Al Ghadeer in a different league to Qatar International Stakes rivals

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Al Ghadeer (11/8) stamped his class on the G1 Qatar International Stakes (PA) as he sauntered clear of a quality field, extending his winning sequence to six in the process.

The four-year-old travelled strongly in the hands of Christophe Soumillon towards the far side and soon quickened away without coming off the bridle.

The winning distance of three and a quarter-lengths was in no way a reflection of the Francois Rohaut-trained colt’s dominance and it could easily have been more. First Class (7/1) plugged on take second, just ahead of the winner’s stable-mate Samlla (10/1) in third.

The Al Shaqab-owned winner, whose sire Al Mourtajez won this race in 2016, is now four from four in G1 Arabian races and looks by some distance the best Arabian-bred horse in the world.

Rohaut said: “It was amazing what Al Ghadeer did today, first time out against the older horses. I know the quality of Moshrif and Samlla – they are real champions, and to beat them by that far was incredible.

“We knew he was a champion but there were some unknown quantities – the ground and older horses. We had many reasons to be worried, but he showed us that he is probably the best horse in the world.

“Sheikh Joaan [Al Thani, owner] is here, and it is fantastic. He is a lovely horse, a champion, and it is great to be here at Goodwood.”

Soumillon said: “For me, Al Ghadeer looks like the Frankel of Arabian horses. He is so amazing. You see him in the paddock and he looks great. I have nothing bad to say about him, and going down to the start he really concentrated with a lot of power.

“I want to keep teaching him how to race because sometimes he wants to over-race a bit in the first part of the race. Today we were quite lucky it was a mile and that was a good way for him to try to settle, but the pace didn’t go fast enough for him. So in the last turn, he started to get on the bridle when the wind started to blow in his ears. Finally, I had to come out a bit to let him have a nice blow and, when I took the lead, I was just hoping nobody was behind me with a lot of energy, because the track is very difficult for these kind of horses normally, and he did it like a real champion.

“You need to teach them [Arabian horses] to come as late as possible, because usually when they hit the front, they can stop very fast, especially in these kind of conditions on the track. He is a bit different, so you can ride him like a thoroughbred. We have known for a very long time that he is a superstar. Since I rode him last year, I’m trying to always get a good lesson into him. Now he is getting better in his races, we just hope that he’s going to handle the same ground in a 2,000m race because he’s going to have to run in the biggest race in Longchamp on Arc day. He gave everything today and has shown that he’s probably going to be the best horse in the world in these kind of races.”

He added: “I have some very good relationships with Arabian horses. I have won nearly all the big races with them. They are a bit different to thoroughbreds, that’s for sure. I learnt to ride them a long time ago and, when you get chances to ride superstars like I did in the past, and when you find one like him, you really enjoy your time.”

1.15pm Qatar International Stakes (Group 1 PA)
1 Al Ghadeer (Al Shaqab Racing) Francois Rohaut FR 4-8-13 Christophe Soumillon 11/8
2 First Class (Noora Racing) Jean de Mieulle FR 6-9-00 Ronan Thomas 7/1
3 Samlla (H.E. Sheikha Reem MK H Al-Thani) Francois Rohaut FR 5-9-00 Maxime Guyon 10/1
8 ran

Francois Rohaut – 6th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner
Christophe Soumillon – 1st Qatar Goodwood Festival winner

1.50pm Coral Handicap