The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival’s UK racing commitment now heads to Brighton on Tuesday May 31st for the Wathba Stallions Cup (0-55) Handicap Stakes over an extended six furlongs. It is one of eleven races that the Festival is sponsoring with the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) in 2022.
Leicestershire based trainer Peter Hammersley takes two runners, Bin Al Reeh and Belle Angelique. Bin Al Reeh has shown a liking for quick turf, winning a Wathba Stallions sponsored race at Bath last year and comes here in good form having been placed in the opening race of the season. Of his runners’ chances, Hammersley says: “Bin Al Reeh has come out of the Windsor race well and he should be there or thereabouts on Tuesday. Belle Angelique had a few problems last year and probably wasn’t 100 percent in her two runs. She’s a lot fitter now and we’re hoping for a better show at Brighton. Paddy Barlow rode her in both her runs last season and rides her at home, so fingers crossed for them.”
Also with two runners is Steve Blackwell from South Wales, who sends veteran campaigner Aljawaaher, partnered by amateur Lewis Saunders, along with his homebred mare Aloof, ridden by conditional jockey, Charlie Price. Both horses are making their seasonal reappearances. Blackwell commented: “I like to support the young riders and Aljawaaher is perfect for that. Aloof looks the part now and she seems to have grown up mentally, but we won’t know until she gets on the racecourse. Brighton is more her level at this stage, but we can’t be sure how well she’ll cope with the undulations there.”
One horse with experience of the track is James Owen’s Conquer, who was fourth there on his seasonal reappearance in 2019 over further. The ten-year-old has also won twice at Chepstow on quick ground, including over seven furlongs off an identical rating, so has plenty going for him on Tuesday. However, he is returning from a two-year absence and may just need the run. Also making his seasonal debut is the Plumb’s Gerko De Tenelle, he was fourth on his first start of last season behind Bin Al Reeh and he may fare better this year, sporting blinkers for the first time. Top weight is the Connally’s Labwah, an unexposed well-bred mare who faces quick turf for the first time, having finished sixth on her reappearance last week at Wolverhampton.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented: “We thank the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival for generously increasing their support of our racing for this season, with the Wathba Stallions Cup series being particularly important to our grassroots competitors, at which Tuesday’s contest is aimed.
“We’re looking forward to a competitive race and delighted to see two young amateurs taking rides, both who rode under ARO rules last season, including Paddy Barlow who rode a winner last week in Italy. It’s also good to see Charlie Price keeping in touch with his Arabian roots as he was ARO leading novice jockey in 2016 and leading professional in 2019.”
Concluding she said: “We thank the British Horseracing Authority and Brighton racecourse for their assistance and support of our racing, as well as The Arabian Racehorse magazine, who is providing a travel concession to the seventh placed horse.”