The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) looks forward to the Emirates Breeders (0-55) Handicap at Brighton on Friday August 11th in which Peter Hammersley hopes to celebrate 40 years of training with a win. His two runners, Al-Hatab and Belle Angelique, face a further seven contenders, including four from current leading ARO trainer James Owen, in the £4,000, mile and a quarter contest.
Hammersley sent out his first runner, El Rih Sarsar on the 13 August 1983 and though he’s not trained continuously, since 2007 he’s recorded 83 winners under ARO rules. Moving yards at the start of the season to the historic Calke Abbey training grounds in Derbyshire, he commented, “I’m hopeful for both of them, the trip and the forecast good ground should suit.
“If Al-Hatab can repeat his previous run at Brighton where he was third in a higher grade, he shouldn’t be far away, as I think he’s still got improvement in him. It’s a shame that Billy Loughnane isn’t fit to ride him, as he gave him a great ride last time and was really great with the owners, however Mohammed [Tabti] has ridden for me before, whilst Georgia Dobie is back on Belle Angelique.”
Distance winner Heritage Valentino is one of the four Owen runners. Fifth behind both Al-Hatab and Belle Angelique over an extended seven furlongs last time, he should be better suited by the greater stamina test. His brother, Heritage Vadel, joins him, but he’s seemed happier over even further, winning at Southwell last year over a mile and a half. They are ridden by Kieran O’Neill and Rhiain Ingram respectively, with both jockeys being on board for the horses’ wins last year. Owen has a policy of supporting his stable amateurs when they can do the weights and with Rhea Betts and Teagan Padgett both being able to claim their full seven pound allowance, they are a valuable addition to his team. They partner Victoria and Delicatesse, three-year-olds bred or part-bred by Owen, who are making their handicap debuts.
Bridgend based Steve Blackwell will be hoping his course winner Aloof can bounce back to form on Friday. He also likes to support young riders and has his two regular amateurs booked, Lewis Saunders who has upgraded to Aloof this season, whilst Matthew Lloyd Slater gets on the veteran schoolmaster, Aljawaaher.
Completing the field is Kayack for another owner-breeder-trainer Jen Harris. The nine-year-old will be ridden by regular partner and leading amateur Serena Brotherton, for whom the gelding has been placed four times on the All Weather.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “ARO is delighted with the turn out for this race, in which yet again, all bar one of the runners is British bred. We thank the Emirates Breeders for their support as this series is extremely important for our grassroots competitors, who we are also assisting through our ARO breeders scheme. The scheme gives a financial bonus to UK registered ARO breeders whose horses finish in the first three places of all our races.”
“We also thank Katy Ferguson of Racing Welfare who will be present to select the winner of the Best Turned Out award on Friday.”