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It’s Newmarket trainer Charlie Fellowes who exits the chills of British winter and heads to the Persian Gulf with a strong team to contest the $1.37m Qatar International Derby Festival.

The Qatar Derby Festival is the country’s second international carnival, and Charlie Fellowes has Bottom Bay as highly fancied in the $500,000 Qatar Derby on Sunday 20 December.

In drawing barrier 7, Charlie Fellowes will have the services of French-Qatar based jockey Soufiane Saadi, who won the Al Rayyan Breeders’ Cup at the principal HH The Amir Festival in February.

Owned by Khalifa Bin Sheail Al Kuwari, Bottom Bay has won twice over 8½ furlongs at Beverley this year, and is the immediate family of Epsom and Irish Oaks winner Sariska.

Bred by Lady Bamford, and by the versatile Oasis Dream, Bottom Bay is also closely related to the Pivotal sire Eagle Top, winner of the King Edward VII Stakes, the ‘Ascot Derby.’

Run over 2000m on turf at the Al Rayyan Racecourse in Doha the Qatar International Derby has attracted 15 starters with Newmarket trainer Hilal Kobeissi’s Happy Bere jumping from gate 2.

Racing in the purple and gold colours of Al Jasra Stud and to be ridden by Italy-Qatar based Ivan Rossi, Happy Bere is a 2yo stakes winner sired by the Phoenix Stakes winner Pedro The Great.

In being a true International event, it was a European finish last year with the Mauricio Delcher Sanchez trained Pedro Cara, ridden by Tony Piccone, defeating the British raider Bangkok.

Pedro Cara retuned to Doha in February to run third in Qatar’s principal event the HH The Amir Trophy, and recently for new trainer Michael Motion contested the Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga.

Earlier last year Pedro Cara ran second in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes of 1½m on turf at Belmont Park, again ridden by Tony Piccone for Mauricio Delcher Sanchez.

In rounding out a true Qatar Derby Day, the Qatar Purebred Arabian Derby for 4YO’s will be run over 2000m on turf and the Qatar Purebred Arabian Derby for 3YO’s over 1600m.

Charlie Fellowes also has two juveniles in Saturday’s Al Rayyan Stakes for 2yo’s over 1400m on turf, with the Jason Watson mount Devious Company rated ‘the one to beat.’

In drawing gate 9 and carrying 58kg, he twice won over 7f at Haydock in his first two starts, and next ran second in the Superlative Stakes and Vintage Stakes, both at Group 2.

In also running second in the €320,000 Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes at his next start, he was a £45,000 graduate of the 2019 UK Premier Yearling Sale, offered by Owenstown Stud.

A half-brother to three stakes performers, Devious Company is the family of young stallion Marmelo, who ran second in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, and is by the Godolphin sire Fast Company.

In jumping from gate 14 in a Al Rayyan field of 16 runners is Charlie Fellowes filly Choice And Chance, carrying 56kg and to ridden by German based Mario Casamento.

In being a Fairyhouse 6f winner, she is by top-line sprinter Muhaarar and is from the family of outstanding racehorse and sires Machiavellian and Exit To Nowhere, Denebola, Formalhaut.

In addition, this Saturday meeting has the Qatar Oaks of 2000m for Thoroughbred 3yo fillies, the Qatar Oaks for 4yo Purebred Arabian at 2000m and a 3yo Purebred Arabian Qatar Oaks of 1600m.

In Britain’s ‘wonder girl’ Hollie Doyle winning last year’s Al Rayyan Stakes on Maystar for trainer Archie Watson, the stable returned in February to contest the Al Biddah Mile, before winning the listed Prix Moonlight Cloud at Deauville.

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