Bayan Athbah made it three wins out of three starts since arriving in Europe this season, when winning the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup (Gr3PA), at Haydock Park racecourse today. Partnered for the first time by Tom Marquand, the mare worked her way through the field to get ahead by a neck on the line from Mazyoonah, with Abiyah Athbah a further neck behind in third. The £14,000 race was held over a mile as part of the track’s most important fixture of their Flat racing calendar, Betfair Sprint Cup Day.
Marquand who was recording his first Group winner on an Arabian commented: “It was a different experience for her today, obviously the Group race at Newbury was on a nice straight track, so she was able to win smoothly, but here, whilst a low draw can seem great, it can provide some traffic issues. There were a few strides where she just got intimidated by the other horses around her, so it felt like a bit of a learning curve for her and I’m sure she’ll be better again next time.”
He continued: “The ground was very quick, there wouldn’t be many horses that would love it like this so I think a bit more ease wouldn’t go amiss for her. It’s been nearly four years since I last rode a winner for Athbah Stud, but great to have another winner for them and fingers crossed there may be a few more.”
Trainer Phil Collington was recording his third win in the race, which was previously known as the ARO Cup, said: “It was a bit of a relief as I saw Bayan Athbah in a bit of a pocket without a clear run, but once she saw daylight she got there. She stays this trip well and she’ll get further. It’s only been three weeks since she won at Newbury, so this might have been a bit soon, but she’s still relatively inexperienced.”
Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival, said: “We congratulate the winners Athbah Stud, Phil Collington and Tom Marequand who rode a great race on Bayan Athbah. We were excited to bring Arabian racing to Haydock Park on such an important day in their racing calendar and delighted to support the Arabian Racing Organisation through the sponsorship of this race.
“We thank His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood for all their support and guidance throughout the Festival’s activities this year.”
The Festival has continued to play a significant role in the global promotion of Arabian racing and breeding since it began in 2009. It continues the efforts made by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to preserve heritage sports and equestrianism in particular, promoting Arabian horses and the UAE’s heritage around the world. Sponsoring hundreds of races over the last twelve years, from the grass roots to the highest level, these events culminate in the worlds’ richest Arabian horse race on Turf, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, a Group 1 PA run in Abu Dhabi in December.
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director said: “ARO is delighted to see Bayan Athbah progress from her recent win at Newbury, to gain another Group success here. We also congratulate Phil and Athbah Stud who have also won this race when it was held at Royal Windsor with another homebred mare, Shomoos Athbah. It is also pleasing to see Tom Marquand gain his first Arabian pattern race victory, as he had his first win in the same colours when he was an apprentice.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival who chose to support this race for the first time this year. We thank Racing Welfare for their sponsorship of the Best Turned Out Award, whose representative Gail Burton- Pye presented the prize to Zara Brooks for Mazyoonah. We also thank the British Horseracing Authority for their support and assistance and all the team at Haydock Park, for whom this was their first experience of Arabian racing at Group level.”