It was the third Kahayla Classic success for Qatar based trainer Julian Smart and the second for owner H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani. The first victory for Qatar came when H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Jaafer (GB), trained by Smart captured the 2010 Kahayla Classic.
Bred by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani's Al Shahania Stud, the five-year-old entire by Burning Sand (US) out of Ba’scherit (FR), only received an invitation to run in the 2000m Group 1 for Purebred Arabians a week before the event.
Reda had campaigned successfully on turf both in Qatar and France, but due to an injury suffered enroute to France last year, Reda had an indifferent summer campaign. It took Smart and his team some months to get the colt competitive again.
“We had some great work done by a chiropractor in Dubai and also in Doha,” explained Smart.
“He has been in great form this year in Doha, but he had not run on dirt before. We ran him a couple of weeks ago in a Conditions race over 1700m to see if he could handle it and he won comfortably,” he added.
Earlier during the week Smart was confident that Reda would be competitive, but was unsure as to whether the colt would handle the kickback that was inevitable with his come-from-behind running style.
As expected, Harry Bentley dropped Reda out and he travelled towards the rear of the field led by the favourite AF Mathmoon (UAE), followed closely by TM Thunder Struck (USA) and Loraa (FR). Turning into the straight, with Mathmoon tiring on the heavy track, RB Burn (US) surged forward and looked to have the race in the bag. Bentley however, had been patiently waiting. With 400m to go, he unleashed Reda from the back and within a couple of strides the colt caught RB Burn and flew past unchallenged.
“For the amount of kickback he was getting he faced it brilliantly. I was quite a long way back. He just kept persevering. He was full of running and it was just a matter of when he’d get there,” said Bentley.
“He was a horse that was really improving and I’d liked him a lot last year, but he disappointed during the summer. He’s really come of age and matured a lot”, he added.
“I didn’t think anything could come from the back on this track,” said a jubilent Smart. “But I tell you what, he is an underrated horse. We only got the invitation last Saturday and am I glad we did!
RB Burn (Gerald Avranche), winner of the recent AED 500,000 Gr. 1 Liwa Oasis, hung on for second, while the French trained Sniper De Monlau (FR) and Pat Cosgrave finished in third. Handassa, one of the race favourites with Dane O’Neill in the saddle, did not appreciate the kickback nor the sealed track, only managing fourth. While Umm Qarn's TM Thunder Struck under Olivier Peslier, winner of Qatar International Cup (Gr1 PA) in February, finished in fifth.