European champion four-year-old, the amazing Al Ghadeer continued his unbeaten run in Group 1PA races with a three and a quarter length win from First Classs, with Samlla a further half-length away in third. The colt, trained like Samlla by Francois Rohaut, provided a second win in the event for Al Shaqab racing who also won with the colt’s sire, Al Mourtajez in 2016. Partnered by Christophe Soumillon, he becomes the first of his age group to win the mile contest, which at £400,000 is the most valuable over that distance for Arabians in Europe, and also the UK’s most valuable race for the breed.
Speaking after the race which was run in very testing conditions, with the ground having turned to soft, Rohaut commented, “We know he is a champion, but with the ground, and against older horses, we had many reasons to be worried, but he showed he is the best horse in the world.
“I won this race with Muraaqib in 2018 and it is a dream to win again. He goes on any going, any distance, he’s a champion. It’s a bit early to say if he can step up to a mile and a half for the Amir’s Sword, but we have plenty of time to think about it. For my other runners, Moshrif didn’t like the ground, whilst Samlla ran really well, he always produces the same form which shows how good Al Ghadeer is.”
Soumillon commented, “Al Ghadeer is a superstar. We try with the trainer to teach him how to settle in the race because he is always trying to over race. Today we were quite lucky to stay in the middle of the pack most of the way, I was trying to hold him up as long as possible, because in this type of ground it’s always good to get to the front in the last 200 or 300 metres. When I say ok, now you can go, when I saw that no one was able to follow me that was a great feeling.
“Lady Princess was really special, but I think he’s better than her.”
Adam Waterworth, Events Managing Director at Goodwood Racecourse said, “Yesterday was the sort of day we should have at Goodwood, the racing was superb and the weather was much kinder than it’s been today. The thing about the crowd here is they love their racing, so you see them coming out to watch the horses in the parade ring in this rain which is great.
“It’s hardly glorious, but you look at performances like we’ve just had from Al Ghadeer in the Qatar International Stakes, that’s why we’re here. To see an obvious star of the future win our feature race for Arabians, is exactly what we were after, and we’d like to think he’ll go on, win again and come back here next year.”
HH Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani presented the winning trophies to Al Shaqab Racing, Francois Rohaut and Christophe Soumillon.
HE Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Chairman commented: “We are proud of our sponsorship of the Qatar International Stakes as one of our most valuable races and part of our commitment to promote Arabian racing. We are very pleased to see this race, has once again, attracted some of the world’s top Arabians and was a fabulous addition to the Qatar Goodwood Festival. I’m sure fans of all forms of racing were fascinated by the spectacle of the Arabian horses at Goodwood. QREC would like to thank ARO and Goodwood for the excellent coordination and cooperation.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented, “What a brilliant performance from a young horse that obviously has a bright future ahead of him. We congratulate the Al Shaqab team on his success and look forward to following his career closely and hope that he will be back next year to defend his crown.
“This race has always been a fantastic contest, but this year has been really special, with every runner a PA Group winner, and all rated 112 or above. We were delighted to welcome owners, trainers and breeders from France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the USA, as well as from the UK to contest our most valuable race of the season and we are extremely thankful for the ongoing support of our racing by Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, who have been sponsoring this race as part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival since 2015. We also congratulate Yvana Lacoste who won the £250 Best Turned Out Award for Al Ghadeer.”
Concluding she said: “We would also like to thank the everyone at Goodwood and Fontwell racecourses for their assistance this year, particularly with our overseas runners.”