CHAMPION TRAINER Jassim Mohammed Ghazali and Champion Jockey Harry Bentley were over the moon in Doha last week after combining over the three days of racing to claim six wins, including a hat-trick. Ghazali enjoyed a seventh success when Felix Leiter scripted a close win under JP Guillambert on Wednesday. Another trainer and jockey combination, Ibrahim Al Malki and Eduardo Pedroza, also enjoyed multiple successes, including a hat-trick of winners on the first night. Ghazali and Bentley’s eventful week began on Tuesday when Istibdad clinched the 6f Al Daayen Cup, a conditions race for Purebred Arabians, a half-length ahead of TM Thunder Struck, with Mindza ten lengths behind in third.
It was the final race of the first night, but it proved a harbinger for what was to follow over the next two days as Ningara and Al Hareth turned out close winners on Qatari Diar Cup night. While Ningara edged Fort Moville by a neck to win the 12f Listed Qatari Diar Cup for Thoroughbreds rated 96-115, Al Hareth and Sraab were separated by a head after a mile in the 8f Qatari Diar Cup, a conditions race. Fundamental and Footprintinthesand finished third in the two races respectively. Earlier that night, Shadow Game claimed the Class 5 Thoroughbred Handicap with a half-length win over Succeed And Excel with Makinson Lane in third, while Ghazali’s fourth success of the night was achieved in the Class 2 Thoroughbred Handicap over 8f for horses rated 86-100 when the JP Guillambert-ridden Felix Leiter edged Skate by a neck, with Chilworth Icon a further neck behind.
Thursday turned out to be another glorious night for the pair as Itorio claimed his second Group 3 Barzan Cup in a row after a calculative ride from Bentley. Itorio seemed to know what he had to do over the 8f trip as he chased leader Bretherton before finding his kick with 300m left and sprinted off for a half-length win. Vitally Important took third after Moheet claimed second sticking his head in before the former. It was the second success of the night for Ghazali and Bentley, who made a podium appearance earlier when Opera Baron stamped his authority on the Group 3 Thoroughbred Guineas for a second straight year with a noteworthy performance in the 1600m run for 3yos.
Like Itorio, Opera Baron stayed strong but was locked inside what was a packed leading group before sprinting clear in the last furlong to win by a length from Top Face, with Bluebeard a further halflength back in third. The Local Thoroughbred Guineas over 1600m was won by the Ibrahim Al Malki-trained Al Uraiq Secret, who beat Asaaf by a length and three-quarters, with Abu Samrah a further half-length behind in third.