British and Irish talent on show on final day of Amir Sword festival
Three Newmarket-based runners have travelled to Doha to compete in the US$250,000 Al Biddah Mile (11.35 GMT) at Al Rayyan on Saturday.
Among them is the Gay Kelleway-trained Global Spectrum, who has won his first two starts at Kempton and makes his first trip abroad.
The three-year-old is held in high esteem by his trainer and has been compared to Vortex, who won the Group 3 Criterion at Newmarket in 2005 and competed worldwide.
"He's probably the best horse I've had since Vortex and is very professional," said Kelleway. "He won his first two races on the bridle and has done everything so easily.
"He's a wonderful horse and I've entered him in the French and German Guineas. He'll have to keep on improving but he's done nothing wrong so far.
"We were a little disappointed to have to travel out a few days later than some of the other runners, but this is an amazing opportunity and we've got nothing to lose."
Ours Puissant, last seen finishing second in a Listed contest in Deauville, represents Hugo Palmer.
"He had a good two-year-old campaign and has got good form over a mile," said Palmer. "He's a competitive horse and has improved from two to three."
The British challenge is completed by the George Scott-trained Concierge, and the son of Society Rock is no stranger to Doha having won the 7f Al Rayyan Stakes last December.
Scott said: "The only question is how he'll cope with the step up to a mile, but he seemed to win with a bit in hand last time so I'm fairly confident the longer trip will suit, especially on a sharper track."
Tough task for Tusk
The Richard Hannon-trained Raymond Tusk must overcome a wide draw if he is to land the $1 million Group 1 HH The Amir Trophy (1.15).
Owned by Middleham Park, Raymond Tusk finished sixth in last September's St Leger and his trainer is no stranger to the track.
"He's been in great form and will have gained a bit of confidence after winning in Milan," said Hannon. "We've been here before and I like the racecourse. The track is fair and the prize-money is nearly equivalent to winning the King George."
This race has not yet been won by a British or Irish raider, but Hunting Horn, the highest rated of the 15 runners, will have a good chance under Ryan Moore from stall six.
Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old won the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot before undertaking an ambitious campaign in the States.
The local challenge is taken up by last year's winner The Blue Eye, trained by champion trainer Jassim Mohammed Ghazali with Harry Bentley in the saddle.
Could it be Destiny?
Stone Of Destiny is the sole British challenger in the Dukhan Sprint (11.00), a local Group 3 contest.
The four-year-old finished third in a Listed contest at Lingfield last time and was fourth in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
"He's in great form and will be ridden by Oisin Murphy again," said trainer Andrew Balding. "His Commonwealth Cup form stands him in great stead, but it's a competitive race."
Smart bids for Amir Sword four-timer
The big race of the day is the Group 1 HH The Amir Sword (4.15) for Purebred Arabians, the final leg of the Doha triple crown.
Trainer Julian Smart has won the last three runnings of the race and sends out last year's winner Gazwan, who also won the race in 2016, and 2017 scorer Ebraz, who will break from stall one.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com