The opening race of the 2023 Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) season got off to a great start at Bath this evening with amateur Teagan Padgett winning on her debut ride in the sport on Upstart Crow in the Emirates Breeders (0-60) Handicap. The six-year-old gelding was also making his debut for a new owner, Mrs Linda Reeves and for a new trainer, James Owen. The pair readily pulled clear of another Owen runner in Heritage Valentino, with Zikada Zayin in third in the ten-furlong contest.
Padgett, 18, had joined the Owen stables, seeking a change of scenery after two years with Milton Harris in the West Country. She explained, “I was lucky enough to have five rides for on the Flat for him, but I felt I needed a change. I was looking around and thought, Arabian racing, I’ll give that a go. I went to James’s and thought this is a nice yard, lovely people, I’ll stay here.
“I’ve been riding Upstart Crow for about a week at home. Lissie, who led him up, her family owns him and he means the world to them. I’m just so happy that travelled so well and settled well, he did what he need to do.”
Upstart Crow and Miss Teagan Padgett win the Emirates Breeders (0-60) Handicap at Bath
© Debbie Burt – Equine Creative Media
Owen, previously a five-time ARO leading trainer, took out his full BHA licence last year and has been in good recent form winning two hurdles in the last seven days at Aintree and Huntingdon.
“We’re enjoying the jumping and we’ve made a great start with the Arabians today. We’re going to support the amateurs in the yard, Teagan and Rhea [Betts], as well as Jamie [Gambin] and Connor [Baker], they’ll ride all the Arabians when they can do the weight this year. That’s why I’ve got them and that’s why they work hard for me and I’ll reward them for that.
“Teagan did everything we asked of her on Upstart Crow. They’ve done a great job with him, Lissie rides him every day, til last week when Teagan took over. He’s not easy at home. We kept the lid on him today. He was good at the stalls, stood in there well. He’s won nicely, the owners have enjoyed it, hopefully we’ll have a bit of fun with him this summer. It’s good that the breeders, John Elliott and Teresa Kinsey have come along as well, we’ve had a nice day.
“Unfortunately, Mayfair had to carry a lot of weight and she’s not really grown. I was thrilled with Heritage Valentino, for his first start back; Kieran [O’Neill], he’s great on the Arabians, he gave him a great ride.”
Derbyshire based owners Linda Reeves and her husband David were clearly thrilled with their experience saying, “It’s our first ever racehorse. We went to a couple of Arabian races last year, just to watch, but this was really exciting, especially as our daughter looks after him at home.”
James Owen, Miss Teagan Padgett, Upstart Crow,
Lissie, Linda and David Reeves winners of the Emirates Breeders (0-60) Handicap at Bath
© Debbie Burt – Equine Creative Media
Ben Cook, Head of Group Racing, commented, “It’s been a fantastic event, well supported with ten runners. We’ve made a few tweaks to the race programme this year, but I think that’s paid dividends with the amount of the runners we got in the opening race of the season. It’s great to have some household names riding, with Billy Loughnane taking his first ride on an Arabian as well which is really encouraging to see.
“It was fantastic to look over at the crowd towards the end, and with this the ninth race on the card being so well supported, it was great to have plenty of people cheering on from the stands.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer who presented the trophy to the Reeves, commented: “ARO is pleased to get the season underway and we are delighted for the Reeves success, as new owners to the sport, it’s great that they’ve had such a positive experience with their first runner.
“We also congratulate Teagan on her debut win, and all of the Owen team at Green Ridge Stables. We were also pleased to see that the first three home were all British bred horses who will earn a financial bonus as part of our UK Breeders Scheme Awards. In addition we thank ARC and Bath Racecourse for providing the Best Turned Out Award of £25 which went to Sue Wileman for Al-Hatab.”