Umm Qarn Farms by Paul Simmons

Umm Qarn Farms are owned by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani and have combined bases in Qatar and England. The stud in Dormansland, Surrey is a well set up yard with spacious stallion paddocks to the left of the drive and young stock and mares paddocks to the right and the large well laid out barns are at the heart of the 350 acre property.

Umm Qarn UK is run by Gillian Hay who was kind enough to show me around the stud and all its many potential racing stars of the future. Gillian used to train the leading lights of Umm Qarn including Djebbel, Djelmila, Al Anood, Mutabahi, Al Hanoof and Makzan. These outstanding Arabian race horses all now form part of heart of Umm Qarn’s breeding plans. For many years I have been planning to visit Umm Qarn as it is without doubt the top Arabian racing stud in the UK. The famous maroon colours with the white stars have crossed the line first in all the major races in the UK. The Dubai Stakes (Group 1), the Hatta Stakes (Group 1) and the Zabeel Stakes (Group 1) have all been won by Umm Qarn horses first by the likes of Djebbel, Djelmila, Amer, and Makzan but more recently by homebreds like Al Anood and Mutabahi (both of whom were by Amer) and Al Hanoof (by Manganate).

Approximately half of the brood mares foal in Qatar with the rest based in the UK. Prominent mares in residence at Old Lodge Farm include Djelmila, Al Anood, Altesse D’Aroco, Adjaa D’Aroco, Pesennaia, Danie du Cassou and Massalla de Piboul.
Sadly last year Umm Qarn lost one of their best foundation mares, the straight Russian mare Geran ( by Kumir) She was of course the dam of Shaqran (by Kosmonout) who was leading 4 yr old Arab racehorse back in 1998 and the amazing Mutabahi (by Amer) who won the Zabeel Stakes (UK), the Malazgirt Trophy (Turkey) and many races in Qatar and UAE including the Bani Yas Cup (Nad Al Sheba). Geran had produced a lovely colt by Amer in 2004 and I also saw the 2003 colt Laith (also by Amer), these two boys are especially precious after the tragic death of their older full brother Mutabahi last year. It was a devastating loss to Umm Qarn and the breed as a whole, I am sure he would have been a popular choice with race breeders both here and in the UAE. Laith is a handsome well conformed colt with nice athletic limbs but it will be a tall order to live up to Mutabahi’s phenomenal reputation both here and abroad.

The stallions I was privileged to meet included the incredible Amer, who has been touted by many as the Northern Dancer of the Arabian racing world.

He is snow white with pretty little black flecks all over his body, a kind eye and of course good strong legs and a powerful set of haunches which saw him win all the major sprint races in the UK. However, a good sire is measured by the performance of his stock and once again Amer tops the lot, Mutabahi won all there was to win at Group level (including the Group 1 Zabeel Stakes) in the UK and out in the United Arab Emirates.

There is also the amazing mare Al Anood who has won 17 races, nine of which were Group level, she won both the Hatta Stakes ( 2001) and Zabeel Stakes (2002) in England and in November 2003 she won the Group 1 ADNOC National Day Gold Cup (UAE). She has now been retired to stud. There is also Nizam (Amer X Nerva Du Cassou) who won the Group 1 President’s Cup in February of this year and DAHESS, winner of the Malazgirt Trohpy in Istanbul in 2004 as well as many major races in Italy, UAE and Qatar. A new star is emerging in the shape of MUGADIR (AMER/KACHIA) who won the Qatar Derby in 2004 and the Prime Ministers Trophy in Qatar last week. If I had the money Amer would be the choice for me, he also has a wonderful temperament. I viewed many of his youngsters and although he stands just under 15 hands his stock are enormous, with long athletic legs, good round feet, powerful quarters and good fronts. The most eye catching was a 2002 colt called Al Arim (Amer X Al Wajbah), big and imposing with a real look of class. I also adored his dam Al Wajbah (Sambist X Sienna (Banat), a nice scopey unraced mare, she had a beautiful filly by Amer at foot when I saw her.

Djebbel wasn’t at Umm Qarn when I visited, he had left to do his shuttle duty at the Qatar base, so many mares so little time! However, he is to be based at Old Lodge Farm in 2005. Another stallion who completely ruled the track as a race horse, he won the Dubai Stakes (UK) and the Presidents Cup twice (Chantilly) and was renowned for his tough attitude and awesome turn of foot. Gillian says he is the biggest striding horse she has ever seen. Like Amer, Djebbel is in strong demand from Arabian race breeders in Europe and in UAE to such an extent that they have to limit his “wives”. A Djebbel colt “Rock Crystal” was sold at Goffs in France in October 2002 for 190, 000 euro’s. He is now proving himself as a sire of some note with the impressive performer Djenius (X Silky Way) in America, who has won the Arabian Cup Juvenile Stakes and more recently the highly competitive Group 1 Drinkers of the Wind Derby in USA. He has also had three winners in Europe, Sadjella (X Saffiah) Sans Souci (XGran) and Djebol (X Polonese). In addition to these his first two runners in Qatar Jassas (XJessorca) and Mayasah (XLas Enchante) are already winners. The stock I saw by Djebbel were big, strong individuals with incredibly powerful quarters and nice big deep chests.

Makzan is another sire who stands at Umm Qarn, he is more athletic and rangy than I expected and has a lot of presence. As a race horse he was of course very successful winning numerous races including the Zabeel Stakes in the UK. But it is as a sire that he is now proving himself and Pigaro (X Piroga (Aswan)) is one of his best performer to date having won two races in Holland creating a good reputation in the process as well as advertising his sires genetic prowess. From his first crop Rzoe Lute was one of the leading three year old fillies in USA and Dahman the first winner in France. Already with runners in just two seasons, Makzan is the sire of the winners of over thirty races and one of his best sons must be the 2004 Leading UK Racehorse CS Patriarch. Makzan’s stock that I saw were tall and athletic with decent conformation.

SAMBIST (Balaton X Stihia)

My favourite stallion was Sambist (Balaton X Stihia), a big beautiful Russian horse, with powerful limbs and a nice head and eye. I saw several of his stock that were in training for endurance and they were blue print versions of him, tall, pretty with sweet temperaments. Last year was Sambist’s best year as a race sire as he had his first Group winner when Juma (X Jerba Du Paon) won the Group 2 at Chester and in 2004 was a very good runner up in the Dubai International Stakes at Newbury. He also had a big handicap winner when his son Horizon (X Sky Galaxy) scorched home 12 lengths clear in the Diera Ltd Handicap on Dubai Day in 2003.

I also saw the two new boys on the block. The well bred French stallion Concord (By Dormane X Naiada Al Maury), winner of his only start in Qatar and full brother to Nez D’Or (Winner of Group 1 Kahayla Classic in UAE), Noreen (Hatta Stakes Group 1 UK heroine) and Nisaee (winner of HH Sword Apparent). A big compact stallion who had the most charming temperament. Concord is also the only son of Dormane at stud in the UK and is bound to attract plenty of interest from breeders.

The other one was the interestingly bred Dawwas (Pastor X Eudoksja) who was local bred champion several years in a row in Qatar and won scores of races including HH Heir Apparent Sword, The Emir’s Sword, the HH Heir Apparent Cup, the Ghazal Al Shaqab Plate, the HH Prime Minister’s Sword and the Qatar Derby. One of the best horses of his generation in Qatar and the best son of Pastor to go to stud (Pastor is not available at public stud which makes Dawwas a valuable source of these valuable bloodlines.

The future looks bright for Umm Qarn with such a wealth of talent as its backbone with such mares as Geran, Buka, Al Hanoof, Djelmila, Al Anood, Zreig, Adjaa D’ Aroco, Al Jowharah, Daniah and Eudoksja and of course the pick of the finest Arabian racing stallions in world.

Many of the youngstock are brought up in the UK, making full advantage of the many acres of pasture and hills available that help strengthen up young limbs. In Qatar the summer heat is too strong during the day for the horses to be turned out although the winter climate is superb and so until they reach the age of two the youngsters take advantage of the best that both farms have to offer. The results speak for themselves as to the success rate. My only disappointment is that we don’t see the Umm Qarn colours on British race tracks anymore. It would be great to see a finish with the usual blue colours of Sheikh Hamdan, the maroon of Sheikh Mohammed and the maroon and white stars of Sheikh Abdullah. The ones for the future are too numerous too mention but a few stand out on pedigree alone including Madj Al Arab (Amer X Djelmila), Laith (Amer X Geran), Al Dahma (Amer X Al Hanoof), Saqar (Makzan X Las Enchante), Uqab (Pastor X Jerba Du Paon), Emleq (Djebbel X Zreig (Amer)) and my favourite Al Arim (Amer X Al Wajbah (Sambist)).

I personally will be using Dawwas to cover my mare Jumah (Div X Samara Bint Samurai) and Sambist will cover Aliesha (Fuego X Talima). They will be covered using Artificial Insemination which is a highly successful method of breeding and means less trauma all round. Having had three foals by AI last year it is definitely the way forward.

For more information on Umm Qarn visit

Or contact Gillian Hay on 01342 870217.


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