8 May 2016, Hereford, United Kingdom ~ Local trainer Delyth Thomas stole the limelight in the first of four Wathba Stud Farm Cup race meetings to be held under the umbrella of the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival at Hereford in 2016.
Thomas saddled three of the winners in the six Purebred Arabian races on Saturday, 7 May, 2016.
Kiraa, a winner here last season and her young jockey Charlie Price got Thomas off to a flying start winning the Wathba Stallions (0-75) Handicap Stakes in a desperately close three-way photo. Price then partnered the veteran Noble Athlete to his second victory in as many meetings, when winning the Wathba Stallions (0-65) Handicap Stakes, giving the young claimer a double in the process. Thomas’s final victory came in Wathba Stud Farm Cup (0-45) Handicap Stakes with Kiraa’s daughter Kayclaire, ridden by multiple champion amateur, Simon Walker.
A thrilled Thomas said after the race: “They’re going well at the moment. Kayclaire has been so babyish, she’s starting to grow up now and to have her mother win earlier was fantastic; they were first and second here last year too. Noble Athlete is a legend; he’s just keeps getting better with age. It’s great to have the support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival as they put so much into the sport at every level.”
Thomas’s five wins put her at the top of the current Trainers Championship, tied with James Owen who won the first race on the card with Zaahy.
It was also a day of firsts with Phil Collington getting off the mark as a trainer with Hau Kola and jockey Jo Mason winning her first race under ARO rules on Alcea Rosea in the Wathba Stallions (0-95) Handicap Stakes. Fittingly it was through riding in the Festival’s HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship Series that Mason was introduced to Arabians. She came agonizingly close to winning on her first ride in the series in Houston, Texas, when she was beaten by a neck into second place earlier in 2016.
Speaking of her experience Mason commented. “Texas was close, so it’s nice to get a winner today. The filly tried her heart out, she wasn’t really firing last month at Chelmsford, so I suggested we try her in cheek pieces and she did it nicely. Hopefully I will get more rides with ARO this season. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival has given me, I love riding and I love winning!”
Amanda Smith, Racing Manager for the Arabian Racing Organisation, was delighted with the way the day had gone saying. “We had a good turnout for our opening HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival meeting at Hereford and the lovely weather has really helped too. Charlie Price riding a double just shows how important it is to support the grass-roots of the sport, as this will help him gain the necessary experience to help him progress towards his aim of becoming a professional jockey.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.
Photos by Debbie Burt