Stunning Spirit on display as Barzalona completes treble
February 21 2020 11:56 PM
Aidan Cronin
Ireland’s ambassador to Qatar Aidan Cronin (fourth from left) and Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s deputy chief steward Abdulla al-Kubaisi (second from left) pose with the winners of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup (QA Group 2) after Frederic Rossi-trained Stunning Spirit won the mile-long feature at Al Rayyan Park yesterday. PICTURES: Juhaim

Jockey Mickael Barzalona completed a treble with French raider Stunning Spirit putting up a resilient run in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup (QA Group 2) on the second day of His Highness The Amir Sword Festival at Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s Al Rayyan Park yesterday.
Also on the day, Qatar-based French trainer Alban de Mieulle saddled four winners, including Umm Qarn’s Aahil who topped the Purebred Arabian feature – the Gulf Cup.
Frederic Rossi-trained Stunning Spirit had finished second to last year’s winner Marianafoot in Deauville in December but just about managed to turn the tables in the USD 200,000 feature yesterday, as the latter ran out of real estate under Pierre-Charles Boudot in the miler.
“It’s great,” Barzalona, who had earlier ridden Latamah and Luchador to victory, told Gulf Times yesterday. “I am getting to ride good horses as well. I am happy with the way it all went here.
“He (Stunning Spirit) travelled in the front, tough horse, got a big heart. We were lucky to get the line up front.”
Rossi was palpably ecstatic at the victory. “He had shown good form (in France), and so we decided to bring him here to Qatar. Very, very satisfied with the victory, and I really want to congratulate the jockey for such a great ride,” he said after the win.
The penultimate race of the day, carrying a total prize pot of US$100,000, was open to four-year-old and older Arabians bred in the GCC, and Aahil had little trouble bagging the miler.
Coming off a big win last month over a mile in the His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani Trophy, Aahil partnered Ronan Thomas yet again and they went up front as early as possible and then stayed on before coasting to a two-length victory.
“We know he is a good horse, he is a good miler. He won but he did not win the way I expected him to. It should have been an easier win. I think maybe he is fed up of going in the front all the time. Next time maybe we will wait with him,” De Mieulle said after the win.
 “Today has been a good day, four wins, and finished second with Barra (in the Purebred Arabian Sprint Cup).”
The second day of the flagship racing festival in Qatar began with a hat-trick for De Mieulle.
Two Umm Qarn fillies opened the day with fantastic victories with Soufiane Saadi ensuring Ashoura remains unbeaten when they won the novice run for local Arabians, and Hakida shedding her maiden status under Thomas over 2,000m.
Saadi was back in the winner’s circle in the third race, this time astride Jamal bin Sharida al-Kaabi’s Fuwayrit.
The Gutaifan colt ran respectably in his first three races in Qatar since his arrival from the UK, but yesterday entered the winner’s circle for the first time at Al Rayyan Park, winning by a little more than a length in the six-furlong Thoroughbred Plate sprint for three-year-olds.
Al Shahania Stud’s R B Kindle was the only winner on the day for champion trainer Jassim Mohamed Ghazali with champion jockey Harry Bentley guiding the US-bred mare to a fine win in the Purebred Arabian Sprint Cup.
Umm Qarn’s Barra led the six-furlong sprint for the bulk of the race but a late turn of foot from R B Kindle saw the De Mieulle charge finish runner-up by a length.
Luchador, trained by Ghazali’s son, Mohamed, had shown promise every time she has stepped out at Al Rayyan Park, even finishing runner-up in the Al Biddah Mile last year. Yesterday, with Barzalona in the saddle for the first time, the filly put up a determined run in the Thoroughbreds event for fillies and mares, only the second time in her career that she has run the distance.
Barzalona had the Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari’s filly up front pretty early and the two stayed there, even as Festive, trained by Ghazali Senior, breathed down her neck under Oisin Murphy at the business end. Luchador eventually won by a head, her second victory this season and sixth overall.
Barzalona completed a double on the day when he helmed Al Jeryan Stud’s Latamah to a thrilling victory in the Local Thoroughbred Trophy for four-year-old and older horses.
Mohamed Nasser al-Naimi’s ward joined Ibrahim al-Malki-trained Black Pearl, ridden by Eduardo Pedroza, at the front of the pack on the home straight in the seven furlong race. In the final 100m, a frantic duel ensued, one that Latamah won by a short head.
Race 1: 1. Ashoura (Soufiane Saadi), 2. Badira (Ronan Thomas), 3. Neearah (Tomas Lukasek), 4. Rodina (Theo Bachelot). Won by: ¼, ¾, Nk, Time: 1:46.79. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 2: 1. Hakida (Ronan Thomas), 2. Fahd De Faust (Oisin Murphy), 3. Albasos (Faleh Bughanaim), 4. Muthhil (Theo Bachelot). Won by: 2 ¼, ¾, 2. Time: 2:14.44. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 3: 1. Fuwayrit (Soufiane Saadi), 2. Skip The Queue (Saleh Salem al-Marri), 3. X Force (Eduardo Pedroza), 4. Chattanooga Boy (Ivan Rossi). Won by: 1 ¼, ¾, ¾. Time: 1:10.98. Owner: Jamal bin Sharida al-Kaabi. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 4: 1. Luchador (Mickael Barzalona), 2. Festive (Oisin Murphy), 3. Amenable (Luca Maniezzi), 4. Hillside Dream (Harry Bentley). Won by: Hd, 1, 1. Time: 1:36.13. Owner: Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari. Trainer: Mohamed Jassim Ghazali.
Race 5: 1. Latamah (Mickael Barzalona), 2. Black Pearl (Eduardo Pedroza), 3. Qate’e (Theo Bachelot), 4. Ifreet (Luca Maniezzi). Won by: Shd, 2 ½, Shd. Time: 1:24.62. Owner: Al Jeryan Stud. Trainer: Mohamed Nasser al-Naimi.
Race 6: 1. R B Kindle (Harry Bentley), 2.Barra (Ronan Thomas), 3. Al Mustafiz (Theo Bachelot), 4. Al Muntathar (Maxime Guyon). Won by: 1, ¼, 10. Time: 1:16.57. Owner: Al Shahania Stud. Trainer: Jassim Mohamed Ghazali.
Race 7: 1. Aahil (Ronan Thomas), 2. AJS Moaddie (Maxime Guyon), 3. Zahwa (Theo Bachelot), 4. Hazm Al Sulaimi (Harry Bentley). Won by: 2, 2 ½, 9. Time: 1:43.04. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle.
Race 8: 1. Stunning Spirit (Mickael Barzalona), 2. Marianafoot (Pierre-Charles Boudot), 3. On The Front Line (Ronan Thomas), 4. Roncey (Cristian Demuro). Won by: Shd, 2 ½, ¾. Time: 1:34.63. Owner: Le Haras De La Gousserie. Trainer: Frederic Rossi.

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