Doha, - The 2017 HH the Emir's Sword Festival for horse racing which takes place in Doha from February 23 to 25 has attracted very strong international and national entries.
The feature races take place on the Saturday to include the HH The Emir's Trophy (Gr1) Thoroughbred, run over 12 furlongs (2,400m), and HH The Emir's Sword, the final leg of the Purebred Arabian Triple Crown, both of which are worth $1,000,000.
The HH Emir's Sword features the Thomas Fourcy-trained and Al Shaqab owned Al Mourtajez who is still on course for the $1 million Triple Crown bonus after claiming the first two legs at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and then at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting in October 2016.
Fourcy also runs Metrag whilst his fellow countryman, Eric Lemartinel who trains in Abu Dhabi runs Abu Alabyad. Finally, Dossar Athbah will represent British trainer, Phil Collington.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Thani owned Gazwan will be in the fray. The Julian Smart-trained six-year-old won the Sword last year and the Trial earlier this month and arrives in great form. In the Trial, he got the better of Umm Qarn's Tayf, but Alban de Mieulle-schooled five-year-old colt looks forward to returning to Umm Qarn with the Sword.
The HH The Emir's Trophy (Gr1) Thoroughbred, is headed by Noor al Hawa who is trained by Andreas Wohler in Germany. The son of Makfi ran out an impressive winner of the Qatar Derby over 10 Furlongs (2,000m) on 29 December for jockey Adrie de Vries and will step up in trip again as he attempts to complete a valuable Qatar race double.
From the USA, trainer Doug O'Neill runs Royal Albert Hall who was last seen finishing 3rd in Santa Anita in January, Brice Blanc will ride. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Arab Spring, an unlucky short head second at Lingfield recently.
Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari's The Blue Eye, last year's winner of HH the Emir's Trophy, returns to defend his title. Jassim Mohammed Ghazali's five-year-old ward will for sure do his best to land the title for the second year in a row.
Source: Qatar News Agency