Sweet Success For Sanna, Whyte In Amir Trophy

Russian Emperor | Courtesy QREC

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Alberto Sanna had twice previously won Qatar's biggest and richest race, the HH The Amir Trophy, but he could not contain his emotions after putting a perfect steer on former Ballydoyle inmate and now Hong Kong-based Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) to take Saturday's US$2.5-million event in Doha.

Sanna was himself part of the ultra-competitive collection of riders in Hong Kong for two seasons, but managed a strike rate of just 4.6%. To make matters worse, he was handed a 10-meeting suspension in late 2019 and his Hong Kong license was stripped not long after winning in Group 3 company.

“For nine months after that I didn't ride, I didn't even think about horses,” Sanna recently told Asian Racing Report's David Morgan. “I became heavy, I think I was 72 kilos (158 pounds) and it was the time of Covid. I was quite depressed because I had given my whole self to doing well in Hong Kong and I got cut off at the wrong time: I was doing well, I was fit. I had ridden nine winners by the beginning of November, so I was winning, I won the Ladies' Purse, I was doing alright.”

Since then, Sanna has experienced a renaissance in the desert, as he has been at or near the top of the local jockeys' standings, and it was a no-brainer for Douglas Whyte, the former legendary jockey turned successful trainer, to book Sanna for the Amir Trophy.

“It's the first time I've travelled a horse abroad,” the 'Durban Demon' told Gina Bryce following the victory. “I'm only new to the training ranks, but [Russian Emperor's] a special horse for me. I've won two Group 1 races with him in Hong Kong, and I thought he was the right horse to travel with temperament wise. I must say he's really blossomed since he's landed in Qatar.”

Settled towards the rear with only two rivals behind for the opening 1800-metres, Sanna swung the 6-year-old out into the clear approaching the stretch and appeared to be going ominously well. He tanked to the front with a furlong to travel and had enough in the dying strides to hold off the progressive Warren Point (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), an impressive winner in listed company in Bahrain earlier this month, who was locked away at a crucial stage and attacked the line to just miss. Commonly owned stablemates Bolthole (Ire) (Free Eagle {Ire}) and Inverness (Ire) (Highland Reel {Ire}) rounded out the minors.

Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) attended the pace before weakening into fifth, while Hong Kong's Senor Toba (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}) finished a midfield seventh for former local champion jockey Harry Bentley. Stone Age (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) failed to land a blow and trailed in.

Russian Emperor, winner of Royal Ascot's G3 Hampton Court S., was a narrowly beaten second in the 2021 BMW Hong Kong Derby and had since won the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup over 10 furlongs and the G1 Champions and Chater Cup going Saturday's trip. He  holds an entry for the G1 Longines Sheema Classic at Meydan Mar. 25. The gelding is one of two winners out of his champion four-time Group 1 winning dam, who died in August 2020 just days after foaling a Justify colt now named Marvillas (Aus), an A$240,000 Inglis Easter yearling purchase who is currently spelling for trainer Annabel Neasham.

In the afternoon's other marquee events, Order of Australia (Ire) (Australia {GB}) was given a perfect ride from the front by Ryan Moore to scoop the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup (1600m); the John and Thady Gosden-trained Alzahir (Fr) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) outfinished the filly Kerindia (Ire) (Cotai Glory {GB}) in the age-restricted Al Rayyan Mile; and Flaming Rib (Ire) (Ribchester {Ire}) outdueled two-time defending champion Taxiwala (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) with Oisin Murphy at the controls in the Dukhan Sprint.

Saturday's Results:
HH THE AMIR TROPHY (Qat-G1)-Listed, $2,500,000, Al Rayyan, 2-18, 3yo/up, 2400mT, 2:25.46, gd.
1–RUSSIAN EMPEROR (IRE), 128, g, 6, Galileo (Ire)–Atlantic Jewel (Aus) (Ch. 3yo Filly, Ch. Older Mare & MG1SW-Aus, $1,559,748), by Fastnet Rock (Aus). O-Mike Cheung Shun Ching; B-Coolmore, Lauri Macri & Partners; T-Douglas Whyte; J-Alberto Sanna; $1,425,000. Lifetime Record: MG1SW-HK, GSW-Eng, GSP-Ire, 25-5-4-3, $5,273,661.
2–Warren Point (GB), 126, g, 4, Dubawi (Ire)–Gaterie, by Dubai Destination. O/B-Godolphin; T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buic; $550,000.
3–Bolthole (Ire), 126, c, 4, Free Eagle (Ire)–Weekend Getaway (Ire), by Acclamation (GB). (€12,000 Ylg '20 GOFFEB; 19,000gns RNA Ylg '20 TATOCT; 130,000gns HRA '22 TATAUT). O-Wathnan Racing; B-Patrick M Ryan; T-Alban de Mieulle; J-Ronan Thomas; $275,000.
Margins: HF, HF, SHD.
Also Ran: Inverness (Ire), Broome (Ire), Mutabahi (Fr), Senor Toba (Aus), Romagna Mia (GB), Riocorvo (Ger), In The Night (Ire), Hellenistique (Ire), Stone Age (Ire).

 

 

IRISH THOROUGHBRED MARKETING CUP (Qat-G2, NBT), $500,000, Al Rayyan, 2-18, 3yo/up, 1600mT, 1:33.86, gd.
1–ORDER OF AUSTRALIA (IRE), 128, h, 6, Australia (GB)–Senta's Dream (GB), by Danehill. O-Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Mrs A M O'Brien; B-Whisperview Trading Ltd; T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Ryan Moore; $285,000. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 3yo & 4yo-Ire at 7-9.5f, GISW-US, MGSW-Ire, MG1SP-Fr, G1SP-Eng, $2,255,516. *1/2 to Iridessa (Ire) (Ruler of The World {Ire}), MG1SW-Ire, G1SW-Eng, GISW-US, $1,988,198; and Santa Barbara (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), MGISW-US, G1SP-Ire, $731,938.
2–Band Width (Ire), 128, g, 4, Gutaifan (Ire)–Party Whip (Ire), by Whipper. (£22,000 Ylg '20 GOFSEP; 60,000gns HRA '22 TATAUT). O-Wathnan Racing; B-Bridgetown Stud; T-Alban de Mieulle; J-Mickael Barzalona; $110,000.
3–Conflict (Ire), 128, c, 4, No Nay Never–Sound of Guns (GB), by Acclamation (GB). (90,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT; €255,200 2yo '21 ARQMAY; £52,500 HRA '22 TATAUG). O-51 East Racing; B-Ballylinch Stud; T-Wasim Al Sahn; J-Maxime Guyon; $55,000.
Margins: HF, HD, HF.

 

 

AL RAYYAN MILE (Qat-G2, NBT), $400,000, Al Rayyan, 2-18, 3yo, 1600mT, 1:33.83, gd.
1–ALZAHIR (FR), 128, g, 3, Sea The Stars (Ire)–Cup Cake (Ire), by Singspiel (Ire). (200,000gns Ylg '21 TATOCT). O-Al Wasmiyah Stud, G Bailey, N Wrigley; B-Al Wasmiyah Stud; T-John & Thady Gosden; J-Andrea Atzeni; $228,000. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-0, $234,758. *1/2 to Suedois (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), GISW-US, GSW & G1SP-Eng & Fr, GSW-Ire, SP-UAE, $1,983,778; and Kadapul (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}), Hwt. Older Mare-Qat.
2–Kerindia (Ire), 123, f, 3, Cotai Glory (GB)–Coursing (GB), by Kyllachy (GB). (£24,000 Ylg '21 TATSEP; 65,000gns 2yo '22 TATAPR; 145,000 2yo '22 TATNOV). O-Injaaz Stud; B-Rossenarra Stud; T-Zuhair Mohsen; J-Jim Crowley; $88,000.
3–Ocean Vision (Ire), 128, c, 3, U S Navy Flag–Balaagha, by Mr. Greeley. O-J Kirkland & Mrs G Ryan; B-Mighty Universe Limited; T-Tim Donworth; J-Maxime Guyon; $44,000.
Margins: HD, 3/4, 3/4. VIDEO

 

 

DUKHAN SPRINT (Sponsored by Breeders' Cup) (Qat-G3, NBT), $400,000, Al Rayyan, 2-18, 3yo, 1200mT, 1:08.56, gd.
1–FLAMING RIB (IRE), 128, c, 4, Ribchester (Ire)–Suddenly (Ger), by Excelebration (Ire). (€40,000 Wlg '19 GOFNOV; 25,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT). O-Dale Dolan Dooley Owen; B-Kildaragh Stud; T-Hugo Palmer; J-Oisin Murphy; $228,000. Lifetime Record: SW & G1SP-Eng, 17-7-3-2, $554,275.
2–Taxiwala (Ire), 128, g, 6, Holy Roman Emperor (Ire)–It's True (Ire), by Kheleyf. (€105,000 Wlg '17 GOFNOV; 50,000gns Ylg '18 TATOCT; 10,000gns HRA '19 TATAUT). O-Eng Osama Omer E Al-Fafea; B-River Downs Stud; T-Osama Al-Dafea; J-Ronan Thomas; $88,000.
3–Monsieur Noir (GB), 128, g, 7, Shamardal–Night Frolic (GB), by Night Shift. (500,000gns Ylg '17 TATOCT; 75,000gns HRA '19 TATAUT). O-Wathnan Racing; B-Highclere Stud & Floors Farming; T-Alban de Mieulle; J-Mickael Barzalona; $44,000.
Margins: 3/4, 2 HF. VIDEO

 

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