Fantastic finale brings curtain down on 1st turf fixture for the Arabian Racing Organisation at Taunton on 13th May

They saved the best for last on Sunday 13th May – on a day embraced ‘Somerset Day’ celebrations a delighted Taunton crowd witnessed a great win for local lady jockey Ellie Mackenzie and the highlight of the day a magnificent dead heat finish in the last to end proceedings. It was also a good day for British breeders of Arabian bloodstock with four wins for horses bred in the UK.

The first race the Forta Stud restricted Maiden Stakes, for 3 years old & upwards sponsored by Forta Stud and run over one  mile two furlongs, provided the chance for first time out Zayin Activist to live up to his name in the preliminary’s putting something of a show in the paddock. Having settled at the start the two horses who had showed previous potential, finishing second on their respective debuts last season set out to make their mark with J Force taking an early lead over Pharitz Fahr – both quickly ahead of the Peter Hammersley trained debutants Shakatak Alenaya under jockey Mike Palmer and Zayin Activist ridden by jockey David Turner. J Force jumped off promptly with Beverley Deutrom’s Pharitz Fahr under jockey Simon Walker gamely stalking the front runner who started to idle in the latter stages giving J Force’s jockey Will Pettis some work to do; he proved a convincing winner though in the concluding stages and this eye catching colt by multiple Group 1 winning sire Jaafer, provided a welcome start to the day for trainer Philip Collington and owner, breeder Sue Herrod. Zayin Activist and Shakatak Alenaya battled it out on their own, to finish third and fourth respectively and will certainly come on for the run and experience.

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The second race the www.aroracing.co.uk Handicap Stakes 0-50 for 4 years & upwards, over one mile two furlongs saw a quartet of mares led out by Delyth Thomas’s Callymay under Simon Walker, a hard race to call with all in contention –  Veteran horse under owner, trainer, jockey, Yucel Mehmet at the rear of the field on Trip To Khairo who at 15 years old still looked very game was waiting for his chance and watching the moves of  Johara Bint Shuwaiman who having won on her seasonal debut at Chelmsford under Ellie Mackenzie was obviously looking to continue her winning run. The opportunity to do just this came to hand as a slip up on the final bend saw both Callymay and Synergy out of the race, a frustration for the latter as jockey James Harding and trainer Adam Newey had hopes for the unlucky Synergy who always runs well fresh. With only two left in contention Ellie Mackenzie took her chance on Johara Bint Shuwaiman as although chased down by Trip To Khairo who whilst inching closer couldn’t quite close, leaving Macenkzie to cross the line and win by a length for delighted trainer Nikki Malcolm, breeder, Jenny Lees and owner, HH Sheikha Maryam Bint M Al Maktoum.
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ARO welcomes Taunton Annual Badge Holders Maiden Stakes set over a mile for 4 years old & upwards, didn’t start well for James Harding, having been unseated in the previous race his mount Estfahan, trained by Jennifer Owen whipped round at the start and left him with lengths to make up and also running very green, With a trio of HH Sheikh Hamdan’s string left vying for contention it was left to these to make a race of it and they did just that. TIJAARY who had the benefit of a run this season put up a good show on top weight for Simon Walker but it wasn’t to be a win for the James Owen colt as Phil Collington’s filly Ashjaan put aside her disappointing seasonal debut to win convincingly on her third attempt and make it two in the winning enclosure for trainer, Collington with Munawwar third under jockey Will Pettis.
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The 0-70 rated, fourth Race run over a mile, the Somerset Day Handicap Stakes for Arabians, 4 years & upwards,
saw David Turners mount Majid Bin Krayaan frustratingly whip round at the start leaving him completely out of contention – Chloe Emsley on course specialist Man Of Dreams was certainly looking to make a winning return on a horse who was fresh on his seasonal return. As a four time winner of races at Taunton in four of the last five seasons for trainer Carol Legg he certainly looked like it could be a repeat performance, winding up proceedings with Elyassaat under Will Pettis in hot pursuit, Man of Dreams stamped his authority at the two furlong pole and pulled away convincingly, leaving a fast finishing Mersal under Jockey Simon Walker returning from a long absence to snatch second place in the final strides for owner Pharitz Arabians and trainer Beverley Deutrom, 3rd place went to Elyassaat , owners Blue Star Racing and trainer Jayme Plumb.
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Race Five ARO proud to support St Margaret’s Hospice Handicap Stakes 0-80 over one mile 2 furlongs was by the book – quite literally, it was to be a 1,2,3, for racecard numbers 1,2,3, as the royal blue colours of owner HH Sheikh Hamden shared the spoils between the winning podium and third place for trainer, James Owen and second place for trainer Phil Collington. On paper it had looked like things should go the way of Zayin Zachillies who’s winning ways have included a race at this track but despite a valiant attempt to apply pressure from the front the pace set by Colington’s Halib des Forges under Will Pettis and Al Faaris under Joanna Mason saw them draw away and deliver an exciting finish as Mason quickened in the final strides to the line to win and make the four and a half hour trip from Yorkshire to race worthwhile. There is certainly more to come from second placed Halib Des Forges this season and also Madany who although a well beaten third had also won at Taunton before.
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Race six ARO at Chepstow on 27th May Handicap Stakes 0-40 for 4 years & upwards, over one mile five furlongs saw a keen start with the pack galloping away putting the pressure on from the get go, tightly grouped and traveling well through the first few furlongs the blue colours of Taer al Hurr and Abaci ridden by Ryan Whitley prominent with eventual winner Senor Dublcheck the back marker. As the field approached half way, the early pace started to take its toll with the string stretching out, Southpaw set to make his move under James Harding as Rob Woollard on Senor Dublcheck started to move well up through the field to join Kaitlen Robinson on Mulan who looked to be running a very consistent race at the front of the field – the three hit the final furlong together with Woollard and Senor Dublcheck asserting their authority striking the front with half a furlong to go leaving the chasing pair to fight it out bringing home a welcome first win in three years for Senor Dublcheck, 2nd place for Southpaw and 3rd place going to a delighted Kaitlen Robinson on Mulan.
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Race seven looked like it could provide an exciting finale and it did just that, the  Join ARO at Taunton on 8th September Open Handicap Stakes for Arabians, 4 years & upwards over one mile two furlongs gave those betting more of a challenge with this wide open handicap to consider. With popular grey Emiraaty back on track, ridden by Simon Walker after his seasonal winning debut for trainer James Owen at Chelmsford and three well-bred handicap debutants in the line-up in the shape of Tatbeeq, Samawaat and Makhaater it was an interesting cocktail of opportunity, especially when adding the respected HAU KOLA, to the mix who was having his first start for trainer Christopher Bull having won a very competitive race on his final start last season. Top weight front runner Emiraaty took his place in front of the tightly grouped field from the outset and all were in with a chance turning into the home straight as the tempo rose, quickly dropping three to see Tatbeeq under Joanna Mason trying gamely to keep on terms but never gaining on the front two who were stride for stride hitting the line with the judges calling for a photo finish that finally declared a dead heat between 6 year Hau Kola for jockey Morgan Winstone claiming 5lb, owners, John Elliott & Paul Beard and trainer Christopher Bull and the 7 year old Emiraaty owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan and trained by James Owen.
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ARO was delighted to be at Taunton and those there enjoyed a great days racing with lots of positives to share, the next Arabian meeting back on the TAUNTON TURF will be on 8th September, if people are interested in sponsoring at this event please contact the Arabian Racing Organisation, the next full meeting will be at Chepstow Racecourse on 27th May where the Royal Cavalry of Oman will sponsor the day. (For information on events and contacts please find our details on www.aroracing.co.uk).