifetime starts.
Nour Al Maury grabs her fourth victory
On Saturday, Al Shaqab Racing continued their victories with the action moved to ParisLongchamp. The Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian Trophy Des Juments, for 4YO fillies, saw the Al Shaqab-owned Nour Al Maury (Azadi) get a her fourth straight Gr1 PA victory.
Trained by Thomas Fourcy, the Purebred Arabian filly was sent off the short-priced favourite. The four-year-old was an excellent winner on her three previous starts and showed huge ability when beating top class mare Lady Princess (General) earlier this year. With Olivier Peslier in the saddle, Nour Al Maury was prominent behind the leader of the 2000m contest. Forced to switch wide at the beginning of the home straight after leader Casbar Meteora (Nieshan) got injured, Nour Al Maury was quickly able to get back on terms to win a shade cosily.
Al Ghadeer lands
The fourth and most prestigious of Al Shaqab Racing was on Sunday, the final day of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend. Impressive winner of the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Derby des Pur-Sang Arabes de 4 Ans at Chantilly in June, the incredible Purebred Arabian colt Al Ghadeer (Al Mourtajez x Gharra'a) landed the Gr.1 (PA) Qatar Arabian World Cup, which saw 10 of the world's best Arabians, including seven representing Qatari owners.
Carrying the colours of his owner Al Shaqab Racing and trained by master trainer Francois Rohaut, the four-year-old came into the race on the back of six successive victories including three Gr.1 (PA). Al Ghadeer became one of the all-time greats in the Arabian racing by winning impressively the €1,000,000 Qatar sponsored contest at ParisLongchamp. Al Ghadeer is now a four-time Gr.1 (PA) winner.
Al Ghadeer was never too far from the leaders of the field and travelled with sublime ease to win the 2000m contest.
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