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The HH The Amir Sword Festival for 2021 has opened and popular local jockey Soufiane Saadi heads into tonight’s Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup on the highly rated Perfect Empire.

In coming off winning the Thoroughbred Classic of 2000m at Doha, the 4yo Perfect Empire was previously fourth in the Qatar Derby in December, having won the Qatar Thoroughbred Guineas.

A former duel 2yo winner for Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnson, he has made it three wins for Gassim Ghazali in Qatar and owners Al Chazali Stud, and is by the versatile stallion Holy Roman Emperor.

Challenging Soufiane Saadi is the Irish raiders Bowerman and jockey Ronan Whelan, who was a last start winner of the Dubai Diamond Stakes, a Group 3 all-weather event at Dundalk.

Trained by Adrian Mc Guinness at Lusk, and drawing barrier 13, Bowerman will also be challenged by local top-liner Dominus who last won the HH Sheikh Jooan Bin Hamad Al Thani Trophy.

Trained by Italian expatriate Stefano Ibido and his ridden by his much-travelled country man Alberto Sanna, Dominus has drawn 11, having finished second in the Barzan Cup in November.

In sitting high on the Champion Jockeys table with 30 wins this season, Soufiane Saadi took riding honours on Day 1 of the Amir Sword Festival with wins on Fuwaytit and Burano Boy.

The only jockey to ride two winners Saadi began with a ‘head’ victory in making it three-from-three on Burano Boy for trainer Gassim Ghazali, in the Thoroughbred Handicap of 2000m on turf.

The very next race he scored by a ‘neck’ in the Thoroughbred Handicap Class 3 turf event of 1600m on Tuwayit, who was formally a duel winning 2yo for Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston.

The former French 2400m winner Pedro Cara, who ran third first-up this preparation in the UMM QARN Trophy, is the mount of Soufiane in the $1m HH The Amir Trophy of 2400m.

The principal thoroughbred event of this HH The Amir Sword Festival run on the Saturday, Pedro Cara is jumping from gate 10 in for owner H.E. Sheikha Reem M K Al-Thani and trainer Gassim Ghazali.

In winning the Qatar Derby in 2019 and second in the Spanish Derby, he’s by the Phoenix Stakes winner Pedro The Great, a half-brother to2000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand.

In being presented by Longines, the HH The Amir Trophy has again attracted its main European supporter in the British trainer Andrew Balding, this year with Berkshire Rocco in a field of 10.

Second last year in both the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot and the St Leger Stakes, he’s the mount of Jason Watson from the outside 10 gate, having previously won the Noel Murless Stakes.

Sired by the Epsom Derby and Dewhurst Stakes winner Sir Percy, who was second in the 2000 Guineas, he is half-sister to Italian Gr3 winner Elisa Again, who was placed in the Premio Lydia Tesio.

The consistent Arabic Channel is the mount for Soufiane Saadi in the Duklian Sprint of 1200m on turf sponsored by the Breeders’ Cup and will jump from five in a field of nine sprinters.

However, his main opposition should come from the French sprinter Air de Valse, owned and trained by Corine Barande-Barbe, who was a two-length sixth in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.

Soufiane Saadi has the mount on the Gassim Ghazali trained maiden performer US Cliff, in the Al Biddah Mile on turf, and is jumping from the outside barrier of 12 runners.

In launching the HH The Amir Sword Festival, the QREC Chairman H.E. Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi stressed that The H.H. The Amir Sword Festival is the most prestigious and glamorous equestrian event, not only in QREC, but in Qatar in general as well.”

“The value and nature of the Festival do voice the attention paid to Qatar’s horseracing and the standing it has reached in terms of both organisation and competitions, thanks to the support from the country’s wise leadership support and their endless efforts to promote Qatar’s equestrian sport in general and horseracing in particular.”

“QREC would like to thank the sponsors who partner QREC in sponsoring the H.H. The Amir Sword Festival and the various activities and events of QREC. I seize this opportunity to thank Daam, QNB, Al Emadi Enterprises/Al Hazm, Longines and Qatar Airways for their valuable collaboration.”

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