Maktoum brothers quinella Irish 1000 Guineas

The Maktoum brothers dominated the Irish 1000 Guineas on Sunday when Bethrah ran out a narrow winner of the Curragh classic from Anna Salai.  Jockey Pat Smullen switched Bethrah to the rails and they flashed up late to snare victory by a head.  

Bethrah (3f Marju – Reve D’Iman by Highest Honor) is trained by Dermot Weld for Sheikh Hamdan and she was given a sole outing at two when unplaced in the Goffs Million in September.  Resuming with a Limerick maiden win in April, she doubled up in the G3 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on May 9 and then progressed to a Group 1 at the Curragh on Sunday.  

It was Weld’s fourth winner of the fillies classic.  “I’m so pleased for Sheikh Hamdan,” Weld said.  “He’s been a very loyal supporter.  I’ve trained previous Group winners for him but this is our first classic winner.

“Bethrah is tough and genuine.  She’s just hard to beat and I think the best is yet to come.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her winning another Group 1 for us.”

Sheikh Mohammed had paid a late entry fee to get Dubawi filly Anna Salai into the classic after her last-start victory in the G3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp in April.  The runner-up will now head to the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

Bethrah was passed-in at the Tattersalls Foal Sale in December 2007 but made 160,000 euros (AUD 278,900) at the Goffs Yearling Sale in September 2008.  Her dam Reve D’Iman was a 1800m winner in France and she is a sister to G1 Prix Saint-Alary winner Reve D’Oscar.

Bethrah is by former shuttler Marju who was the last stallion to stand at the famous Ra Ora Stud before its final dispersal in 2001.  He was slated to stand at Collingrove Stud in 2002 but contracted a severe case of pneumonia on the flight to Australia from Ireland.

His southern stakes winners include Magnetism, Burning Sands, High Cee and Marju Snip.  The best of his European bred runners are champion mare Soviet Song and Hong Kong G1 winners Indigenous and Viva Pataca.

Marju, which means “Hope” in Arabic, is a Last Tycoon half-brother to champion mare Salsabil.  He was a G1 performer in his own right winning the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Based at Derrinstown Stud in Co. Kildare, Marju is now 22 and has been rested from stud duties this year due to a bout of laminitis.

MARJU also had a hand in Saturday’s Irish 2000 Guineas winner Canford Cliffs.  The Tagula colt is out of Marju mare Mrs Marsh.

Canford Cliffs was a six length winner of the G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and he repeated that victory with another runaway at the Curragh.  He dismissed the opposition with what UK Racing Post called this year’s most impressive three-year-old performance.

Canford Cliffs is now likely to meet his Newmarket Guineas conquerer Makfi (Dubawi) in the St James’s Palace Stakes and bookmakers have already installed him a 5-2 favourite for the Royal Ascot feature next month.  “To win a Guineas like that was something else,” assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr said.  “He’s the best we’ve ever had.”

Steinbeck (Footstepsinthesand) led home the Ballydoyle brigade in fourth spot at the Curragh.  Aidan O’Brien indicated he will also head to the St James’s Palace Stakes.