Al Shaqab Racing outline ambitious plan for more global operations

Organisation secure highly regarded Harry Herbert as racing manager

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad and Al-Shaqab Racing have signaled their ambition by securing Harry Herbert as racing manager. Fadi Al-Assaad / Reuters
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London// In terms of ambition, it was a vast statement of intent. The grand designs for the Al Shaqab Racing organisation, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad’s fledgling racing operation, were outlined on Friday, and they are both global and audacious, to be sure.

Sheikh Joaan plucked highly regarded Harry Herbert, the creator of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing in England, and appointed him as his racing manager.

“Our goals and objectives are to be the best racing operation in the world,” organisation spokesman Nasser Sherida Al Kaabi said. “We want the best horses, the best trainers and the best people, and the appointment of Harry is to help secure our future.”

Not content with racing in Britain and France, several horses are set to be trained in the United States next year by Todd Pletcher.

Sheikh Joaan is looking to buy a stud in Britain or Ireland to go alongside Haras de Bouquetot in Normandy, where dual Dubai World Cup runner Planteur now stands.

His bloodstock advisers, who helped him break the world record at £5.25 million (Dh31.4m) for the price of a yearling last month at Tattersalls sales, have zeroed in on the English Oaks winner Dancing Rain, who next week goes to auction in foal to Frankel.

With Frankie Dettori as his retained jockey, the Sheikh also has made moves to use the former Godolphin rider as a mentor for Qatar’s Faleh Bogunaim, 21, who has been training with Luca Cumani for five months.

The whole venture is designed to combine Sheikh Joaan’s love of racing with the promotion of Qatar, much in the same vein as his cousin Sheikh Fahad has done with his Pearl Bloodstock operation and the Qipco British Champions Series.

“One of our ambitions is to make Qatari racing more international,” Al Kaabi said. “This is part of our vision, to generate more international runners.”