29 February 2016

Appropriately enough, Irish-bred horses dominated the big race in Doha, Qatar on Friday as BALTIC KNIGHT (IRE) edged ROMAN LEGEND (IRE) by a neck in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing  Cup- although the official margin does little service to a winner who met with an interrupted passage from the top of the home straight. Now trained in Bahrain by Bader al Abid, BALTIC KNIGHT (IRE) raced in the colours of Thurloe Thoroughbreds for four seasons at the yard of Richard Hannon, where a Listed win ranked highest amongst several consistent performances in top company. Success in Doha in the US$200,000 feature presented the son of Tally-Ho stallion Baltic King with his richest win to date and he seems primed for more lucrative honours in the Middle East. 

Five of the first six past the post in the turf mile, a local Group 2, were Irish-bred on a weekend when ITM lent its support to the biggest fixture in the Qatari racing calendar. Irish horses have dominated the current season in Qatar with over half of the races open to thoroughbreds going to those with an IRE suffix. The trend continued when IZZTHATRIGHT (IRE) claimed the Katara Sprint Cup on Saturday. Bred by Patrick Cummings and formerly trained by Richard Fahey, IZZTHATRIGHT (IRE) cost just €4,000 as a yearling at Tattersalls Ireland's September Yearlings auction in 2013. To date he has earned the equivalent of €273,000.

Other notable efforts from Irish-breds on the same card came courtesy of GO DAN GO (IRE), winner of the Emir's Shalfa over ten furlongs on turf by a short-head from MAGNOLIA BEACH (IRE) with JUMAIRA TOWER (IRE) in third.  GO DAN GO (IRE) is a son of Ballyhane Stud's DANDY MAN (IRE), now really making his mark as a stallion and to date best known as the sire of champion Hong Kong sprinter PENIAPHOBIA (IRE).

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