Qatari Sheikh Pays World-Record $8.3 Million for Yearling Horse

Qatar’s Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani paid a world-record 5 million guineas ($8.3 million) for a one-year-old female horse at the annual Tattersalls bloodstock auction of Europe’s top young thoroughbreds.

The yearling filly, a daughter of 2001 Epsom Derby winner Galileo, was the most expensive horse of any age sold at auction in Europe, beating the 4.6 million guineas paid in 2006 for Magical Romance, Newmarket, England-based Tattersalls said.

Nicolas de Watrigant, the agent who bought the filly on behalf of Sheikh Joaan’s Al Shaqab Racing yesterday, said she’ll be trained in France by 24-time champion trainer Andre Fabre.

“We bought her sister last year and we think she could be special, we didn’t want to miss this one,” de Watrigant said in comments on the Tattersalls website. “We didn’t expect to pay that sort of price, but Al Shaqab Racing is keen to invest.”

The guinea, which equates to 1 pound, 5 pence, was the unit of currency often paid to artists and professionals and is typically used for buying horses.

Sheikh Joaan, the son of the former Emir of Qatar, won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s richest horse race, four days ago with Treve. The unbeaten filly’s victory allowed her to emulate Zarkava’s 2008 feat of winning the French Oaks, Prix Vermeille and Arc all in the same season.

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