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A thrilling Qatar Prix de l’Elevage on cards in Toulouse

Thursday، 20 May 2021 07:42 PM

The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC)-sponsored Qatar Prix de l’Élevage (Group 2 PA) will be the feature event of the eight-race card in Toulouse, France on Saturday.

The 2,000m race for four-year-old and older Purebred Arabian fillies and mares will start at 3:15pm Qatar time. As many as eight runners will line up for honours in the exciting contest, seeking to announce themselves as favourites in the biggest summer races including the Doha Cup and the Rayyan Cup, both the QREC-sponsored Group 1s to be run at Deauville in August.

Qatari owners will have a strong representation at Toulouse with three runners carrying the colours of Al Shaqab Racing and one in the silks of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Two of the Al Shaqab Racing’s contenders will be saddled by Thomas Fourcy and the trainer’s main hope would be Jalela, who won her last two outings — Prix Nevada II (Group 3 PA) over a mile last October and Prix Nefta (Group 2 PA) over 2,000m last month — at Toulouse. With regular jockey Jerome Cabre in the saddle, Jalela is expected to make it a double over the course and distance, and an overall hat-trick.

Fourcy’s second challenger Um Taj has been the runner-up in four group races over the same or similar distances, the last of which was at ParisLongchamp in October last year. The five-year-old mare, to be ridden by Julien Augé, will seek to go one better this time.

Al Shaqab Racing’s third representative is Alkedri, who is trained by Charles Gourdain and will also be a key player with two group victories in her record. She opened her account of black-type success last September when she won the Group 2 PA French Arabian Breeders' Challenge-Pouliches over the same distance at La Teste De Buch. Under Jean-Bernard Eyquem, the four-year-old filly is coming off a Group 3 victory, having topped the Prix Damas over a mile at Bordeaux Le Bouscat earlier this month.

Sheikh Mohamed’s Artemis will be another group winner in the fray. The five-year-old mare will be saddled by Mrs JF Bernard in her seasonal bow. Her 2020 campaign was highly promising with two runner-up places in Group 2 PA over 1,900m and in Group 1 PA over 2,000m at Bordeaux Le Bouscat and Chantilly respectively. She followed that with a Group 3 PA success in the Prix Nevadour over 1,900m at La Teste De Buch in August. While she finished sixth, behind Um Taj, over 2,000m at ParisLongchamp when she was last seen in October, she is expected to bounce back quickly when she lines up with her partner Olivier Peslier.

The other four contenders too have either notched up wins or have got placed in black type races. Jean de Mieulle-trained Lamet Shamel will be coming off a fourth place in the Group 2 PA Prix De Carthage on the same course and distance last month. The five-year-old mare will be taken by her promising young trainer and jockey Olivier d'Andigné to taste black-type success.

Gourdain will have another representative in five-year-old Qamriyah, who was sixth behind Lamet Shamel last month, and jockey Maxime Foulon will give her company.

Olivier Trigodet-trained Zarra Star has been placed twice and successful once in three starts this year. The four-year-old filly finished third, half-a-length in front of Alkedri but two-and-a-half lengths behind the winner Jalela, in Prix Nefta last month. The trio will match up once again with Zarra Star partnering Antoine Werle.

Ellie Du Paon has had three starts, including two this year. Following her first two decent performances over 2,000m, she won a 17-runner race over 1,900 metres at La Teste De Buch last month. While the distance is now familiar to the Damien De Watrigant-trained filly, the four-year-old and jockey Guillaume Guedj-Gay will make sure to make no mistake in the encounter with the principals.

With these high quality contenders, the 2021 edition of Qatar Prix de l’Élevage promises to produce an absolute thriller.


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