Horse racing: Sky's the limit for Bahraini filly Shahama

At three years of age, she is still a baby but one with immense potential



Bahraini filly Shahama is one of the most outstanding horses to have raced in Dubai this season. (Supplied photo)
Bahraini filly Shahama is one of the most outstanding horses to have raced in Dubai this season. (Supplied photo)

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:26 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 9:47 PM

In the realm of professional sport being able to distinguish oneself as having star quality is of great value and the hallmark of a champion.

That said, Bahraini filly Shahama may have not yet achieved star status, albeit posting three blistering victories at the 2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, but she is, without doubt, one of the most outstanding horses to have raced in Dubai this season.

In a crowded sport, where over 1,300 top-class horses have strutted their stuff across broad spectrum of races, the concept of star quality can be very subjective.

Yet Shahama has provided not just value for her owner, KHK Racing from Bahrain, but given the horse-loving nation considerable international attention.

At three years of age, she is still a baby but one with immense potential. Her jockey, the multiple-time Dutch champion Adrie De Vries, believes that the world is her oyster and is not shy to assert that she is one of the best horses he has ever ridden.

This comes from a rider who has ridden over 2,000 winners worldwide during a distinguished career which has seen him crowned 12-time champion in the Netherlands.

“There is so much to like about this horse, she gives you such a good feeling,” said De Vries, after Shahama’s authoritative three and three-quarters of a length victory in the UAE 1,000 Guineas last month.

“She has gate speed, cruising speed, and a perfect running style. You can place her anywhere you want to in a race and she’s happy. She’s a very smart filly.

“She’s won all three of her races effortlessly. And she’s still learning and improving all the time. In the UAE 1,000 Guineas learned a few things which will only hold her in good stead, going forward,” the Dutch ace added.

“She is arguably very special, one of the best fillies I have ever ridden. I’m confident she can step up in trip, and class, to contest races like the UAE Oaks, and who knows, perhaps even take on the colts in the UAE Derby, all going well.”

Indications are that the Kentucky Oaks are also are under consideration as part of her longer-term targets.

Bred by SF Bloodstock’s star stallion Munnings, Shahama is out of the Belong to Me mare Private Feeling.

Fawzi Nass, who has one of the sharpest eyes when buying horses at an auction, made a winning bid of $425,000 to secure the handsome bay at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training at Florida in 2021.

Shipped to Dubai to compete at the Carnival, Shahama made a blazing career debut on December 9 winning her maiden race by nine lengths before showing her versatility when she added win number two on a wet Meydan track on New Year’s Day in the UAE One Thousand Guineas Trial.

This despite encountering some serious traffic issues in the 11-runner contest over 1,400 metres on dirt.

Looking ahead to Friday’s UAE Oaks, where she will face just six rivals among them, Bhupat Semar’s progressive maiden scorer, Shadzai, it is pertinent to reflect on De Vries’s comment post-UAE 1,000 Guineas.

“There’s plenty left in the tank. She’s only doing what you ask her to do and I haven’t got serious with her yet.”

The Dutchman could not have sounded a more serious warning to Shahama’s rivals as his filly steps up to the plate for the fourth time in her career, aiming to add another glorious chapter to a saga that has already captured the world’s attention.


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