Najd Stud Active at First Keeneland Appearance

Saud Al Qahtani, representative for Najd Stud | Tattersalls


Najd Stud has become increasingly active on the European sales scene for the past five years and now the operation has made its maiden voyage to American soil for the Keeneland November Sale. The Saudi Arabian breeding and racing operation of HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled Bin Abdulaziz collected a sizeable group of weanlings, plus a handful of mares and horses of racing age, to take back to Saudi Arabia.

Saud Al Qahtani, who represented Najd Stud at Keeneland throughout the auction, spoke on their decision to expand their buying presence to the U.S. and recounted his experience at Keeneland.

“It's a big market with plenty of horses,” he said. “Many of the best stallions are here in America. All of the bloodlines here are very prominent so we are here to buy some foals and some mares. We will bring them back to Saudi to race them there. I found very nice quality here–different horses for all different buyers.”

Najd Stud purchased 18 horses for a total of $1.23 million during the breeding stock portion of the sale. In addition to 16 weanlings, the operation bought Ceci Valentina (Prospective), a stakes winner in foal to Jackie's Warrior, for $115,000 and Join the Dots, a Medaglia d'Oro mare carrying her first foal by Charlatan, for $65,000.

While Najd Stud was active during Books 1 and 2, they continued their buying spree through the final days of the auction and landed on their most expensive weanling purchase during the sixth session, going to $155,000 for a May-foaled Vino Rosso colt out of a daughter of GISP Warbling (Unbridled's Song). The colt was the top-selling weanling of Book 4.

Al Qahtani said he found that the market provided plenty of quality offerings even in the later sessions for those willing to put in the research.

“When you start in Book 1, you see very good pedigrees and good quality,” he explained. “Then you start to go back to Book 3 and Book 4, you will find one horse in every hundred horses. The one I bought in Book 4 for $155,000 was a late foal, but he looks like a very good foal–very correct and a good pedigree. You always have to try and keep going until you find the one you're looking for and I think this is a good market for that.”

Phelpsy, a $170,000 purchase for Najd Stud | Keeneland

Najd Stud was also active during Friday's Horses of Racing Age Sale. They purchased Phelpsy, a 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, for $170,000. The colt out of GSP Secret Someone (A.P. Indy) was a $1 million Keeneland September yearling and he broke his maiden in his most recent start for Chad Brown on Oct. 15. They also went to $100,000 for Digitize (Maclean's Music), a 4-year-old gelding out of a half-sister to GISW Complexity (Maclean's Music) coming off two straight wins for Chad Brown.

Al Qahtani said that the purchases from both Keeneland auctions are bound for Saudi Arabia, but added that the operation has plans to start building a foundation in the U.S. as well. He said the goal is to return to Kentucky for next year's Keeneland September Sale and send some purchases to Saudi Arabia, but keep others to race in the U.S.

Prince Faisal has already found success racing here in the U.S. In 2019 he purchased Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man), a four-time graded stakes winner trained by Bob Baffert who ran second in the GI Haskell S. Mucho Gusto won his first start for Prince Faisal in the 2020 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. and went on to finish fourth in the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup.

Winning at Saudi Arabia's marquee race meet, Al Qahtani said, is an ever-present goal for Prince Faisal. Last year Najd Stud purchased dual Group 1 winner Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) for 3.6 million guineas at the Tattersalls December Mares Sales with the hopes of sending the filly to the Saudi Cup, but an unsatisfactory scope ahead of her travels to the Middle East forced her to retire early.

Prince Faisal also bought Grocer Jack (Ger) (Oasis Dream {GB}), a Group 2 winner in Germany, for 700,000gns at the 2021 Tattersalls Horses-in-Training Sale. The colt ran fifth during the Saudi Cup undercard's G3 Neom Turf Cup last year. On the same card, Prince Faisal's homebred Alnaader (KSA) (Teletext) was fourth in the G3 Al Rajhi Bank Saudi Derby.

Najd Stud is home to eight stallions, including Alnaader's sire Teletext–a son of Empire Maker bred by Juddmonte Farms that placed in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris before moving to Saudi Arabia. 140 broodmares call Najd Stud home and the operation also has five mares boarded in England.

While one key goal for Najd Stud and Prince Faisal is to one day claim the Saudi Cup, they also hope to make their mark on a global stage, perhaps following the same path as other recently successful Saudi Arabian breeders like Prince AA Faisal, whose talented homebred Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) claimed the 2021 Saudi Cup and went on to run fourth last year in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf.

“We're trying to have very good horses racing in Europe and in Saudi and here in America,” said Al Qahtani. “We have the dream that one day we will win one of those big races and we do this because our racing [in Saudi Arabia] is starting to boom really well. The Saudi Cup is one of those big races, but we also want to have a very good foundation in America and Europe.”

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