Trainer Phil Collington has three runners declared for the Emirates Breeders Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton, the second race of the new Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) season. The Newmarket based handler got off to a winning start at Royal Windsor last week and seeks to maintain momentum in the mile contest at the Dunstall Park track on Monday 23rd May.
He has a strong chance with the four-year-old filly Ekleel Athbah, who came close to shedding the maiden tag in Belgium earlier this year over further and is expected to appreciate the drop in trip. Also in the Athbah Racing colours is the year younger Kafou Athbah, who will be seeing the racecourse for the first time, along with Alghazaal, a four-year-old who runs in the colours of Collington’s wife, Sheila.
Collington commented: “We’ve got some nice maidens at home, Ekleel Athbah will have learnt a lot from her run at Mons, she had a little bit of a break after that and seems in great form now. Kafou Athbah, he’s not over big, but his work’s been very good and he’s all heart. Alghazaal is a half-brother to two fillies I trained in Loolwa and Awtaar, he’s not very big either, but he’s a trier.”
The most experienced runner in the race is Al Mahbooba who had four outings for James Owen last season placing twice in two very competitive maidens having started her career in France where she raced eight times. She makes her seasonal return in the colours of Owen’s Racing Club and could face stiff competition from her stablemates Sattam and Balqees. Sattam was a close second on his debut at this track two years ago and was fourth in the UAE President Cup -UK Arabian Derby, but is returning after a year’s absence and makes his debut for new owner, Mohammad Sultan Alajmi. Like Al Mahbooba, Balqees is one of several ex-Shadwell horses in the race. She was very consistent last year when with Collington and was also a runner-up on her final start at Wolverhampton, when making her debut for Owen in the colours of Gary Allsopp. She has the assistance of last years’ leading ARO jockey, Hollie Doyle in the saddle.
Making up the field is another Shadwell bred mare, Labwah, who made her first start in the Connally colours at Wolverhampton last September, behind Balqees. She is by the Group winning miler Al Jakbar, out of Neige Al Maury, who made €92,000 at the Shadwell Arabian Broodmare dispersal sale in December.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “ARO is delighted to make our seasonal return to Wolverhampton with a strong field of well-bred maidens in this, one of six races generously sponsored by the Emirates Breeders Series.
“In addition, we look forward to welcoming Brendan Waterworth of Racing Welfare to judge the first of five individual Best Turned Out Awards that the charity is sponsoring with ARO this season. Racing Welfare also supports an overall Best Turned Out series with points given to the winning groom in every race leading to three cash awards, one for large yards, one for small yards and one to the yard who receives the most points overall, who will also receive a trophy.”
Concluding she said: “We also thank the British Horseracing Authority and Wolverhampton racecourse for their assistance and support of our racing, in 2022.”.