Goodwood, England// Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas powered to an emotionally-charged win in the inaugural Qatar International Stakes for Purebred Arabians here on the rolling downs of Sussex on Saturday.
Ridden with supreme confidence by Frenchman Jean-Bernard Eyquem, the grey son of Amer came through with a late thrust to deny Dutch challenger Prada T and fellow French raider Mister Ginoux in the silks of Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE.
Sir Bani Yas won the Qatar Derby last year but was without a success this season in three starts, having been trained by Elizabeth Bernard, the widow of trainer Jean-Francois Bernard who died in May.
Chocking back tears, Bernard dedicated the win to her late husband, who she was married to for 31 years.
“It is difficult to speak, but this is a big tribute to my husband,” she said. “This horse is his work. Now he is not here, but I have done exactly as he told me – I haven’t changed anything.”
The Qatar International had attracted runners from Qatar, Oman, France, and the Netherlands due to the injection of prize money that resulted in Britain’s most lucrative Purebred Arabian race being run for a purse of £400,000 (Dh 2.3 million).
The 1,600-metre race acted as the first leg of the new Qatar Triple Crown. Sir Bani Yas is being aimed at the second leg, which is the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp in October.
“I am not sure where he will go next, and I will make a decision in the next 10 days,” Bernard said. “I will let the horse tell me, but Longchamp is definitely the target.”