The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) is looking forward to their first visit to Bath on Saturday in which Falcon Du Roc’h bids to repeat his 2021 success by winning on his seasonal reappearance in the Happy Birthday Your Majesty Wathba Stallions Cup (0-65) Handicap Stakes. The £4000 race will be run over 2 miles and a furlong as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival package of UK Arabian racing sponsorship for 2022.
Falcon Du Roc’h will be partnered once again by Cameron Iles for Nikki Malcom’s Dorset based Stride Ahead Racing, for whom the pair won a Wathba Stallions Cup Stakes at Royal Windsor last year. Malcolm is no stranger to first-time out success with her runners and credits her time spent working for leading Arabian trainer Bill Smith and her own experience in Endurance riding as part of the British team in being able to get her horses to peak fitness when it matters.
Of Falcon Du Roc’h’s chances Malcom said: “He’s not been tried over two miles, but he’s a stamina horse through and through on his pedigree, so I’ve got no worries.”
Also in the line-up is Peter Hammersley’s homebred Stonehenge, the only proven winner over two miles, and has prepared his horse with this race in mind saying: “He had a setback two years ago and we could never get him quite right last year. This year he’s different again and the Bath race is his main target.”
He’ll be joined by recent second Aljawaaher, owned and trained by Steve Blackwell. The horse is in the veteran stage but has shown he’s still capable on his day and finished ahead of both Falcon Du Roc’h and Stonehenge, as well as Gerko De Tenelle, when they met last year over 1m4f at Wolverhampton. Gerko De Tenelle is one of two runners for Oxfordshire trainer Jamie Plumb, whose Jeewan is top rated in this event. Both horses will be tackling the stamina test for the first time and could find improvement for it. Heritage Valentino represents leading trainer James Owen and is the least experienced of the runners. The five-year-old will be making his turf debut as well as his seasonal reappearance at the West Country track.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “ARO is delighted to once again be racing at Bath with a race that recognises Her Majesty’s birthday celebrations, that fittingly also falls on the racecourse’s Ladies Day. ARO is extremely grateful for the support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival and in particular their sponsorship through the Wathba Stallions Cup series which champions the grassroots participants of our sport.
“We also thank the staff at Bath racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority for their assistance with our racing.”