Sponsored by Wathba Stallions and the Royal Cavalry, The Sultanate of Oman
19 August 2018, Chelmsford City Racecourse, UK ~ The first race on the card was a 3-year-olds only contest with five of the seven runners making their racecourse debut. The two with racecourse experience Al Muthana, a winner on Tapeta earlier in the season, and Ameed, of which the last run came in the DIAR International Stakes Gr 3PA, set a pretty high standard.
In the first race, Al Muthana missed the break but was keen to use the front running tactics which seen him win at Wolverhampton and was quickly taking the field along with Ameed and Farhaa in pursuit. Turning for home nothing travelled better than Farhaa and she loomed beside stable companion Ameed with Bodour Athbah responding well for pressure in third. Farhaa and Bodour Athbah set down for a battle up the home straight pulling clear off the field. The one red flag amongst a sea of HH Sheikh Hamdan blue, Bodour Athbah found enough late on to hold Farhaa and give trainer Phil Collington a first winner with his first runner for his new owner HRH Prince Faisal bin Khalid BA Al Saud, in the hands of Charlie Jordan Price. The James Owen trained Farhaa ran an excellent race in second under Joanna Mason, Ameed third for jockey Simon Walker and Jadaayil, fourth under Antonia Peck. The race had been kindly sponsored by the Royal Cavalry of Oman and Deputy Director General Malik A Nasib and Yahya Al Mahrizi were there to represent the Royal Cavalry and present the trophies to winning connections.
Trainer Delyth Thomas’s win in the second made it a worthwhile journey from Wales. Callymay consistent throughout the season certainly benefited from first time cheek-pieces and gave Charlie Jordan Price his second winner of the day. Leading from the get go and aggressively ridden throughout they set a good pace stringing out the competition with the James Owen trained Conquer in hot pursuit. Taking the turn into the home straight Conquer under Simon Walker tried hard to come on terms but the battling Callymay wasn’t going to give up and took the line first from Conquer in second and Zayin Zamurai who took third for trainer Adam Newey and jockey James Harding.
The 3rd race a maiden saw three horses making their racecourse debut for trainer Peter Hammersley, including UK Arabian Derby entry Abiyah Athbah. But it was Thamaraat in the hands of stable jockey Will Pettis for Phil Collinton that took the spoils with the James Owen trained Tijaary second under Simon Walker. Having waited patiently Thamaraat has sat quietly in the front group as newcomer Abiyah Athbah struck for home with three furlongs to go the final furlong saw the front three come together and Thamaraat make her move over Tijaary leaving a worthy third for Abiyah Athbah who will certainly be one to watch out for in the future. It was a second win on the day for the Collington team but a first win for Thamaraat backing up her latest start at Chelmsford when a good second to recent Gr 3PA winner Tahirwah, she has looked an improved filly since she has been fitted with headgear on her last two starts, another really good effort for Tijaary but again he just found one too good.
A field of 9 went to post the fourth race The Royal Cavalry of Oman Handicap Stakes 0-80, with season winners going head to head and HH Sheikh Hamdan well represented it was no surprise to see Makhaater taking a win for the Collington team and a delighted Barry Adams back in the saddle for the first time in some while. Adams had to work hard for his win and niggled his horse into contention in the early stages – and he certainly earned his podium place. Having fought hard to get into third place, all following leader Samawaat that had set the pace from the start under Charlie Jordan Price. Tatbeeq and Antonia Peck laid down a challenge but Adams was coming up the centre and Makhaater was responding with Munawwar and Will Pettis in pursuit. The win was emphatic with Samawaat just holding on over Tatbeeq. An understandably out of breath Adams was lead into the winners enclosure by his wife, Hanna, to be greeted by the face of CCR Derek Thompson call out ‘here come the Adam’s family‘.
The most valuable on the card was held under the banner of HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival. The Wathba Stallions Handicap Stakes forms part of a global series that offers welcome support to the sports grass roots of UK Arabian racing. Pacific Athbah and Fatinah set the early pace with the two Adam Newey trained horses Vindetta and Synergy closely stalking them behind with Popsstar for trainer Sam Holdsworth with Serena Botherton aboard and Welsh raider Kayclaire for Delyth Thomas in the hands of Simon Walker. At half way Fatinah and David Turner made her bid for glory and started to string the field out but as they hit the home straight Vindetta made chase under jockey James Harding; all horses battling hard by the final furlong, as the tempo lifted Vindetta responded well hitting the front with a well-timed run closely followed by a very fast finishing Kayclare that put up a strong challenge but was unable to overturn the determination of both Vindetta and her jockey James Harding. A thrilling finish and a well-deserved win for a delighted Adam Newey and owners The Almost All Partnership. Kayclaire lost nothing in defeat and whilst disappointed her trainer Delyth Thomas was delighted with her performance and the same was said for Yeucel Mehmets Fatinah, third.
Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival was in attendance at Chelmsford City Racecourse to present the prizes to delighted winning connections stated how important it was to support the trainers at this level.
The quality came in the form of the 6th race, with six going to post. Anfaas a winner at Chepstow earlier this year and placed in all 3 starts since took the win for the Collington team making it four on the day and a treble for Charlie Jordan Price. James Owen had the frustration of another second place after massive efforts from Antonia Peck and the wonderfully consistent Emiraaty who had done everything they could to break the duck for the Owen team. Azwaan was third for the Owen team and a surprising fourth place for the Ishfaq who has been running in pattern company, his latest in a Group 1PA.
The finale saw a few thrills and spills before they even came under starters orders with Zayin Activist living up to his name and withdrawn at the start. Once off though it was more of a thrill than the latter and a well-run race saw My Boy Sam take the win for a relieved James Owen and the James Owen Racing Club who were celebrating in the paddock before the horse even arrived in the winner’s enclosure. Taer Al Hurr putting up a great fight ran very well into second for Yeucel Mehmet, the headgear change seen a dramatic return to form for the 13 year old and the Claire Taylor trained Paulowina took third for the BXPS Partners, a great conclusion to a good days racing.
Our thanks to sponsors Wathba Stallions and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, the Royal Cavalry of Oman and to Chelmsford City racecourse and their team for yet another fabulous day and finally to Derek Thompson and Gary Capewell for their fantastic links and commentary.
Willie McFarland ARO Operations said afterwards “ARO is extremely grateful for the continued patronage of Lara Sawaya, Wathba Stallions and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and the Royal Cavalry of Oman both sponsors offers huge support to UK Arabian racing. We enjoyed a great day of Arabian racing at Chelmsford City, a track that has offered immeasurable backing to ARO throughout the season. It was a fitting finale for the Royal Cavalry as this meeting saw the last two races sponsored by them this season, and what a season it has been they have shown immense generosity and also enjoyed their best season to date on the track too.”
He previewed the next big race day: “We are also incredibly excited to be ending the ARO turf season with the highly valued and prestigious HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Group 1 PA) a race with a Prize Fund of £80,000 which will be held at Royal Windsor Racecourse on Monday 15th October; this is an amazing way to finish a great years UK racing on the turf and we are very grateful to HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival for their generosity“.