The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was excited by the prospect of a rematch between Nafees and Ahzar in the Group 1 President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby) to be run at Doncaster this Saturday 16th September. These colts filled the first two places in the French equivalent in June, with the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s homebred Nafees, the narrow margin winner in the final strides. The President of the UAE Cup is the oldest Purebred Arabian race series and it is fitting that it is to be run on the same card as the UK’s oldest thoroughbred classic, the St. Leger.
Also in the mix is another Group 1 winner in Motrag, who stepped up on his French Derby form when third in a Newbury Group 1 in July. My First General was also behind in the French Derby, but has since won a Listed race over further, and been Group 3 placed in Holland. A potential improver is Dutch raider Pronto T, winner of an international conditions event at the Newbury July meeting. His owner-breeder-trainer Gerard Zoetelief is no stranger to giant slaying having won the Group 1 European Cup with the mare Prada T, who is from the same family. The UK trained representatives, Eqleem (for HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum) and Shammat Al Hosn (for Forta Stud), have won at this trip, but both are untried in Group 1 company.
Run over a mile and a quarter, The President of the UAE Cup resumed its’ association with the UK Arabian Derby last year and is exclusively for four-year-old Purebred Arabians. Sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, it boasts a prize fund of £80,000, with £40,000 to the winner.
Faisal Al Rahmani, General Secretary for the President of the UAE Cup series said: “The President of the UAE Cup Series sponsoring at the legendary St Leger meeting is indeed an honour. This being the second year of our association with Doncaster Racecourse, we are confident that the President’s Cup, a Group 1 race for pure-bred Arabian horses, will prove to be an outstanding contest on a major date for British racing”.
ARO Racing Operations Executive, Gemma Cobb commented: “This the final Group 1 of the UK Arabian racing season, and we are thrilled to have Nafees and Ahzar as part of the eight-runner field. This is the last race confined to both sexes of the classic generation of 2017 in Europe and shows what a welcome addition to the Pattern this race is.
“The first three home in last years’ contest have all gone on to win Group 1 races this season. This further enhances the races’ Group 1 status and I’m sure it is due in part to the prize money boost for this race which was implemented last year.”
ARO Director, Genny Haynes was also pleased commenting. “We are extremely grateful to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for their generous support of our feature race for four-year-olds. Moving the President of the UAE Cup from Ladies Day to St Leger Day itself this year, further enhances the prestige of the race and the status of Arabian racing in the UK, with it being run as part of Doncaster’s most prestigious meeting of the year.”