14 May 2016, UK ~ The first Pattern race of the UK Arabian racing season, the ARO Cup Group 3 PA, went to Aghsaan (Al Jakbar x Sophie Du Loup), prepared by rookie trainer Philip Collington for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In a thrilling finish, the five-year-old held on to win by one and a quarter lengths from Kao Kat MHF, with the third runner, Radames, also racing for His Highness.
The £15,000 race, the first of nine Arabian Pattern races scheduled for the UK under the Arabian Racing Organization (ARO) banner, was run over the same straight mile as the prestigious Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, a Group 1 for Thoroughbreds earlier in the card.
Aghsaan had been a course and distance winner in the Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes at Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) last July when trained by Gill Duffield. Collington took over as retained trainer for Sheikh Hamdan, along with James Owen on Duffield’s retirement last September.
Speaking after the race Collington said: “I’m very pleased with the filly. She’s been able to improve on what she showed last season, stepping up to Group 3 company today, so it’s onwards and upwards from here. There are a couple of races abroad which may suit, or the Shadwell Arabian Stallions International Stakes here next month, so we will just have to see how she comes out of the race and let the Boss decide.”
Amanda Smith ARO Racing Manager said: “I am particularly pleased for Phil Collington, he was Champion ARO Jockey five times, so to win his first Group race and also to train the third home, so early in his first season as a trainer bodes well for his future. The ten-runner line up provided a competitive field and a great showcase for Arabian racing in the UK in front of a crowd of over 13,500 people and we look forward to coming back here on the 9 June for the first of our DIAR prep races.”
Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, commented: “We have had a fantastic Al Shaqab Lockinge Day in glorious weather. I think we saw Newbury at its best today – a large crowd having a good time and enjoying top-class racing, including the Group 3 ARO Cup for Purebred Arabians, which was an excellent addition to the day.”
Image Credit – Debbie Burt -Equine Creative Media
~ end supplied report