We are delighted to present an interview with CEO & founder Amer Abdulaziz of Phoenix Thoroughbreds. We talk about the rise of Phoenix, Advertise, Royal Ascot and look forward to next season…..
Can you give us a brief resume of Phoenix Racing please?
We are a innovative Equine Investment fund with the aim to return a profit to our investors on an annual basis. With this in mind, not only do we strive for success on the track but we have a big focus on the breeding side of the industry with stallions and broodmares in both hemispheres.
Although we have made the headlines for buying big at the yearling sales, we also invest just as heavily in our breeding stock. We recently partnered with Taylor Made and KatieRich Farms to acquire first season champion sire in Chile and son of Scat Daddy, Daddy Long Legs, while we’ve also been active at the Keeneland Breeding Stock sale this week.
On the track we have won a Grade/Group One’s in North America and Europe with plenty exciting prospects coming through in both countries and Australia.
You have sprung to prominence in the last couple of seasons, are you happy with the progress you have made?
We have been in operation around 18 months and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. We have had some great successes but in this game you always want more. Overall we would have to be satisfied where we are, having taken top level successes on two continents, had a Royal Ascot winner and plenty of decent winners. We have the makings of both a very good team on the track and horses that will make great stallions and broodmares in the future.
You must have been delighted with the form of the horses during the turf season in the UK?
In a way it was a bit of a breakthrough season for us with our first European Group One success. We had plenty of two-year-old winners, who should be on the path to big things next season and the win at the Royal Meeting helped cement our place among the top operations in the ownership ranks. We have a great mix of horses and we look forward to seeing what they can produce next season.
If you could pick one or two highlights from the 2018 turf season, what would they be?
Advertise winning the Phoenix Stakes has to be right up there at the top. Not only was he the first British trained horse to win the race in 21 years but the victory also gave us our first European Group One. To do that against the likes of Coolmore made it extra special as they are operation we’d liked to rival in the future.
It’s very important for the fund, as a whole, to have these horses winning these sorts of races, not just for the prize money and prestige but also for their stallion prospects. I also thought he ran really well in the Dewhurst and we’d be hopeful he can add a few more Group Ones to his CV next season.
The other highlight has to be Signora Cabello winning at Royal Ascot. In a way that victory was as important as winning a Derby. To see the Phoenix name up there with the world watching was great and really announced our arrival as a major global ownership group, in addition to really highlighting what the fund can do.
You have horses in the USA, Australia and UAE, if you could give us a horse to follow in each country, what would they be?
USA – It would have to be Dream Tree, she’s already a super star. It was frustrating that she had to miss Breeder’s Cup as we were confident she was going to win. She has a very special place in our hearts as our first Grade One winner in our first attempt and she was brilliant on her return from injury to demolish a Grade Two Field last time. She’ll win more races before we either sell her or retire her as a broodmare.
Australia: We have so many prospects in Australia it’s hard to pick one but as she’s fresh in the memory after winning on debut a couple of weeks ago let’s go for Oh Mona. Trainer David Vandyke has always loved her and she was very professional when winning at Ipswich. She has us all dreaming of big race targets and you should see her again in a couple of weeks(unplaced on Friday).
UAE: In the UAE at the moment we are looking at opportunities for our horses to travel and join the carnival. We also support Phoenix Ladies Syndicate in Dubai who have a 2/2 record with Walking Thunder and Superior.
How important are the sales to Phoenix? And what do you look for in a young horse?
The sales are key for us, not just for identifying winners but future Stallions and breeding stock. You will remember we made the headlines at Goffs this year with some big purchases but they should be solid investment options as their pedigree’s already make those fillies attractive broodmares, we’d be very hopeful they’ll win some big races first.
We have an expert team who go to every top sale. They study pedigree’s and have a really good look at every potential purchase in the flesh. We do have a few favourite bloodlines but we are always open to see what’s on offer.
You have recently started a Lady’s Racing Club, can you tell us about this and how our readers can get involved?
Phoenix Ladies Syndicate is run separately from the main fund in an effort to encourage the participation of women in racing and race horse ownership across the UAE. It was while we were setting up Phoenix Thoroughbreds we realised there as a lack of ladies involved in the sport. There are some great initiatives in other countries to bridge the gender gap and we hope PLS will go someway towards that in this region. We have 11 horses in training and currently hold 100% record of two runners and two winners.
If any ladies would like to join the Syndicate please mark an email for the attention of Pamela Cordina and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Could you give our readers a couple to follow for the 2019 flat season please?
Apart from perhaps the obvious Advertise… Kadar is a very interesting runner for us next season. We perhaps didn’t get to see him as much as we’d hoped in 2018 for differing reasons but he’s entered in all the top middle distance races next term and was a very impressive winner on his Haydock debut. Karl Burke thinks he could be very good.
Deja would be another to follow with interest. He’s two from two since joining Peter Chapple-Hyam and won at Pontefract in the manner of well handicapped horse. He should graduate out of handicaps and he remains an unexposed, progressive type.
We would like to thank Amer Abdulaziz for his time and wish them all the success for the future. We are sure we will be seeing the Phoenix colours in the Winners Enclosure a lot more in the next few seasons…
Interview – Rich Williams
Photos – Phoenix Thoroughbreds Twitter account (Except Signora Cabello File)