Nazeef (right), ridden by Jim Crowley races towards the finish line to win Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at the Kempton Park.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s, UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, global Shadwell operation marked a milestone this week when Shadwell Farm, its US division, celebrated 35 years of excellence.
Nestled just off Military Pike in Lexington, Kentucky — the heart of the American equine industry — the farm has foaled and raised the likes of champion Nashwan, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee and Epsom Derby victor Erhaab, while housing such brilliant race fillies-turned-outstanding broodmares as Height of Fashion, Salsabil and Thawakib. The farm has also been the stud home to such outstanding racehorses as world champion Invasor, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil and the highest-rated sprinter of our time, Dayjur.
“Shadwell Farm was incorporated in 1984, but farm operations didn’t start until June 1, 1985,” said Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager. “What started as 350 acres of land, through His Highness Sheikh Hamdan’s guidance and leadership, quickly grew into 3,400 acres of rich, fertile Kentucky farmland.
“Over the years, Shadwell has produced countless winners, both in the US and Europe for Sheikh Hamdan, including nine classic winners,” Nichols continued. “I am proud and highly honoured to have been the general manager of Shadwell from the start. For me, it has been fantastic working with great horses and for a wonderful man.”
It was only fitting this week that a promising Shadwell Farm-bred and -raised filly won on debut when 3-year-old Shatha (by champion Muhaarar out of G1 winner Lear’s Princess) won smartly at Kempton on Wednesday afternoon.
John Gosden-trained 4-year-old filly Nazeef landed Wednesday’s Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) over the Kempton Park all-weather, becoming the highlight of a five-win day for Shadwell Racing, worldwide. Ridden to perfection and with no lack of patience by Jim Crowley, the daughter of Invincible Spirit embodied her father’s name with a determined run, overcoming a poor draw and sweeping past the field to defeat Group 1 winner Billesdon Brook by three-quarters of a length. The victory was her fourth consecutive from five starts. She was third on debut last June at Newmarket. Wednesday’s win was her first start of the season after having capped 2019 with a six-length defeat of useful filly Salayel in Newmarket handicap company on Sept. 21.
“It wasn’t a great draw, but she broke smartly and I was struggling to find position and got shuffled back on the bend,” Crowley said. “She came from off the pace on a track that has been showing that it’s hard to come from off the pace. I would have liked to have been a bit handier, but I couldn’t do anything about it. She travelled sweetly and quickened up nicely. She’s done nothing but improve from last year and become better and better. She’s a lovely big type and hopefully she’ll improve from this. I like the way she did it. She showed a really good mind.”
The excellent day kicked off in France with Francois Rohaut-conditioned Sharib, a half-brother to French Derby third Motamarris also by Invincible Spirit, winning his second race from five starts when taking a one-mile 3-year-old conditions heat at La Teste de Buch in front-running fashion under Valentin Seguy. Next, at Kempton Park, Charlie Hills-trained Shatha, a daughter of Shadwell star Muhaarar and G1 winner Lear’s Princess, won on debut over 10 furlongs, out-willing The Queen’s Lightness by a short head at odds of 66/1.
Sheikha Hissa Bint Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s colours continued Shadwell Racing’s momentum with John Gosden-trained Haqeeqy, who brought light to his name, which loosely translates into “the real deal.”
Winning the seven-furlong novice going away by 2½ lengths, the son of Lope de Vega was ridden by Dane O’Neill. Said pilot would return later to break the one-mile course record with well-regarded Maydanny, a Dubawi-sired half-brother to Elarqam, who bolted off by nearly four lengths at the finish of the handicap. Trained by Mark Johnston, it was third-time-lucky for the gelding after finishing second in both his career starts last year.
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