Teal eyes 2,000 Guineas tilt after Tip Two Win impresses
Al Rayyan: Al Biddah Mile (Sponsored by Almuftah Group) (local Group 2)
The Al Biddah Mile confirmed two things: David Probert is one cool customer and Roger Teal has a 2,000 Guineas horse.
Tip Two Win was trapped in a pocket and seventh entering the short home straight. Teal, his wife Sue, and owner Anne Cowley feared the worst, but Probert knew what he was sat on and the instant the gap presented itself he put the race to bed with a devastating burst.
"I always thought he needed the mile and I just had to wait a stride for the gap but he drops down a gear and away he goes," he said.
A stride would be understating it somewhat.
"I'm gobsmacked. I didn't think he was going to do it. Even a furlong out I thought he wasn't going to do it," said a tearful Cowley. It was her pride and joy's second win in Doha, taking his Qatari earnings north of £150,000, and she added: "I was in a Burger King car-park in America watching it through a phone being held up to a laptop for his last run and I cried then, so I was always going to cry today. It's just fantastic."
Now Teal, Cowley, and, you would imagine, Probert, have two months to get excited about taking in a Classic. "We'll get home and see, but I think we might have a crack [at the 2,000 Guineas]," said the trainer. "He's such a professional and I just pinch myself. I was panicking, David was stuck in a hole but the only person that wasn't panicking was David. It was a great ride, such a wonderful day."
Dukhan Sprint (Sponsored by the Breeders' Cup)
(local Group 3)
Anne Cowley was not the only British owner for whom things got emotional as Stuart Graham, owner of the David O'Meara-trained Intisaab, did not know what to do with himself after his only horse in training picked up over £100,000 for winning the Group 3 Dukhan Sprint in nailbiting fashion.
Turning in, the local hope and last year's winner Izzthatright went to the front and kept Hugo Palmer's Gulliver pinned on the rail with no way of getting out. It looked like he'd done enough, but in the final quarter-furlong Intisaab engaged overdrive and got there bang on the line. It took a photo-finish to separate the pair. It was a third brilliant winning ride of the festival for Martin Harley.
"I'm absolutely over the moon," said a delighted Graham. "The horse deserves it. He's been unlucky with draws and today was just perfect. It was worthwhile before today, it's been the experience of a lifetime, but that makes it just a little bit better.
"We've really enjoyed ourselves, probably too much on occasions. I'm flying straight to Geneva tomorrow to go skiing so I think it'll be a rough old flight.
"David's magnificent, all the staff, they're an incredible team and I can't thank them enough. It's very emotional to be honest, we don't own lots of horses – although that might change now."
O'Meara, who is developing something of a habit of plundering six-figure pots overseas, added: "He likes a strong pace to finish off and he got that today. Martin gave him a wonderful ride.
"He might go for the all-weather finals race at Lingfield, it's worth a lot of money. I said to Stu when we got here we were going to take the dough out of Doha, they'll have to call it Aaa."
Palmer said of Gulliver: "He ran a great race and was a little unlucky. I thought he was going to do it and so did Andrea [Atzeni – jockey], but he just could not get up the inside of the leader. If he had he may have got enough of a gap to hold off David's horse but he's run well."
Final Venture was lit up by My Sharona and finished seventh, with Caspian Prince, who missed the break and never recovered in a furiously run race, 11th.
HH The Emir's Trophy (Presented by Longines)
(local Group 1)
The biggest cheer of the night went to local horse The Blue Eye, who came from behind under Harry Bentley to win the HH The Emir's Trophy for the second time.
Jassim Ghazali's 2016 winner cemented his cult status in Qatar when reeling in international raiders Noor Al Hawa for Andreas Wohler, and Chad Brown's Money Multiplier, ridden by Frankie Dettori.
"He's an absolute champion through and through and he's done so well here in recent years," said Bentley. "Winning the race twice is an incredible feat. I knew if he could bounce back, and Jassim always gets them ready on the big day, I knew he had a big chance. It's fantastic.
"I got trapped a little wide but the beauty of that is I got a clear run and he goes around here so well. This is my fifth season out here now, it's been a great place for me, and he's a serious special horse for me."
Elbereth finished best of the British and Irish raiders in fifth, with Chemical Charge in ninth and Qatari Hunter 11th.
It was a double on the card for Bentley, who also won HH The Emir's Silver Sword (sponsored by Al Hazm), on Easter De Faust.
The feature Arabian race, the local Group 1 HH The Emir's Sword, went the way of local powerhouse Julian Smart, with the Cristian Demuro-ridden Gazwan.