Mehdaayih emerges as Classic prospect for Frankel and owners Emirates Park
Nasser Lootah's operation has a breeding farm in Australia
Highest among the honours still awaiting Frankel is siring the winner of a major European Classic, an achievement which might have grown a fair bit closer following the commanding victory of Mehdaayih in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks.
The filly herself will have to be supplemented for the Investec Oaks itself, for which she is now around 5-1 second-favourite, after overcoming a wide trip to quicken four and a half lengths clear.
Yet this should pose no problem for her owner Emirates Park, a prominent breeding and racing operation belonging to businessman Nasser Lootah and his son Hussain which has enjoyed conspicuous success with some big-money purchases in Australia.
Mehdaayih has a pleasing Classic pedigree stretching through both her sire and dam’s side. Frankel famously skipped the Derby in favour of a campaign over a mile, although his father was the 2001 hero at Epsom, and the name of her mother, Sayyedati Symphony, betrays the fact that she was out of one of the most popular mares of modern times.
Sayyedati claimed the 1993 1,000 Guineas for Clive Brittain and Mohamed Obaida before undertaking an epic global tour which delivered a Prix Jacques Le Marois and outings in Japan and the Breeders’ Cup.
Sayyedati Symphony, who was fairly useful despite remaining a maiden on the track, has been breeding under the auspices of Rabbah Bloodstock Limited, a collective of associates of the Maktoum family. She is a half-sister to Almushahar, who had looked a fine prospect in a juvenile campaign for Godophin and David Loder but failed to reappear after maintaining his unbeaten record in the Champagne Stakes.
The broodmare has also been responsible for Escalator, a winner at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, but has not produced another foal since Mehdaayih. She lost a Muhaarar foal in 2017 and had no better luck when returning to the stallion in 2018. She is reported to have been exported to Australia this year after being picked up for what now looks to be a giveaway €8,000 by Rosemont Stud at Goffs last November.
Mehdaayih, who did not go through the ring herself, is now on a four-timer after earlier strikes at Yarmouth and Chelmsford. This Listed win was a 40th stakes victory on the board for Frankel.
When she retires, it would be no surprise to see her voyage Down Under herself. Emirates Park has a broodmare band at Murrurundi in New South Wales and has close ties with the powerful Aquis Farm set-up.
It also has an interest in a number of stallions including Winx’s half-brother Boulder City, a valuable son of High Chaparral in Wayed Zain and the shuttling five-times Group 1 winner Dream Ahead.
The Lootahs, who have family business interests in commodities, transport and property, have become familiar figures in Australian circles, notably winning an Australian Guineas in 2005 with another of their current stallions, Al Maher, and the 2014 Golden Slipper with Mossfun. The owners also claimed last year’s Golden Slipper with Estijaab, an A$1,700,000 (£915,000 / €1,060,000) purchase at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
Emirates Park’s only other runner in Britain has been Shakour, who was also with John Gosden and bought for 250,000gns at Tattersalls Book 1 in 2016. He was moved on after failing to win in five starts. That year, it also swooped for a Galileo filly out of the smart Redoute’s Choice mare Melito for 500,000gns.