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Sheema Classic hope Very Nice Name stars

Report: Qatar, Thursday

Al Rayyan, Doha: Emir's Trophy (local Group 1) 1m4f, turf, 4yo+

QATAR, which is best known for producing top-class arabian horses, will have a credible thoroughbred challenge on Dubai World Cup night at the end of the month, if an invitation to run in the Sheema Classic is extended to Very Nice Name, who won the nation's richest race, the Emir's Trophy, in Doha on Thursday.

A four-year-old trained for leading stable Umm Qarn by Alban de Mieulle, Very Nice Name was completing a five-timer in Qatar on his first run at a mile and a half.

Olivier Peslier, who collected the race's £144,670 first prize for the same connections on Lancelot last year, was in no hurry to test Very Nice Name's stamina to the hilt, but once he had crept closer to the leaders on the home turn, the result was not in doubt.

Very Nice Name won by a cosy length and a half from Peter Anders, last seen in Britain winning a 1m Hamilton handicap in June 2012 for Mark Johnston and a dual all-weather  winner since his transfer to the Gulf.

Arrigo and Dubawi King, a perennial runner-up in big races who has accumulated a healthy stack of prize-money since being bought out of Nigel Tinkler's yard, stayed on for third and fourth respectively, but as in their two previous outings they were no match for Very Nice Name.

The winner began his career in France by landing a Compiegne maiden race on his two-year-old debut and completed his European career for trainer Freddy Head - who also prepared Wednesday's big winner Burren Quality - by running third in a 1m three-year-old handicap at Longchamp on Arc day.

De Mieulle said: "Very Nice Name is still improving and each time I have stepped him up in trip he has responded. I will now keep him at a mile and a half. We have nominated him for the Sheema Classic and I hope he gets an invitation."

The disappointment of the race was the filly Rjwa, who ran third in the Prix de Diane, fifth in the Prix de l'Opera and fourth in the Hollywood Derby for present Qatari connections and for whom Sheema Classic hopes had been entertained before the race.

Ridden by regular jockey Thierry Jarnet, she never threatened to take a hand in the finish and laboured home in ninth place.

Peslier and De Mieulle teamed up 40 minutes later to win Qatar's most important arabian race and an even bigger pot of £193,000 with the outstanding Tabarak, now winner of ten of his races and unbeaten this season.

Peslier was completing a treble on the day for De Mieulle, who also won a thoroughbred handicap for lower-rated horses to take his score over the three-day festival to eight winners.

Also on Thursday

EMMA SAYER struck gold for Britain in the latest stage of the Fegentri women's amateur riders' world championship when the strength normally displayed riding jumpers in the north of Britain galvanised her mount Besher Al Naif in a 7f conditions event for locally bred horses.

Riding in only her second race for arabians, she got the good start connections had hoped for from an inside draw but was quickly swamped by most of the field, leaving her trailing by at least six lengths and on the outside turning into the 350-metre straight.

However, as the leaders came back to the field, Sayer got into overdrive and surged into the lead in the last 50 metres, winning by three-quarters of a length from Germany's Berit Weber on Shujaa.

Sayer, who celebrated her 21st birthday last month, was following the example of Freddie Mitchell, Britain's representative in the men's championship, who landed his first win in the competition on the course on Tuesday.

Sayer's immediate reaction was: "Amazing - it definitely makes up for missing Catterick on Tuesday!"

She added: "I was cruising on the home turn but it was a matter of whether I could get to the leaders. They have different whip rules here and the trainer told me to give the horse some stick, so I did."

Ireland's Fegentri representative Lisa O'Neill did not get quite the same response from her mount and finished 14th in the 15-runner field.

 
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