October 2, 2013, UK ~ The curtain came down on another thrilling season of Arabian racing with an action-packed seven-race card at Hereford, held under the banner of the Arabian Racing Organization (ARO) on Saturday, 28 September.
Gill Duffield, whose Djakbar Des Forges (Akbar x Djosera Des Forges), won the opening Wathba Stud Farm Cup Maiden Stakes, retained the Champion Trainer’s title with a total of 18 wins.
The four-year-old’s success maintained H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s position as the burgeoning sport’s top owner.
Although he was without a winner in Saturday’s finale, Simon Walker topped the Champion Jockeys table with 17 wins, having finished third in last year’s competition. Rachel King took the Top Lady Rider honors.
The fixture also saw the conclusion of the Silver and Gold Series’, sponsored by the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club. The Silver Final went to Gelliwen, a 25-1 shot, trained locally by Jenny Lees, and one of the easiest winners of the day, romping home by five lengths.
In contrast, the destination of the Gold Final was only decided after a thrilling battle between Awaafi and Kiraa, the former just scraping home by a neck for Syrian owner Okbar Aashour and trainer Beverley Deutrom.
The 2013 Arabian racing season has been ARO’s busiest yet with 11 dedicated Arabian race fixtures spread across six UK courses in addition to ten individual races run on Thoroughbred race cards, including Newbury’s JLT Lockinge Day, the second stage of Newmarket’s three-day Piper-Heidsieck July Festival and Ladbrokes St Leger Day at Doncaster.
Commented Amanda Smith, ARO Racing Manager , “Saturday was a fitting climax to a fantastic ARO season, and we are extremely grateful to Arena Racing Company for allowing us to stage more than half of our meetings at Hereford this year, the continued support of the H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Festival and all our generous sponsors.”