By Duane Fonseca
CONNECTIONS OF Khateer Alkhalediah would not have mind his massive coup in the 1600m Prix Burkeguy (Wathba Stallions Cup) at Mont-de-Marsan Racecourse in France late July, a race in which he not only threw the odds out of the window but also deprived teammate and big time race favourite Amyr Du Soleil.
The pair sporting the colours of Sheikh Mohamed Al Thani were far apart in the money with the latter, a 5yo Amer colt, heavily tipped to win the turf run. But Jean-Francois Bernard’s charge Khateer Alkhalediah had other plans and in the hands of Guillermo Sanchez turned in a very potent challenge to land the lion’s share of the €13,000 purse on offer.
The Wathba Stallions Cup Series is held under the patronage of the His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Festival and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs. It aims to support the ownership and breeding of Purebred Arabians in countries of the world.
A mile event, the Prix Burkeguy for horses aged four and above, attracted a field of eight, with Sanchez and Khateer Alkhalediah showing intent as soon as the gates flung open.
Keen on dictating the pace, Sanchez took his ride partner to the front and managed to hold on all the way to the finish, taking victory in 1’46:50.
Amyr Du Soleil, a winner of four of his six career starts, including three Group level wins and furthermore the 2019 running of the PA Group 1 Trophy des Poulains at Saint-Cloud, tried to push hard under Ioritz Mendizabal, but the best he could do was finish second by a neck behind his bannermate for trainer Julian Smart.
As the sun shone on them, Bernard and Sanchez continued to make hay and their partnership worked another wonder at La Teste De Buch Racecourse in the Prix Mangalie d’Albret, a 1900m Conditions run for 3yos.
The late July race was also part of the Wathba Stallions Cup Series and the Bernard-Sanchez partnership won there with another rank outsider in Majoie Des Forges, a 3yo Al Tair filly also owned by Al Thani.
A baker’s dozen went to post in the 1900m affair where after a massive struggle for positions Sanchez and Majoie Des Forges contested the finish with Monda, trained by Xavier Thomas Demeaulte and ridden by Emilien Revolte. Majoie Des Forges and Monda went hoof to hoof with the battle intensifying in the final furlong before the former showed she had much more in reserve to clinch a scintillating two length victory in 2’07.24. Majoie Des Forges’ teammate Heelywa, trained by Francois Rohaut, was third in the hands of Valentin Seguy.