Frankie Dettori's Al Shaqab rides in Britain to dwindle
- Al Shaqab plan to keep most of the offspring of their breeds in a Normandy stud
- The decision means the distribution of the 170-horse operation will change
- However, adviser Harry Herbert insists the operation is not pulling out on Britain
Al Shaqab, the racing operation of Qatari Sheik Joaan Al Thani, will have a much greater focus in France next year but the Sheik’s racing adviser Harry Herbert has denied the operation was pulling out of Britain.
Sheik Joaan, who enjoyed dual Arc winner Treve, retains Frankie Dettori to ride his horses in Britain. His trainers include John Gosden, Hugo Palmer, Richard Hannon and William Haggas.
However, a plan to keep most of the offspring the Sheik breeds at his Normandy Stud in training across the Channel mean the distribution of the 170-horse operation will change.
Al Shaqab, who retain Frankie Dettori as a rider in Britain, will move their focus to France
Herbert conceded that the number of Al Shaqab horses still trained in Britain in 2018 would depend on how many yearlings the operation bought at the yearling sales.
Sheik Joaan has six stallions, including Olympic Glory, Shalaa and Toronado, at his stud, Haras De Bouquetot, in Normandy.
Herbert said: ‘The stud farm operation being in France means all the homebreds are eligible for premiums there and the broodmare numbers have increased a fair bit over the last three years.
‘It makes sense for Al Shaqab to make use of those premiums. What the ultimate number will be I don’t know until we have bought the horses this year.
Adviser Harry Herbert (centre) said the decision makes sense for the racing operation
‘This was always going to happen. When you talk of homebreds going from a handful to 50 or 60 horses that was always going to change the dynamics.’
Al Shaqab currently has around 70 in Britain and have had 42 wins this season.
They suffered disappointment when the big hope, Palmer-trained 2016 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold, was retired after being unplaced in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May.