Filly ramps up Emirates Park's European adventure

6 min read
As Emirates Park looks to build its global footprint, it has unearthed a leading contender for the G1 Investec Oaks in the Frankel (GB) filly Mehdaayih (GB), who romped to a 4.5l win in the Listed Cheshire Oaks at Chester on Wednesday.

His Excellency Nasser Lootah re-entered the buying market in Europe in 2016 after a 20-year hiatus with plans to build a small and elite broodmare band to be managed through Adrian O'Brien at Hazelwood Bloodstock in Newmarket.

Among them is G1 Golden Slipper winner Mossfun (Mossman), who was sent there two years ago and has produced a colt and a filly by Frankel in the past two years.

Emirates Park purchased the Rabbah Bloodstock-bred Mehdaayih (Frankel {GB}) as a weanling and under the guidance of champion trainer John Gosden she had three starts as a 2-year-old, winning at her third appearance at Great Yarmouth last October.

At her first 3-year-old start, she thrashed her only rival in a fillies' handicap at Chelmsford by 14 lengths before stepping up to stakes company at Chester in one of the traditional Classic trials.

"She was a filly that the boss acquired as a weanling," Emirates Park's General Manager Bryan Carlson told TDN AusNZ.

"She had a few starts and she's really stepped up to the plate. Last start, she was only in a two-horse race, but she won very impressively. We thought she'd run a good race last night, but she turned up better than we thought."

'Better than we thought' is one way to describe the stunning victory from Mehdaayih, having been sat just off the pace before being unleashed by jockey Robert Havlin at the top of the straight powering her way into second favouritism for the Investec Oaks on May 31.

"We thought she'd run a good race last night, but she turned up better than we thought." - Emirates Park General Manager, Bryan Carlson

"She didn’t jump that well, but she got a good position through the centre part of the race and had it quite easy and then she showed a great turn of foot. In the end it was a soft win and it shows that there is still plenty more in the tank," Carlson said.

"Talking to John Gosden last night, if she pulls up well the next couple of days, we will probably supplement her for the Oaks."

Mehdaayih winning the Cheshire Oaks for trainer John Gosden

A shot with a leading contender in one of the Classics would be a big deal for Emirates Park's plans in Europe.

"I think it's a big thing. Nasser Lootah, the founder of Emirates Park, his aim is to race at the top, especially in Europe and to have those top-class fillies, it has a big impact for us," he said.

Dam suddenly in big demand

It’s also big impact for Victorian-based Rosemont Stud, who purchased Mehdaayih's dam, Sayyedati Symphony (USA) (Gone West {USA}) for just 8000 euros at the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale in Ireland last year.

Rosemont Stud's Anthony Mithen confirmed to RSN that he had already been in contact with studs in the UK and Ireland, who were looking to buy Sayyedati Symphony who recently arrived in Australia.

"She was a strong candidate to go to Shamus Award and breed another classic horse," Mithen said. "I've already had offers from UK agents, looking to get her back to there."

Carlson said it was a great buy for Rosemont, especially given Sayyedati Symphony is herself out of the champion mare Sayyedati (GB) (Shadeed {USA}), who was a five-time Group 1 winner in the UK, Ireland and France.

Sayyedati Symphony is a strong candidate for Rosemont's newest resident stallion, Shamus Award

"I spoke to Mitho after her last win and found out she was here. It’s a very good family. She's a granddaughter of a great racehorse called Sayyadati, and it’s a good pick up for them," Carlson said.

In time, Mehdaayih looks an ideal candidate to join the select Emirates Park Northern Hemisphere broodmare band of around eight at Hazelwood Bloodstock.

New acquisition back on the plane

Also set to join that group is an imported mare that Emirates Park purchased at the recent Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale, Tideflow (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), for $160,000.

She is an unraced daughter of River Street (GB) (Machiavellian {USA}), a full sister to Street Cry (Ire), which is also the family of Shamardal (USA) and a host of other Group 1 winners.

"She's is very well-related and she will more than likely go back to Europe. We've got seven or eight broodmares back there and she'll more than likely join that group," Carlson said.

"We've got some lovely foals on the ground up there that will race this year as well. We won't race big numbers up there, but they will be quality."

Tideflow, a recent $160,000 purchase from the Inglis Broodmare & Weanling Sale

Refreshing the band

Back in Australia, Emirates Park will offer 15 broodmares at the upcoming Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale as part of its annual reduction in anticipation of new arrivals from retired racing stock.

"Over the next few years, we'll look to increase the quality of those mares we sell. That's the state of our broodmare band at the moment, we’ve got some good fillies coming off the track. Estijaab (Snitzel) will probably go to stud this year along with Shumookh (Dream Ahead {USA}) and a few other black-type fillies."

Carlson said Emirates Park will only be involved as a buyer on the Gold Coast for the right mare, while it is also offering 10 of last year's foals at the National Weanling Sale which kicks off the sales series on May 22.

G1 Golden Slipper Estijaab is likely to head to stud this year

On the track, Emirates Park has a couple of runners engaged in stakes races this weekend, including Tell Me (Choisir) in the race it sponsors, the Listed Emirates Park Denise's Joy S. at Scone on Saturday.

"It was a coincidence that she ended up in that race. She is placed right and we happen to be the sponsor," Carlson said. "She's a tough filly, she tries her hardest and I think she's a good chance on Saturday."

The Emirates Park bred and part-owned Vega One (Lope De Vega {Ire}) contests the Listed Suez Queensland Day S. at Doomben on Saturday.