The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted with the classy contenders declared for the Nizwa Fort Conditions Stakes to be run at Newbury on Thursday 7th July over six furlongs. The field contains many of the top horses in the UK who will be using the race as a springboard to some of the seasons most valuable races, including the Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes, a Group 2PA worth £20,000 to be run over the same course and distance on August 13th.
The field is headed by the UK’s highest rated mare, Bayan Athbah. A dual PA Group winner in the UK last season, her most valuable success came at Newbury in the Royal Cavalry’s aforementioned feature event. She was making her UK debut, having won in Belgium earlier that year and follows a similar preparation this time, having won a Belgian conditions event over 1500m in January and is returning from a short break. From the same stable of Phil Collington and Athbah Racing is the exciting four-year-old Ekleel Athbah, winner of her last start over a mile at Royal Windsor, she looks like a filly on the upgrade.
Formerly the UK’s top-rated horse is Al Kaaser, now racing in the James Owen Racing Club colours. He was third behind Bayan Athbah in that Group2PA last year and showed himself in good form when finishing runner-up on his reappearance over a mile last month. He is joined by stablemate, the three-year-old Mayfair who is the first foal of Owen’s Racing Club mare, Dolfina D’Ibos. Mayfair was a respectable fifth behind Ekeel Athbah on her debut and is sure to improve for that experience.
Also double handed in the race is Pete Hammersley with the black-type performers Abiyah Athbah and Zayin Angkor Centurion. Abiyah Athbah has good course form having been third in this corresponding race last year and fourth behind Bayan Athbah in the Group2PA. She then enhanced her paddock value when a very close third in a Group3PA at Haydock over a mile on her favoured quick ground and looked an unlucky fourth behind Al Kaaser on her reappearance when hampered in running.
Completing the field is Swedish Group 3PA winner Storm Troupour. Age may have caught up with him somewhat these days, however at his peak he was rated 113 and has been third over course and distance in a Group1PA and over a furlong less in a Group3PA. He will have every assistance from conditional jockey Charlie Price, a former ARO leading novice rider when an amateur, Price is currently heading the ARO leading jockeys table for the season, ahead of Tom Marquand and last year’s winner, Hollie Doyle.
The race is named after Nizwa Fort, Oman’s most visited national monument. Though the fort was built in the 17th Century, it combines an earlier castle, both have been restored and the site now includes a museum documenting its’ history and the nations traditions. Nizwa was the capital of Oman between the 6th and 7th centuries when the oasis city was on a strategic trade route, this is still echoed in its busy souk today, one of the oldest marketplaces in Oman.
Genny Haynes, ARO CEO commented: “This is a really exciting line up featuring some of our best horses, which is sure to guarantee a competitive race. We look forward to welcoming Colonel Nasser Awladwoder, Assistant Director General of the Royal Cavalry of Oman for Technical Affairs, who will present the trophies to the winning connections.”
She concluded: “ARO also thanks Newbury racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority for their continued support of our racing and Baker McVeigh International for sponsoring the Best Turned Out Award.”