Doha, 17 October 2021 - Twenty-four hours following the start of the 2021/22 racing season at the dirt track of Al Rayyan Racecourse, the turf track was the focus of attention for the season’s second race meeting with an eight race card featuring Al Hamla Cup.
In the meeting’s feature race, the Umm Qarn-owned and bred EQUINOXE (QA) (Atlantic Air x Thurayya) started where he ended last season. The 4YO colt signed off the last season with his 4th career win and returned to Al Rayyan to gain yet another success for trainer Alban de Mieulle with Soufiane Saadi in the saddle and to enhance his strike rate to 5 in 9 career starts.
Equinoxe broke well from the starting gate to settle in the rear while Ajal (QA) (Domestic Fund) went to take the lead and was followed by Al Shomos (QA) (Shamardal) and things remained almost unchanged throughout the home straight. Around the final bend, all 7 runners accelerated and, at the 300m mark, Equinoxe progressed and closed Al Shomos, who was the leader then. In the final 100m, Equinoxe showed an amazing turn of foot to take the lead and storm home to win by 3¼ lengths. In the last strides, Abdulatif Hussain M Z Al-Emadi’s Al Adheed (QA) progressed to finish runner-up under Alberto Sanna for trainer Bader Al Balushi. The Mubarak Bin Saeed Aljafai Al Naimi-owned and Ahmed Kobeissi-trained Al Shomos (QA) was 1¾ lengths behind in third under Faleh Bughanaim.
Following the feature and last race of the meeting, Abdulla Rashid Al Kubaisi, QREC Racing Manager presented the trophies to the winners.
Injaaz Stud’s ARGUYA (FR) (Divamer x Agheilaya) doubled her tally winning the Purebred Arabian Conditions. Marco Casamento rode the Mohammed Ghazali-trained 5YO mare to a 2¾-length win in the 1400m Class 2 run. It was Evolution Du Croate (FR) (Dahess (GB), who first led the 10-runner field with steady pace and was followed by Battash De Faust (FR) (AF AlBahar) and Asiak (FR) (Divamer). In the final 300m, Arguya closed the leaders and took the lead 100m from home to win comfortably. Battash De Faust and Ateej (USA) (AF AlBahar), who made a late move forward, finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The colours of Injaaz Stud were carried to another success by RECEDING WAVES (GB) (Dick Turpinx Welanga) in the Class 3Thoroughbred Handicap (0-95) for 3YO+. The Ali Al Kubaisi-saddled 8YO horse added the 9th win to his record in the mile race. 14 runners were in the starting gates and Soufiane Saadi kept Receding Waves in a mid-position while the lead was taken by Almufti (GB) (Toronado) and at the first bend by Al Mohalhal (IRE) (Acclamation). Again, there was a quick change in the lead as it was taken by Pettifogger (IRE) (Lope De Vega). Around the bend to the home straight, the field was tight bunched that 10 runners were moving forward together towards the line. However, in the final 100m Receding Waves accelerated nicely and moved forward to take the lead and kick clear scoring by 1¾ lengths. The winning trainer secured a one-two as his ward Festive (FR) (Literato) finished second. Al Mohalhal completed the frame.
Thoroughbred Handicap (0-80), a Class 4 race for 3YO+, had 11 runners and it was Rashid Bin Mubarak Aljafali Al Naimi’s BETTER THAN EVER (IRE) (Mainsail x Better Chance) who won the mile contest tripling his tally. The Mohamed Khaled Elahmed-trained 5YO gelding was partnered by Tomas Lukasek, who took him from the stall to a mid-position against the rail. Al Moataz (IRE) (Rock Of Gibraltar) was the leader from the start and throughout most of the stages of the race. In the final 250m, Better Than Ever started to close and join him while maintaining his position against the rail. In the meantime, Frontman (GB) (Kingman) made a strong move forward, but Better Than Ever stayed on gamely to gain his 3rd win by 1½ lengths. Frontman and Al Moataz took the minor honours in this order.
The 4th race in the card saw Sharq Stud’s DI OCO PY (FR) (Nizam x Keniah) doubling his tally as he won the Purebred Arabian Handicap (0-75) for 3YO+. Trained by Owaida Salem Al Hajri, the 6YO horse tracked the leaders throughout. Moneeaty (QA) (Asraa Min Albarq) lead the 9-runner field with a strong pace in the back straight, but once in the home straight Salsabeel (FR) (Burning Sand) took over. However, Meteb Ali Al Saaq waited until the final 200m and once there, he asked Di Oco Py for extra effort and the latter’s response was immediate as he accelerated to take the lead and win by 1½ lengths in front of Salsabeel while Umm Bab (USA) (AF AlBahar) finished 3rd.
Ahmed Hassan Al Malki Al Jehani’s CRUELLA DOVIL (IRE) (Clodovil X Pale Light) got off the mark in the Thoroughbred Handicap (0-70) for 3YO+. The Hamad Al Jehani-schooled 5YO mare was kept in mid-position by jockey Lukas Delozier in the early stages with a strong pace set by Forced (GB) (Lethal Force) who led the 14-runner field. At the 200m mark, Angelic Queen (IRE) (Anjaal) challenged and took the lead temporarily. However, Cruella Dovil accelerated and stayed on bravely to snatch victory by a neck from Angelic Queen, who was followed by the 3rd-placed War Order (USA) (War Front).
Mohammed Ahmed Al Hajri’s SEDDIK (QA) (T M Fred Texas x Mashaael) won the Local Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate 3-6YOs. 15 runners contested in the mile run, but it was 6YO gelding, who proved the best. Saddled by Dr Fahad Salman Al Hajri and helmed by Qais Al Busaidi, Seddik broke well from the stall to settle behind the early leader Al Mahyoub (QA) (Dahess) and joined him around the first bend. The duo battled head to head until Seddik started his extra engines around the last bend to take the lead and kick clear scoring 2¾ lengths in front of Maamoura (QA) (T M Fred Texas), who was further 3 lengths in front of the third placed Babel (QA) (AF AlBahar).
Mohammed Abdulhadi Saad Al Hajri’s HM AL BOURAK (FR) (Azadi x Al Kahira) got the meeting off to a flying start winning the Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate for 3-6YOs.
The 4YO colt, schooled by Hamad Al Jehani, gave an impressive performance as he stormed home to win by 6½ lengths. Under Tomas Lukasek, HM Al Bourak broke from the stall to track Casimir De Codines (FR) (Majd Al Arab) who led the 11-runner field with a steady pace throughout the early and the middle stages of mile race. One in the home straight, HM Al Bourak showed a great turn of foot to take the lead at the 400m mark, making it impossible for any of his rivals to catch him. He crossed the line with a large margin in front of his nearest rival Fedwah (FR) (Amer), who fought for the runner-up position and took it by a neck from Alshoway (FR) (Dahess).