AL SHIRA’AA Farms is a wide-ranging equine concern founded by Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan from Abu Dhabi. Its base in Ireland is at Meadow Court Stud, formerly part of Abbeville Stud, and it was purchased by its present owners in 2016.

Managed by Kieran Lalor, the farm was in the news during the past weekend as major sponsors at both Naas and Leopardstown, and also as successful breeders. Having acquired high-value bloodstock in recent years, it might be somewhat bittersweet should Ambiente Friendly go on to credit James Fanshawe and the Gredley Family with a Derby success in June.

Offered for sale through Baroda Stud as a yearling but unsold in the ring at 25,000gns, the Al Shira’aa-bred son of Gleneagles reappeared at the same venue for the Craven Breeze Up Sale last year from Ian McCarthy’s Grangecoor Farm and was sold to Freddy Tylicki Bloodstock for 80,000gns.

A debut winner at two, Ambiente Friendly proved no match for Ancient Wisdom when third in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.

On his reappearance this year he didn’t look like a classic challenger when fourth in the Listed Feilden Stakes at Newmarket, but his comprehensive victory in the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial suggests that Ambiente Friendly could be one of the major contenders for Epsom, and his current odds say that he will be well supported if he comes out of the trial well.

Shawn Dugan bought the dam of Ambiente Friendly, the Fastnet Rock (Danehill) mare Roxity, as a yearling for 320,000gns from her breeder Churchtown House Stud, and she won her only start, over 10 furlongs, at Saint-Cloud. Ambiente Friendly is her first winner. This is a female line that has been good to the Gaffney family at Churchtown House Stud for many years.


Roxity is one of nine winners from Masseera (Alzao), and while none of them are stakes winners, three have earned blacktype thanks to being placed in listed races in England, Ireland and Australia. Masseera was herself a 330,000gns yearling, purchased by John Ferguson, and four of her siblings were stakes winners, while another was stakes-placed.

That group of four’s star performer was the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Wannabe Grand (Danehill), and she was later runner-up in the Group 1 1000 Guineas. Unlike many of her siblings, however, Wannabe Grand did not produce a stakes winner. Four of her siblings did, and leading the way was the Group 3 winner Wannabe Better (Duke Of Marmalade).

In addition to her stock being very popular in the sales ring, Wannabe Better’s daughters Higher Truth (Galileo) and Lady Wannabe (Camelot) are pattern winners.

Last year, Godolphin spent $1,500,000 on Higher Truth, who had previously cost 500,000gns as a yearling. Subsequently she became a Grade 2 winner in the USA and was placed in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. Lady Wannabe (Camelot) won a Group 3 at Newmarket and listed races at Killarney and Listowel.

The Listed Galtres Stakes winner Wannabe Posh (Grand Lodge) is another of Masseera’s half-sisters, and the best of her runners to date is the Group 3 scorer Wannabe Yours (Dubawi).


What a run of success Jessica Harrington is having, and it continued at the weekend in Naas. She trains the three-year-old filly Sea The Boss (Sea The Moon) who made a winning seasonal debut in the Group 3 Al Shira’aa-sponsored Jannah Rose Stakes, and connections have the Group 1 Irish Oaks as her mid-season target.

While the €35,000 September Yearling Sale graduate holds entries in the Group 1 Tattersalls 1000 Guineas and Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, Harrington did seem to indicate afterwards that stepping up in distance to a mile-and-a-half is a more likely occurrence. Owned in partnership by John Hennessy and Carmel Acheson, Sea The Boss was sold to BBA Ireland from Universal Stud, who had acquired her for 15,000gns as a foal from her breeder Eric Cantillon, brother of Dermot.

Sea The Boss won a maiden on her debut over seven and a half furlongs at Tipperary last September as a two-year-old. She then ran a respectable fourth in the Listed Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown before finishing her two-year-old campaign in the Group 3 Staffordstown Stud Stakes at the Curragh, though her trainer now feels that perhaps she ran her back too quickly after Irish Champions Weekend.

Skins Game

A full-sister to the French three-year-old winner Air Sea (Sea The Moon), Sea The Boss is one of a pair of winners out of Shaella (Casamento), who was placed on her debut in a three-year-old bumper in England. Though she failed to win in four starts, Shaella has nine winning siblings, the best of which were the Group 3 winner Skins Game (Diktat) and the French listed winner Epatha (Highest Honor). Their unplaced half-sister Chicago Dancer (Azamour) bred Group 3 Prix du Lys victor Volkan Star (Sea The Stars).

This is a well-known female family that was developed by the Aga Khan. Shaella’s dam Mouriyana (Akarad) was bought by Dermot Cantillon in 2008 for 51,000gns, and she has some notable close relations.

Her Group 2-winning half-sister Mouramara (Kahyasi) produced the Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup winner Mourayan (Alhaarth) and the leading hurdler Mourad (Sinndar), and their stakes-placed sibling Mourasana (Shirocco) gave the family line a boost in recent years when she bred the Group 1 New Zealand Derby winner Asterix (Tavistock).

It seems that there is no end this week to the mentions one can make of His Highness the Aga Khan and his breeding empire, and here’s another.

The now gelded four-year-old Shartash is back to winning ways, and he landed his second success in as many starts for Archie Watson when winning the Listed Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock over the weekend. He might yet be a real value purchase, having cost new connections €150,000 last year at the Arqana Arc Sale.


One of the leading juveniles in Ireland two seasons ago, Shartash won the Group 2 Railway Stakes and ran third in a pair of Group 1 contests, the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes.

After his latest win, his fourth, Watson said: “He is a proper horse and we’re delighted. Gelding him has been the key, and I’ve never known more of a transformation with a horse for it. He’ll go straight to the [Group 1] Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee now.”

One of 150 stakes winners on the flat for the Irish National Stud’s Invincible Spirit (Green Desert), Shartash is the second foal and winner out of the Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) mare Shamreen. She raced 11 times and won five, three of which were group races at the Curragh. She was successful in two editions of the Group 2 Moyglare Jewels Blandford Stakes and in the Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes.