There was a new name on the role of honour of the Group 1PA Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood this afternoon, when Lady Princess and Oisin Murphy showed the field a clean pair of heels to win by three lengths. Previous winners Ebraz and Tayf were second and third respectively, with the favourite Deryan finishing fourth. Partnered for the first time by Oisin Murphy, Lady Princess used her trademark turn of foot to accelerate away from her rivals, to gain her fourth Group 1PA win and a first for her jockey on an Arabian.
Murphy was thrilled by the experience saying: “It was a super ride and a big thank you to her connections for letting me ride her. What a little star. She was a bit anxious in the stalls, but she relaxed during the race and the way she picked up was really, really, good, I got a huge buzz out of that! Christophe Soumillon sent me a text saying ‘forget she’s an Arabian’ and my god she was good!”
Speaking from France, trainer Thomas Fourcy, who was also responsible for the third placed Tayf said: “Lady Princess is maturing and not as energetic as she used to be, although she still got a little edgy in the stalls. She has her character, but that’s what makes her strong. She will be prepared for the Qatar Arabian World Cup and then Saudi Arabia and then Qatar for the Amir Sword, she may have another race before the World Cup, or she may not.”
He continued: “Tayf got stopped in his run, but I think he would have struggled with Ebraz for second place, he is not a horse made for sprinting. He will go straight to the Qatar Arabian World Cup like last year.”
Owner Khalifa bin Shaeil Al Kuwari could also not be present however he commented by text: “It is a pleasure to run in the UK and we are now looking forward to going to Paris for the Qatar Arabian World Cup. I had confidence in her before the race, I trusted her and I trusted Oisin, who I chose to ride her. I would like to thank all the connections and share my win with Qatar’s King and all of Qatar.”
Adam Waterworth, managing director of Goodwood racecourse said: “I know the colours of Khalifa bin Shaeil Al Kuwari well from my visits to Qatar for the Amir Sword Festival. He’s so enthusiastic and passionate about his racing, it’s such a shame he’s not here, but it was great to see those colours win this race for the first time.
“It is always a great race, and this year we had four of the best Arabians in the world competing in it” Waterworth continued. “I think it is really important that we support it, the race was filled with jockeys who are household names and I just think we have to get these races as accepted on the racecard alongside thoroughbred races, as part of the racing experience. We have around 15,000 people here today and you can see how much our crowd enjoys watching the race, they always do. It was a really good performance by the winner and the race absolutely belongs as part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.”
His Excellency Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, QREC Chairman said: “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, once again, attracting some of the world’s top Arabians and promising to be a fabulous addition to the Qatar Goodwood Festival. I’m sure fans of all forms of racing will be 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 Commercial and Finance Director commented: “The Qatar International Stakes never disappoints in terms of the quality of horses that compete and the quality of race for the substantial prize money of £400,000. We are honoured in the UK to host a race of this value and to witness such exceptional performances year after year.
“We congratulate the connections of Lady Princess, and we are delighted that ARO was able to facilitate her safe arrival and preparation in the UK and those of the other French trained runners, due to the restrictions imposed by the challenges of Covid. We hope that they will be back next year under more relaxed conditions.
“We’re also pleased to see our two highest rated domestic Arabians fill the fifth and sixth places and hope that the success of this race, and the wider attention the winner and placed horses have generated today, will go towards encouraging more people in the UK to the sport.”
Haynes concluded: “ARO is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of UK Arabian racing by Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, for whom this is their seventh year sponsoring this race at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. We would also like to thank the British Horseracing Authority and everyone at Goodwood and Fontwell racecourses for their assistance in ensuring that our overseas runners in particular, have every chance to participate on Wednesday, whilst we continue to face the challenge of Covid.”