Layla Sophia’s ILOUCIO wins Al Gharafa Cup

The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) organised the eigth race meeting in the 2021-22 season at the Al Rayyan Racecourse turf track on Thursday, 4 November. The feature and eighth Al Gharafa Cup race rounded off an entertaining day’s racing and was won in stunning style by the Layla Sophia Kalach-owned and Wasim Al Sahn-trained ILOUCIO (FR) (Josco Du Cayrou x Louna Du Loup). It was a remarkable day for Alberto Sanna as it was capped off with his 3rd success in the evening and 6th win in the week

The feature race was for 3YO Purebred Arabians. The 1500m race had a field of 11 runners. Iloucio went directly from barrier 6 to track the leaders. The hot favourite, Al Shaqab Racing’s Alrugrog (FR) (Mister Ginoux) was the early leaders and Mohammed Bin Hamad Khalifa Al Attiyah’s Karaamah (FR) (Al Mamun Monlau) was immediately behind him. Things remained unchanged until the horses entered the home straight. Just before the 200m pole, Iloucio started to make a strong move forward, joined Alrugrog in the lead in the final 100m and went past him in the last strides to score by quarter of a length. The Eric Lemartinel-trained and Szczepan Mazur-ridden Alrugrog finished runner-up. The final metres saw a move forward by Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari’s Ghadanffar Al Cham (FR) (Dahess) to finish third. The Jassim Ghazali-trained colt was further 2¼ lengths behind under Marco Casamento. Karaamah, who was in 2nd position throughout finished 8th.

“Iloucio’s performance and standard is superb”, said the winning trainer Wasim Al Sahn after the race, “We brought him from France. He is a son of Josco Du Cayrou, and as such his pedigree is not very familiar in Qatar. We look forward and expect more from him on the big days. He has had two runs so far. While his first run was mainly to help him adapt to his new environment, he finished runner-up that day and today, on his second start in Qatar, he won. Through Iloucio and the few horses I train, I look forward to leave a strong mark on this racecourse this season.”

Following the feature race, Hamd Bin Abdulrahman Al Attiyah, President of Qatar and Asian Equestrian Federations, QREC Vice Chairman, crowned the winners.


In the penultimate race, the Thoroughbred Plate for 2YOs, Al Shaqab Racing’s homebred SAYYAL (IRE) (Shalaa x Bea Remembered) on his first appearance in Qatar won the 1200m with authority by 5½ lengths giving Al Shaqab Racing, trainer Eric Lemartinel and jockey Szczepan Mazur a double on the day and enhancing his strike rate to 2 of 5. Halawat Al Rouh (FR) (Zarak)was the runner-up and Blind Drunk (IRE) (Due Diligence) finished third.


The sixth race in the card was the Thoroughbred Conditions for 3YO+ over. While the 2000m run had only 4 runners and it was not the feature race of the day, all eyes were focused on it given the class of these 4 runners. Al Wasmiyah Farm’s NOOR AL HAWA (FR) (Makfi x Majestic Roi) won the Gr1/QA H.H. The Amir Trophy last term and arrived on Thursday partnered by Tom Marquand. H.E. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Al Thani’s Aspetar (FR) (Al Kazeem) won the Gr1 57th Preis von Europa in 2019. Injaaz Stud’s Hellenistique (FR) (Wootton Bassett) won the Gr1/QA Qatar Derby last season. H.E. Sheikha Reem Bint Mohammed Bin Al-Thani’s Pedro Cara (FR) (Pedro The Great) was the runner-up in the Qatar Gold Trophy earlier this year. The race was the seasonal debut for these classy horses and a preparation for them for the season’s prestigious titles. It was NOOR AL HAWA who proved the best on the occasion and emerged winner by 1½ lengths for trainer Georges Mikhalides and Tom Marquand teamed up for the 6th straight win in NOOR AL HAWA tally. Aspetar and Hellenistique finished second and third respectively.


H.E. Sheikha Iman Bint Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s ASIAK (FR) (Divamer x Agheilaya) won the Purebred Arabian Handicap (0-100), doubling his tally and giving trainer Rudy Nerbonne his 1st win on his 1st start as a trainer. He was ridden by Alberto Sanna to come out narrowly on top by a neck in the 1500m race for 4YOs. It was a double on the day and a 5th in the week for the Italian jockey. First Classs (USA) (Dahess) and AJS Berline (QA) (AF AlBahar) took the minor honours in this order.


on his 2nd start in Qatar, Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari’s ACTION HERO (IRE) (Dandy Man x Saga Celebre) went one better to win the Thoroughbred Handicap (0-85) by 2¾ lengths. The Zuhair Mohsen-trained 3YO colt was helmed by Soufiane Saadi in the 1500m run for 3YO. Conscious (GB) (Oasis Dream) and Pettifogger (IRE) (Lope De Vega) completed the frame.


Al Shaqab Racing’s homebred OSAILA (QA) (Amer x Redjila) on her 2nd outing began her career in Qatar with a bang winning the Local Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate. Szczepan Mazur guided the Eric Lemartinel -trained filly to take the 1500m run for 3YO by 3¾ lengths. Babel (QA) (AF AlBahar) and Hardan (QA) (Assy) finished second and third respectively.


Umm Qarn’s homebred QUEEN STORM (QA) (Trade Storm x Yasmeen) took the Local Thoroughbred Maiden Plate in the second race in the card. The Alban de Mieulle-schooled filly won the 1500m race for 3YOs with Ronan Thomas in the saddle. That (QA) (Swiss Spirit) and Good Day (QA) (Lancelot) completed the frame. In fact, Queen Storm was second past the post, beaten a head by That. However, the Stewards called an enquiry determined that but for the interference caused by That (Alberto Sanna), Queen Storm would have finished first, and therefore ordered that the placings be amended.


H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s homebred ATTASHA (GB) (Le Havre x Shada) on Qatar debut kick-started Al Gharafa Cup day winning the Thoroughbred Maiden Plate. Alberto Sanna rode the Stefano Ibido-trained filly to a cosy ¾-length win in the 1750m run for 3YOs. Hungry For Fashion (IRE) (Markaz) and Master Of Brazil (GB) (Prince Of Lir) finished second and third respectively.

Source: Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club