June 8, 2013, UK ~ A top class field is assembled for The Arabian Horse Organization Hawthorn Hill (on the Ascot Road) International Stakes on June 8th. Running for the first time as a Group 1 PA race this is the first Group race of the UK racing calendar.
The field is led by Areej, one of the top rated pure bred Arabians in the world. She is no stranger to success having won the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp two years ago. She had an unlucky run of 3rd places in the UK last year, including twice here at Newbury. Finishing behind stablemates Jaafer in an International Conditions race and Mkeefa in the Group 1 Hatta Stakes. She has had a break from racing over the winter when staying in France rather than joining the rest of the Smart stable in Qatar so will be fresh for this contest.
Stable mate Theeba also had the winter off and has not been campaigned in quite such high profile races as Areej to date. Her two UK wins coming in a maiden and restricted conditions at Nottingham last year. She proved that she has what it takes to compete in this company when finishing 5th in the UK Arabian Derby at Newmarket in 2012, having led until the final furlong. The four horses in front of her have all gone on to prove their worth in the top International races around the world.
Al Hibaab finished an impressive third in the UK Derby before running second to Rathowan here on Dubai Day. He appears to be the main UK representative. He finally broke the maiden tag at Hereford on the opening day of the UK season and followed up with an impressive win in the President of The UAE Cup at the Curragh last month. Gill Duffield also fields another Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum runner Usimir De Montegut who won the Group 2 race for 3 year olds on Dubai Day two years ago but his only other UK run was a slightly below par performance in the Group 3 sprint at Bath last September. He is entitled to have improved over the winter break.
Forgehill Cosaque was hugely progressive when last seen a few years ago. He was fourth in the UK Arabian Derby in 2011 but has seen the racecourse only a few times since including when finishing strongly to be placed fourth at The Curragh last month.
The field is completed by Ornate for The Royal Cavalry of Oman. Impressive winner of the biggest race of the year in Oman, His Majesty’s Cup, he was narrowly beaten by progressive filly Zaaqya on his only UK start last month. He should have come on well for that run and will be an interesting competitor here.
ARO are hugely grateful to The Arabian Hose Organization for their support of this prestigious race and what promises to be a fascinating contest.
~end Press Release