Paris, 16 March 2021 - His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Tournesol won the Prix d’Essai (for 3yo unraced colts), before Al Shaqab’s Racing’s homebred Murjan landed his first race, the Prix Djouras Tu — Wathba Stallion Cup in Toulouse, France, on Sunday.
Seen midfield, Tournesol showed a good turn of foot to win by half a length, beating Taskheer. Sheikh Mohamed also had Fabuliste in this race, who finished third four-and-a-half lengths further. Both Tournesol and Fabuliste are bred by Sheikh Mohamed’s Al Shahania Stud, and are trained by Philippe Sogorb.
Tournesol was ridden by Olivier Peslier, who said after the race, “He is a very good looking colt and he has some talent. He was brave today because he was attacked by another colt. I just used the whip once and he answered well. Philippe Sogorb told me to be careful today because he could be keen, that’s why I didn’t ask a lot to him at the start of the race.”
Al Shaqab’s Murjan, trained by Thomas Fourcy, had raced twice in 2020 without success. Murjan had not been seen on a racecourse since last June, being gelded in July.
This time, on Sunday, he was brave to win a race in which the first four finished nearly in the same stride. Murjan won that battle, keeping a victorious nose on the post and beating another Al Shaqab-owned and -bred colt, Hazzam.
Mickael Forest, Murjan’s jockey, said, “Thomas Fourcy told me he had some work, but it was still a comeback after being gelded. Thomas has always liked this horse and today, he proved that he was right.”
Hazzam, the runner-up, is also trained by Fourcy and was last seen at Toulouse in November 2020, finishing third in the Prix Ourour, a Listed for Purebred Arabians.