The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) and France Galop, a symbiosis of great racing cultures
The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) represents Qatari investment in the racing world, also enabling the state to return to its roots and its traditional attachment of everything relating to the equine species.
QREC is responsible for organising and promoting Qatari racing in its own country as well as through its partnerships, contributing to strong links with the industry France and the spectacular results.
Since 2008, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and 14 other Group races in France have been under its banner. It is thanks to this important partner, that France Galop can hold the world’s richest turf race, worth €5 million.
Aside from the prestigious Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe week-end amongst others, Qatar also shows its support to a number of Purebred Arabian races in France, a sport that the state is also very attached to.
The Qatar Arabian World Cup, a race that they have sponsored since 2014 and run on the same day as the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, has seen its prize money rise to an unprecedented €1 million.
Qatar also supports a number of important race meetings in Great Britain, notably Glorious Goodwood and Champions’ Day at Ascot under QIPCO.
The members of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family have become some of the world’s most important owners, and have also turned their hand to breeding with ever-increasing success.
Longines, the “Timekeeper” of International Racing
The Swiss watchmaker Longines has been rooted in the world of sport since 1878. In France, they are currently the official timekeepers at the racecourses of Chantilly, Deauville and Longchamp. The Prix de Diane Longines, run every June at Chantilly, perfectly represents this elegant partnership, mirroring performance and precision. The Prix de l’Opera, a championship race for fillies and mares run during the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe week-end, is also sponsored by the brand.
In addition, Longines is a partner of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities and sponsors the International Classifications as well as the International Jockeys’ Championship. They are also associated with top class racing events in Australia, the UAE, Qatar, South America, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and China, as well as in the United States.
Through these partnerships, Longines is associated with the most prestigious horse racing meetings across the globe and, as a result, merits the title of the "timekeeper" of racing.
The Barriere Group, the historical partner of the Deauville Summer Meeting
Established in Deauville, the Barriere Group have become one of the most important jewels in France’s crown of hotel groups and casinos, both domestically and abroad.
Their partnership with France Galop, that has lived for the rhythm of the Normandy coast every summer since the creation of the racecourse there in 1863, is also cultural and historical. Both have contributed to the emergence of Deauville as one of the most popular seaside destinations in the world.
The Group was also the sponsor of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe between 1999 and 2007, and the links are still particularly strong. The Grand Prix de Deauville Lucien Barriere, the final highlight of the Deauville Summer Meeting and a springboard towards the Arc, perpetuates this union of two brands of recreation on the beaches of Normandy.
Juddmonte, a tribute to excellence in racing
The Juddmonte brand represents the interests of the Saudi Arabian Prince Khaled Abdullah, who owns nine studs across Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States. Created in 1977, Juddmonte has rapidly, through judicious breeding selection and purchases, become one of the most well-known enterprises in the world.
No less than 199 individual Group 1 winners have been bred by Juddmonte Farms since their first win at this level in 1980, an average of an unprecedented six per year for the Prince’s light green, white and pink colours.
Their homebred Frankel, considered the best horse to have ever raced, and unbeaten in 14 races between 2010 and 2012, has already started to make his mark at stud. He, amongst others, has ensured that Juddmonte have level a global footprint on the racing world.
In France, Juddmonte have twice won leading owner, first in 2003 and again three years later. They have won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe four times, while Flintshire most recently finished runner-up in 2014, and a year later.
After having won the Grand Prix de Paris for the first time in 2001 with Beat Hollow, Juddmonte became a sponsor of this race, that has been a foundation for French and European breeding since the inaugural running in 1863.
Now held on July 14 as part of an evening meeting, the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris is one of the most popular Parisian meetings.
Godolphin, the racing empire of the Ruler of Dubai
Created in 1981 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Godolphin is the racing and breeding empire of the Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates. The name of the racing organisation is inspired by one of the three founding fathers of the modern thoroughbred, the Godolphin Arabian (1724-1753). The stallion also represents the blood of the Purebred Arabian in today’s racehorses.
Through his entrance into the world of racing that dates back to the 1980s and his subsequent investment, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum has become one of the influential people in the world of racing. He has operations in the United States, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain and Dubai, as well as in Japan, where he became one of the first foreigners to hold an owners’ license.
Sheikh Mohammed has also made Dubai a hugely popular racing destination and has used this to market the Emirate in general by firstly creating Nad Al Sheba racecourse and then Meydan, one of the biggest in the globe where the $10 million Dubai World Cup is held each year, the richest race in the world (ce n’est plus le cas ? Celle de Stronach en janvier vaut $12m ??).
Godolphin offers the services of over 50 stallions to breeders across six different countries. Several hundred foals are born each year under their banner from their broodmare band. Most of these are then seen in the Godolphin blue colours created in 1994 by the Maktoum brothers to promote Dubai to the rest of the world. Before this, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s horses ran in his own grenade and white silks, that were first registered in 1974.
The Darley name (now merged with Godolphin) has been associated since 2006 with the Darley Prix Morny and the Darley Prix Jean Romanet as well as the Darley Prix Kergorlay (Group 2), on the same day.
Coolmore, the multinational Thoroughbred
Rare are the thoroughbred breeders in the world that don’t know the name of the Irish stud, Coolmore. Created in Ireland but now also with farms in the United States and Australia, the organisation’s origins date to the 1970s and the partnership of three men: Robert Sangster, John Magnier, and Vincent O’Brien.
The expertise, resources and ambition of these three combined that saw them buy the first offspring of the soon to be legendary stallion Northern Dancer, have changed the history of the breed. Selected and subsequently trained by O’Brien, financed by Sangster, and managed by Magnier, these gave Coolmore the firepower to quickly reach the summits of breeding and racing.
In 2016, the operation recorded a never before achieved feat in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when owning the first three home, Found, Highland Reel, and Order Of St. George all homebred offspring of their multiple times Champion Sire, Galileo, a grandson of Northern Dancer.
Having been partnered with several investors over the years, Coolmore is still managed by John Magnier, who has continually developed and evolved the operation to keep it at the forefront of the industry. Horses bred or bought by Coolmore have won nearly all the major races across the world, and their stallions are amongst those that are the most in demand across both hemispheres.
Today, Coolmore, the flagship of Irish breeding, has around 60 stallions spread between its three studs. In particular, Northern Dancer’s son Sadler’s Wells and subsequently his sons Galileo and Montjeu have continued a line that has given rise some of the best thoroughbreds in the world.
France Galop has been partnered with Coolmore since 2006, and the Pour Moi Prix Saint-Alary, part of the fillies’ triple crown run in the spring at Longchamp for the three-year-old female generation, carries the name of a stallion that will always hold a special place in the heart of the French. Winner of the Epsom Derby in 2011, this achievement came an astounding 45 years after the previous French victory in the most famous of British Classics.
Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard, taking a principal role in the Prix Jacques Le Marois
Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard, situated in the Orne, is one of the most important cradles of French breeding. It is here that Marcel Boussac bred his champions, becoming one of the most important owner-breeders in Europe from the 1920s up until the 70s. This included winning the Prix Jacques Le Marois 10 times, the summit of the summer season for milers.
In 1980, the stud came under the ownership of Stavros Niarchos, one of the most well-known Greek shipping magnates after the war. By modernising the stud but keeping with its traditions, his colours were carried to victory eight times in the Jacques Le Marois.
One of these winners, Miesque, one of the most eclectic fillies of the time, won the race in 1987 and a year later before producing some top-class stallions as well as a winner of the Jacques Le Marois herself, East Of The Moon, who went on to become an excellent broodmare herself.
The stud and the race have been closely intertwined throughout their history, with the current sponsorship of the Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard – Prix Jacques Le Marois dating back to 1986 (the oldest partnership in French racing)…
Shadwell Stud, at the top of their game
Created in 1984 by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Shadwell Stud is the breeding arm of the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance. It regroups studs in Great Britain, Ireland and the United States.
Like Darley (now Godolphin), Shadwell rapidly made its presence felt and has continued to do so at the highest levels of the racing game with thoroughbreds as well as Purebred Arabians. They stand stallions of both breeds across the world, and have also established partnerships with local breeders.
Sheikh Hamdan’s silks are carried by around 350 horses in the world, however, since the creation of Godolphin in 1994, he also has horses in partnership with his younger brother and current Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with the aim of promoting Dubai to the rest of the world.
Shadwell took over from Darley as sponsors of the Prix de la Nonette in 2011, a race for three-year-old fillies run at Deauville during the Summer Meeting. This race is often used as a preparation for the Prix Vermeille, the autumn championship race for fillies.
Latin American Racing Channel (LARC), the partner of a new world
The Latin American Racing Channel sends video footage of racing across the world and licences betting to the principal racing institutions in South America, notably Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.
Racing in these countries has changed dramatically since the interwar period under North American and European influence, not least with their breeding programme, that is continually developing.
The Latin American racing programme has been extremely favourable received by the public since Equidia, the French racing channel, started showing their racing.
In 2012, LARC became the partner of the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, one of the highlights of Deauville’s Summer Meeting.