Qatar Ruler Expands Racing Interests

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, is expanding his horse racing operation in the UK.

Last season the now familiar Wathnan colours of light blue, gold sleeves and a red cap were seen to fore at Royal Ascot and other major UK Flat race meetings.

Frankie Dettori gets Wathnan Racing off to a flyer as Courage Mon Ami wins the 2023 Ascot Gold Cup (Pic – Ascot Racecourse)

The Gosden trained Courage Mon Ami provided the new operation with a fantastic start when running out a convincing winner of the Gr1 Ascot Gold Cup.

The former Anthony Oppenheimer owned Frankel gelding was one of several high-priced horses in training purchased by Wathnan.

Others included the Gr2 Queen’s Vase winner Gregory who went on to run with credit when fifth behind Continuous, Desert Hero and Tower Of London in the St Leger.

Another was the Group 1 juvenile runner up Shelby. He was bought after winning the Gr3 Greenham, and subsequently placed in the Gr1 St James’s Place Stakes.

Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock, who is responsible for buying horses on behalf of Wathnan Racing, noted: “I was asked to buy some proper horses who could go to the big meetings and compete in the big races, and this is as big as it gets.”

In the autumn it was announced that Wathnan Racing would retain the services of James Doyle. He leaves his role with Godolphin and will have first call of all the Wathnan runners in the UK and Europe.

In the last week Wathnan Racing extended its presence in the UK with the appointment of champion-elect Qatari trainer Hamad Al-Jehani in Newmarket.

Al-Jehani will be based in the lower yard of Tom Clover’s Kremlin House Stable and will initially train a small string owned by Wathnan Racing.

The 35-year-old began training in 2013 and now oversees a stable of 80 horses in Doha, where he will remain for the winter having already trained 53 winners during their season.

He said: “I am excited to have the chance to train in Newmarket. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to work in this historic training centre. I have been attending the sales in Newmarket for many years and have long been an admirer of the world-class facilities. I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

Al-Jehani has secured the services of Tommy Allen as his assistant trainer, and he leaves the stable of Newmarket trainer George Boughey to assume the post.

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