Seb Sanders: back in the saddle for BeethovenPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Amico Mio out to defend Heir Apparent crown
Preview: Thursday, Qatar
Al Rayyan Park (Doha) HH Heir Apparent Trophy (Local Group 1) (open to international competition) 1m3f, turf, 1.10pm GMT
THE last two winners of HH Heir Apparent Trophy, one of the biggest thoroughbred races of the season in Qatar, clash in Thursday's 2013 renewal of the 1m3f Group 1 feature.
A maximum field of 16 will face the starter with Amico Mio defending his crown with jockey Stephen Ladjadj replacing regular pilot David Badel aboard the seven-year-old.
He has only been seen once this season, winning the Group 3 Barzan Cup in November, just as he did last season and looks sure to go well.
He was chased home last year by the Jassim Ghazali-trained Dubawi King, who will be ridden this year by Yanis Aouabed having replaced regular jockey Gerald Avranche who was aboard 12 months ago as well in each of his two most recent starts when finding General Duke's and the reopposing Very Nice Name too good.
Trained by Alban de Mieulle, Very Nice Name arrives here having won his three latest starts, highlighted by a win in the Qatar Derby at the end of December. The four-year-old has forged a powerful alliance with jockey Pierre Conertino and they could be the pair the rest have to beat.
Beethoven, (Ahmed Kobeissi/Seb Sanders) only 14th last year, did win this race in 2011, as well as the Qatar Derby but they remain his only two victories since arriving in Qatar having formerly been trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien for whom he won the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes as a juvenile at Newmarket.
If Beethoven has perhaps been disappointing since leaving Aidan O'Brien, another former Ballydoyle inmate, Recital, most certainly has. His biggest win was achieved in the 2010 Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud before winning the 2011 Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
That effort was sufficient to see him start third favourite for the Epsom Derby. He was sixth to Pour Moi before failing to beat a rival in the Irish Champion Stakes on his last European outing.
Now trained by Kobeissi, this will be his ninth start in Qatar with a fourth in the 2011 Qatar Derby his best effort to date.
Ladyanne was sixth in this last year but has proved time and again she should not be ignored in any company and Avranche chooses to ride her over stable companion Dubawi King. Winner of both the Qatar Guineas and Derby last season, she arrives here having won all three of her starts this term, highlighted by the Qatar Oaks.