BINT SAFFIAN opens new season with huge Al Ghariya Cup victory

Al Azraq Stable’s BINT SAFFIAN (Arcano x Saffian) made it raced to her second straight victory on Wednesday, having won a handicap on her last outing in March, as the mare won the AL GHARIYA CUP feature for Thoroughbred fillies and mares at the dirt track at Al Rayyan Park. Starting wide in Gate 7, the Bader Al Balushi ward had Alberto Sanna for company in the 1100m sprint and the two cruised along to a dominant five length and three quarters victory, as Gassim Mohammad Ghazali’s wards, Shaheen Bin Khalid Shaheen Al Ghanim’s HILLSIDE DREAM (Dream Ahead x Knapton Hill) and Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari’s MAKE A WISH (No Nay Never x Saturn Girl), were ridden to second and third by Saleh Salem Al Marri and Ronan Thomas respectively.

Qatari apprentice rider Saleh Salem Al Marri helmed his second winner of the day when Al Shahania Stud’s RAJEH (Jaafer x Nelka) won the 1700m PUREBRED ARABIANS race. The 6yo had last run a conditions event in March, winning the 2200m race. A step down in distance and a switch to dirt did not affect the result as the horse handed trainer Gassim Mohammad Ghazali his second winner of the day. Rajeh held off Umm Qarn duo Dabaab and Al Hazm for a three quarters of a length victory.

Dhafi Rashid Al Marri’s TAHRI BAHA (Mared Al Sahra x Zamara) emerged as the second winner on the day for trainer Mohammed Hussain Afroz. The 7yo had shown promise over C&D when finishing runner up in February, and on Wednesday, the horse followed it up with a close win under Carlos Henrique in the LOCAL PUREBRED ARABIAN CONDITIONS race. Tahri Baha won by a head in the six furlong sprint.

Umm Qarn’s BADDA (Seraphin Du Paon x Raqiyan) picked up right from where she had left off last season, racing to a C&D victory in the PUREBRED ARABIAN HANDICAP (90 & below) on dirt on Wednesday. In the process, the 5yo led a one-two for her connections and trainer Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle. Ronan Thomas gave the mare a patient ride in the 1700m run as they went past the post two and a half lengths in front of stablemate Maruf, ridden by Soufiane Saadi.

Al Thumama Racing’s BARIG AL THUMAMA (Kyllachy x Self Centred) made a move to Qatar in 2018 but has had a mixed bag of results in four outings since then. However, on Wednesday the Mohammed Hussain Afroz trained Barig Al Thumama was ridden to a close, thrilling victory by Qatari apprentice jockey Meteb Ali al-Marri in the THOROUGHBRED HANDICAP (Class 5) (75 & below). The 5yo won the six furlong sprint on dirt by a short head.

Al Shaqab Racing’s ALSDRY (TM Fred Texas x Dixie Darlene) had hit the frame four out of five outings in Doha so far. On Wednesday, the Alban Elie Marie De Mieulle trained filly even registered her first career victory when she topped the PUREBRED ARABIAN MAIDEN PLATE in comfortable fashion at Al Rayyan Park. Soufiane Saadi guided the 4yo in a fantastic ride that saw the filly win by a three and a half lengths. It was Saadi’s second victory on the day.

AL MURABITAH (Footstepsinthesand x Malinche) had clipped heels and fallen when she was in a race at Al Rayyan Park a year ago. The Owaida Salem Mohammed Al Hajri trained filly made up for lost time when she sprinted to a thrilling victory in the 1100m run LOCAL THOROUGHBRED MAIDEN PLATE on Wednesday. Helmed beautifully by Soufiane Saadi in the colours of Fahad Rashid Al Hajri, the 4yo held off her rivals by a head at the post for her first career win.

The Abdullah Mohammed Al Kuwari & Sons owned SHELLBROOK (Shamardal x Ownwan) had opened well on her arrival in Qatar with two runner-up finishes, even as a win eluded the Gassim Mohammad Ghazali trained gelding. On Wednesday, on the opening day of the races for the 2020-21 season, the 4yo shed his maiden status on his ninth career outing and fifth in Doha when Qatari rider Saleh Salem Al Marri guided him to fine victory by three quarters of a length in the 1100m THOROUGHBRED MAIDEN PLATE (Class 6) sprint on dirt.

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