Stone Circle to break new ground for Bell in valuable Qatar contest

Derby-winning trainer Michael Bell is to break new ground next weekend when he has his first runner in Qatar.

Bell is targeting the 94-rated Stone Circle at the $250,000 (£191,600) Al Biddah Mile at Al Rayyan racecourse, in Doha, on February 22.

A son of No Nay Never, Stone Circle has already enjoyed one big payday when landing the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sales Stakes at the Curragh last September. He held off the Archie Watson-trained Maystar to scoop €147,500 (£122,454) in prize money.

Stone Circle, who will be racing beyond seven furlongs for the first time next weekend, faces a rematch with Maystar in Qatar. That rival landed the Al Rayyan Stakes at Doha in December.

Bell said: "We've had the Al Biddah Mile in mind for Stone Circle for some time, he shapes as if the track and the likely fast ground will suit him. He's been working nicely on the all-weather surfaces and hopefully we can enjoy a productive first trip out there.

"The in-form Andrea Atzeni – who won on him at the Curragh last year – has already been booked for the ride and I believe the horse travelled out well there on Friday."

The Al Biddah Mile is a Group 2 event run at the two-day Amir Sword Festival in Qatar which has a cash fund of $2.95 million (£2.26 million).

The race was won in 2018 by the Roger Teal-trained Tip Two Win, who then went on to finish second to Saxon Warrior in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas. Last year Global Spectrum, for Gay Kelleway, kept the good run for British trainers going.