King Shalaa (Shalaa x Baki) made a thunderous debut in the Prix du Château de Portets (maiden), racing against horses who had already racing experience at La Teste, France on Wednesday, 5 August. A little keen at first, the colt, who is owned by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani, gradually relaxed towards the rear. Entering the straight, the future winner did not have an easy passage. Jockey Olivier Peslier had to send him into middle of the track to get the opening and once he found a gap, the colt stormed to the lead. King Shalaa won by one and a half lengths ahead of Normandy Beech (Le Havre), who was having his third outing. He snatched second, by a neck just on the line, from Trust On Him (Elvstroem).
After the race, François Rohaut, King Shalaa’s trainer and breeder, commented: “He’s a colt that we have always really liked since the day he arrived. In the morning, he shows us the same talent as he did here and, although he is very green, this race was intended to give him a good education. He pulled a little at the start and then struggled to find his way in the straight, but it’s a great lesson and it confirms what we think of him. We’re not going to be in a hurry this year because he’s still a big baby. I would like to thank H.H. Sheik Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani who trusted me when I told him that I had a very nice foal to sell. He is also one of the first winners of Shalaa (Invincible Spirit), who I really like.”
Bred by his trainer, King Shalaa is now the fifth winner of the young Al Shaqab Racing sire Shalaa, who stands at Haras du Bouquetot. His dam Baki (Turtle Bowl) won two races in Vichy over 2,000m and in Deauville over 2,500m. Besides King Shalaa, she is also the dam of Waltham (Wootton Basset), winner of three races including the Prix Maurice Caillault (L).
Source: Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club