The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC)-sponsored Qatar Derby des Pur-Sang Arabes de 4 Ans (Group 1 PA) was run at Chantilly yesterday and was landed by Hoggar de l’Ardus in the colours of HE Sheikha Reem bint Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Qatar’s ambassador to France Sheikh Ali bin Jassim al-Thani, and France Galop President Edouard de Rotshchild were present at Chantilly and presented the trophies to the winners.
Hoggar de l’Ardus scored the 2,000m contest impressively, announcing himself as the leader of four-year-old Purebred Arabians.
Ridden confidently by jockey Maxime Guyon, the Thomas Fourcy-trained colt was still full of running as the field headed up the home straight. He easily pulled clear of the field 300m from the winning post and despite swerving across the track 100m later, he got the better of the favourite Abbes by three lengths at the line.
Abbes was always well-positioned against the rail, but flattened out when challenged by eventual winner Hoggar de l’Ardus. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani-owned Abbes held on well in the closing stages and finished runner-up under Olivier Peslier, securing a one-two for Fourcy.
The Olivier Trigodet-trained and Anthony Crastus-ridden Soko was further three-and-a-half lengths behind in third.
“We couldn’t have dreamt of better!” said Fourcy after the race. “I’ve always thought a lot of Abbes, who we’ve had since he was a three-year-old. Hoggar de l’Ardus, I got him this year and he has gone from strength to strength at home. The two were in perfect condition and they are both very, very good horses. Hoggar has a bit of character, but a lot of ability.”
Guyon said: “Today was my first time sitting on Hoggar de l’Ardus, but I had watched his races and I knew that he had a huge capacity to accelerate. That’s why I waited before asking him for an effort. He ducked sharply once he found himself in front, about 250m from the post, but that proved that he still had plenty in reserve and a lot of progression to be made.”
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