The National : Sheikh Mansour surveys Al Wathba Stud Farm

The Al Wathba Stud Farm in France already has a reputation as being one of the best in Normandy for breeding racehorses and plans are in hand to make it even better.

Its owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, visited the farm at the end of last week to showcase the work being done there.

Emmanuel Bodard, the breeding manager of the La Boutonniere-based farm, said: “Normandy is known for its reputation as the region’s best place for breeding race horses as well as for its excellent climate. The Al Wathba farm is one of the best in the region and the quality of the paddock at the farm is very good,” Bodard said, adding there were plans to make it even better.

“Winter in this part of the world is not too cold and summer … not too hot which is suitable for breeding horses.”

Merzal, Thaaniya and Rabbah De Carrere are three yearlings of the still-in-training Purebred Arabian racing legend Mizzna at the farm. The two fillies, Merzal and Thaaniya, are full sisters to Rabbah de Carrere from the famous sire Bibi de Carrere.

“The three children may race against their mother should the brilliant mare continue in training for the coming couple of years,” Bodard said.

Sheikh Mansour has been breeding from this farm for the past 12 years but never sells the crop.

“The farm houses top stallions including Mahabb along with his sire, Tahar De Candelon, in addition to Munjiz, Sire D’albert, Mawood, Quazar and Sarrab. All of the stallions have made their presence felt in the track before they were retired to stud,” Bodard said.

Currently, 16 yearlings are stabled at the 72.8-hectare farm.This is in addition to six two-year-olds and nine pre-training two-year-olds.

There are two tracks for the horses to stretch their legs, one all-weather and the other turf.

Maraam is the only pre-training three-year-old filly which was also born on the farm by Njewman from Ishem De L’Ardus. The two pre-training four-year-old colts are Rajwan by Tidjani from Dixie Lilly and Rabaae by TC Tomtyr from Refleksja.

The rest of the horses in the farm include Rayaan, a nine-year-old mare by Kesberoy, Dariya a six-year-old son of Dormane, Harb by Kerbella and the gelded son of Tidjani from Vermeille.

Speaking about the market prospects, Bodard said it is very promising in this part of the world.

“There’s increasing interest in the Arabian horses and the market is growing rapidly. The number of races for Purebred Arabian horses is on the rise,” he said. “The fees are reasonable and varying from one stallion to another.”