Young amateur jockey Rhea Betts gained her first winner in the Wathbastallions.com (0-75) Handicap Stakes over a mile at Brighton today on Tijaary. One of four runners in the race for trainer James Owen, Betts brought the nine-year-old to challenge stablemate Awtaar and Tom Greatrex just over a furlong out, going clear to win by four and a quarter lengths from a staying on Zayin Zyperion and Joey Haynes. Awtaar kept on to be a further length and a quarter behind in third.
Betts, who was overjoyed with her win said: “It’s a bit surreal, it’s over so quickly, it’s only my third ride, the horse gave me such a good spin round. I started working for James in January and I absolutely love it. There’s a really good team at home and everyone’s really supportive. James have given me my childhood dream to win a race, I love the Arabians, it’s brilliant.”
Owen was pleased for his pupil saying: “That was great for Rhea, she’s shown good style, she’s got a good brain and I’m really impressed with her. She’s worked for Owen Burrows and for Shadwell and has been with me for about seven months now. She puts a lot of effort in and she’s grateful for the opportunities, she’s getting there. It’s nice that we’ve got these types of horses that we can gives her rides, and we can utilise her claim now on some of the others as the season goes on.
“Tijaary had a little injury last year and we’ve nursed him back, he’s dropped to his lowest handicap mark, but there were a few others in the race in a similar position. I’m a little bit disappointed with Awtaar, she looked quite fresh in the race and it was quite a fast run affair and I think that was what got her beat in the end. She’s still a maiden, but she’s still run well and the second horse had won last time.
Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival, said: “We’re delighted that the Sheikh Mansoor Festival has been part of Brighton’s Star Sports Festival and was the concluding race of their Festival Finale today. We congratulate Rhea on riding her first ever winner and all the connections of Tijaary”
Charles Gregson ARO Chairman commented: “ARO is thrilled to be able to give these opportunities to young riders like Rhea and we hope that she can progress from this win today and well done to James and his team for supporting her.
We’re most grateful for the generous sponsorship of the Sheikh Mansoor Festival which allows us to put on races of this nature that support the sports grassroots. In addition, we wish them well for the first running of their Group 1PA Liwa International Stakes at La Teste on Monday.
“We also thank the British Horseracing Authority and all the staff at Brighton racecourse as well as Racing Welfare’s Jane Howick, Southern Regional Community Executive and Katy Ferguson, South East Welfare Office who presented the Best Turned Out Award to Beverly Deutrom for Storm Troupour.”