There’s nothing like your first winner in your own colours and Gary Allsopp was delighted to get off the mark in his own name at Wolverhampton today with Balqees. Ridden by Hollie Doyle the pair hung on gamely to win by a neck from Ekleel Athbah, with another Owen trained runner, Al Mahbooba in third.

Allsopp is a recent convert to Arabian racing, having taken advantage of Shadwell Arabians leasing offer last season, when adding Balqees to a number of thoroughbred syndicate options he already has and registered his colours with the Arabian Racing Organisation.

A thrilled Allsopp commented: “My wife and I are absolutely delighted. Just to be here, and then having a winner and picking up a trophy at the end of it. We’re involved in other horses, including Cachet who won the 1000 Guineas a couple of weeks ago, so that was a dream, but this for us is very special. I know things have been difficult with the sport for everybody, but I hope people will look at this and see that there’s some great racing. We’re enjoying being involved.”

Balqees and Hollie Doyle winners of the Emirates Breeders Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton ©Debbie Burt – Equine Creative Media

Owen said: “I’m pleased for Balqees, she knuckled down at the line and wasn’t stopping. Al Mahbooba ran ok, she’s going to find it easier in handicaps when she steps up in trip. I think Balqees can hold her own in better company, so she might just go to Doncaster next.”

Doyle, last years’ leading ARO jockey commented: “It’s good to ride a winner for owners new to the game. This filly seemed nice today so hopefully they can have some good days out with her. She was very straightforward, she has a nice high cruising speed and when I asked her to quicken she did.”

Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “ARO warmly congratulates the Allsopps on their first win with Balqees, it’s really great to have new owners experience the sport in the best possible way.

“We also congratulate Holly Bostock who was awarded the Best Turned out prize by Brendan Waterworth of Racing Welfare for Labwah.”

Concluding she said: “This the first of six races generously sponsored by the Emirates Breeders this season, and we’re delighted to be back at Wolverhampton racecourse who, along with the British Horseracing Authority, we thank for their assistance and support of our racing in 2022.”

Labwah and Holly Bostock winners of the Racing Welfare Best Turned Out Award ©Debbie Burt