Qatar: The new force of horse racing

Published 10:29 AM ET, Mon December 16, 2013
treve wins prix de l'arctreve wins prix de l'arc
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France celebrated home winner Treve in this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The 2013 horse of the year is owned by Qatar's Sheikh Joann al-Thani, now a big player in the racing world. FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images
Qatar has increasingly become a major player in flat horse racing, with its most high-profile presence arguably being its annual sponsorship of the the world's richest race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Sheikh Joann Al Thani, standing here in celebration with Treve, has invested both in horses and infrastructure in Europe as well as the oil-rich state of Qatar. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Olympic Glory is another of the horses in his stable, already a winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot,with his eyes also set on winning the prestigious Breeders' Cup in the U.S. Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Joann made history earlier this year when he paid a staggering five million guineas for a filly at the Tattersalls auction (the equivalent of $8.25 million) -- a world record. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The other big player in Qatar is Joann's cousin Sheikh Fahad al Thani, who founded the powerful Qatar Racing in 2011. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse
Fahad has also dug deep into his pockets to pay heftily for horses, and his jockeys ride in the colors of the Qatar Racing, claret with gold braid.