Al Shaqab Expansion Includes New Racing Advisor, Plans for U.S. String
Qatari Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani has appointed Harry Herbert, founder of the successful British racing syndicate Highclere, as racing advisor of his high-powered global string of Thoroughbreds that could have a growing presence in the United States.
The appointment of Herbert, who will manage the Al Shaqab Racing operation from his Berkshire, England, offices, was announced Friday in a statement and subsequent press conference, at which it was revealed several horses will be placed with leading American trainer Todd Pletcher in 2014.
The relatively new stable of the Qatari sheikh already can claim major success with victories by Arc de Triomphe winner Treve at Longchamp in France and Olympic Glory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in England.
“We are delighted that Harry has joined our team as Racing Advisor to Al Shaqab Racing with immediate effect and we are very much looking forward to working with him,” the statement read. “Harry is one of the most high profile figures in European racing and has enjoyed great success with his syndicate ownership company, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, which we hope and know will continue. His years of experience will help us to fulfill our aspirations for Al Shaqab Racing internationally and to achieve our goals and objectives in the sport.
“We have a long term vision in terms of our breeding program and we purchase our thoroughbreds very carefully in order to try to achieve our desire to be one of the leading forces in thoroughbred racing.
“We take advice from many experienced people, both Qataris & non Qataris, which we are proud of. There has been much speculation about purchase prices that is simply not true which is frustrating.”
Sheikh Joaan paid a record $8.3 million for a yearling filly by Galileo earlier this year at Tattersalls in England and more recently purchased two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's November Sale for $2.7 million. He is a son of the former Emir of Qatar, the world's wealthiest country based on per capita gross domestic product. It has massive reserves of oil and natural gas.