Just The Judge didn’t just finish first in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, she also managed to pull off a significant number of firsts for her connections.
She became the first Classic winner for third-season trainer Charlie Hills and for her sire Lawman, but perhaps most importantly of all, she is the first Classic winner for Qatar Racing, the consortium which comprises Sheikh Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Thani and his brothers and owns the filly in partnership with one of racing’s established names, the Sangster family.
Under his own Pearl Bloodstock banner, Sheikh Fahad tasted Group 1 success in his first season as an owner, with Lightening Pearl’s 2011 Cheveley Park Stakes victory being swiftly followed by Dunaden’s last-gasp triumph in the Melbourne Cup. The globe-trotting Dunaden has subsequently added top-flight wins in the Hong Kong Vase and Caulfield Cup to his résumé.
At the same time as developing his racing and breeding interests, the sheikh, along with his brothers Sheikh Hamad and Sheikh Suhaim, his partners in Qatar Racing and Qatar Bloodstock, pledged significant support to British racing with the backing of the British Champions’ Series through QIPCO.
QIPCO, which stands for Qatar Investment & Projects Development Holding Company, is a private shareholding company with stakes across a range of areas, such as oil and gas, real estate and construction. Its sponsorship of British racing’s major new series from its inception in 2011 was badly needed and has been much appreciated by the industry’s stakeholders.
The effect of the family’s investment in racing prospects is felt far and wide, however, with horses in training with an array of trainers in Britain, Ireland, France and America, plus a fledgling Australian project under the Qatar Bloodstock banner.
While the team has been increasingly active at the yearling and breeze-up sales through its advisor and agent David Redvers, any horses purchased privately in training have largely remained with their existing trainers. It’s a policy which can be applauded in its rewarding of those who have done the important early work and one which this weekend will see the first German-trained runner in the Derby, following Sheikh Fahad’s purchase of Chopin, who races for Andreas Wohler’s stable.