19 June 2017, UK ~ The Arabian Racing Organisation’s (ARO) third full fixture of the UK Arabian season at Wolverhampton on Saturday, 17 June 2017, saw doubles for trainers James Owen and Phil Collington, as well as jockeys Simon Walker and Will Pettis. Owen also had four seconds which puts him ahead of Phil Collington in the Trainer Championship, though they both have eight winners apiece. There were also first wins for jockeys Ciaran Jones and Jessica Cooley and a first homebred winner for Owens’ parents in the Heritage Arabian Racing Club (HARC) maiden.
Owen scored with French import Dolfina D’Ibos in the Reg Smith, Kingdom of Bahrain (0-50) Handicap under Cooley and later in the card with Insignia. Insignia also formed the second leg of Walker’s double, as he had won the restricted maiden with Lou Raynal (another Arqana purchase), owned and trained by Beverley Deutrom.
Speaking afterwards Owen said: “Great to get a win with Dolfina D’Ibos that I bought at the Arqana sale last September. We’ve changed her routine and she’s in the right grade now. It’s also good for Jess, she had a few placed rides for Gill Duffield, but this is her first win on an Arabian. She gets on well with her and is good value for her 5lb. Dolfina D’Ibos will go to Chepstow in a week’s time and Jess will keep the ride.
“It’s lovely to train a winner for my parents and Insignia is the first winner they’ve bred. He should win again and these HARC races are ideal for him. Depending on the handicapper, he could go to Chelmsford or Bath next month. As for the four seconds, it’s frustrating, but the horses are running well and they all got beaten by better horses.”
Collington’s wins came with Mith’haf Athbah in the Arabian Racehorse Magazine Maiden and Halib Des Forges in the 0-95 handicap, the feature race of the day, both ridden by stable jockey Pettis.
Abdul Moniem Ahmed, Technical Manager for Athbah Stud, was present to witness Mith’haf Athbah’s win saying: “That was an impressive performance from Mith’haf Athbah, I was so delighted to see him come back so strongly on his return to Europe and to regain his confidence after his last two runs in Group 1 company. He is an honest horse that would give his soul to win, which I admire and respect. Most significantly I was so pleased for his proud owner and breeder HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Ahmed, to see his plans come to fruition on the racetrack.”
Collington was happy with the way Mith’haf Athbah had won saying: “There are lots of options available now and he is a Group class horse without a Group penalty.”
Of Halib Des Forges, his winner for HH Sheikh Hamdan he said: “It was a confidence booster for him too, as he’s been working well at home, he just needed to get his head in front and we hope to build on that now. Dubai International Arabian Races will be next for him, we just have to decide on which race – he got the mile and a half well, but does show a lot of speed.”
There was also another win for Ellie Mackenzie,Racing Welfare’s Arabian Jockey Ambassador this season. She clinched victory in a photo finish on Gelliwen trained by Jenny Lees for HH Sheikha Maryam bint Maktoum Al Maktoum. MacKenzie was delighted saying: “She’s just a fantastic mare, so tough; she’s a joy to ride. It’s great to have another win, helping to publicise the work of Racing Welfare. I have been speaking to Rachel Cawley there about what we can do at our next ARO meeting to promote them further.”
Recording a hat-trick since his return to the UK was the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s Tameh, ridden by David Turner. The Said Bin Bati Al Badi-trained colt is clearly still ahead of the handicapper and he feels the colt is suited by the mile trip and All Weather surfaces and will step him up in class again next time.
ARO Racing Operations Executive Gemma Cobb commented: “Arabian racing keeps going from strength to strength in the UK this season. It was fantastic to see horses of the calibre of Mith’haf Athbah running here today, balanced with the win of the Owens’ homebred Insignia, which demonstrates we cater for all levels of competition.
“ARO is also delighted for Ciaran Jones riding his first ever winner on Taer Al Hurr and for Jessica Cooley. Though Jessica has had a couple of wins under rules, the opportunities for amateur riders is limited on the Flat and Arabian racing can provide valuable experience for young jockeys trying to progress their careers. The success of three former ARO Champion Lady jockeys in recent weeks underlines this. Included are Rachel King’s Listed win in Australia for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Page Fuller winning this seasons’ National Hunt Lady Amateur’s Championship, and Joanna Mason’s win in the Queen Mother’s Cup at York on Saturday.”
“We thank the team at Wolverhampton for all their hard work on a very hot day and to our sponsors, the Heritage Arabian Racing Club, Amanda Smith Photography and the Arabian Racehorse Magazine for their support.
Coming up in the next few weeks we have three single races, one at Chepstow and two at Newbury, before our next full fixture at Chelmsford City on Saturday 15 July,” finished Cobb.
Photos and Text: Debbie Burt, Equine creative media