Connections of the French Arabian Derby runner-up, Izadi Star, will be hoping that their colt can go one better in the British equivalent, the UAE President Cup – UK Arabian Derby (Group1PA). The £80,00 contest exclusively for four-year-olds will be run at Doncaster on Saturday 10th September, Cazoo St Leger Day, and represents the last chance for all sexes of that age group to meet at the top level in Europe. However, it looks to be a true test as he will face the leading European colt of 2021, Moshrif, along with Ch’ezza and Rebal Athbah, two unbeaten colts stepping up to pattern company for the first time.
Now in its seventh renewal at Doncaster as part of the UAE President Cup series, the race will be run over the same mile and a quarter trip as it’s French counterpart. In Chantilly, Helal Alalawi’s striking chestnut colt was beaten a head by France’s top four-year-old Samlla, who had previously placed third to his stablemate Moshrif in the pair’s final start in a French Group 1PA last autumn. Francois Rohaut has since kept his charges apart, with Moshrif’s two wins Qatar including their three-year-old Derby last December.
As to be expected, the Chantilly race is always a good guide to the Doncaster counterpart, with all four French Derby winners to show up at the historic Town Moor track achieving the double. Meanwhile Abbes who had filled the number two slot in France last year, went on to gain recompense in the UK edition, which clearly bodes well for Izadi Star. The form of the 2022 French renewal looks particularly strong, as Samlla and Izadi Star finished ten lengths clear of the field, on Izadi Star’s European return for La Teste based trainer, Elizabeth Bernard.
Alalawi, who owned the 2020 runner-up Jugurtha de Monlau and also trained Izadi Star in the UAE, commented: “I am very optimistic about Izadi Star’s chances after his performance in his last race. If he wins easily at Doncaster, he will return to France to run in the Qatar Arabian World Cup at the Arc meeting and then on to Abu Dhabi for the Sheikh Zayed Jewel Crown.
“This forthcoming UAE season I have signed a contract with Gary Sanchez to be my retained jockey for The National Stables and he will ride Izadi Star on Saturday.”
Sanchez has been having a fruitful time on Arabians in France with Bernard, having ridden in the Gulf last winter. This will be Sanchez’s debut ride in the UK, however the 21-year-old first visited Doncaster for this race in 2019, leading up for his father Freddie, who trained that year’s winner Hayyan.
Izadi Star is the top-rated runner on 119 and is the highest rated horse to have contested the race since it was relocated to Doncaster, supported by the UAE President Cup series. However not far behind on 117 is Moshrif, a proven Group 1PA winner at this trip who will be reunited with Jim Crowley. Crowley partnered the colt in his two wins in Doha and also rode the colt’s half-brother Muraaqib to victory in two of his seven top level wins for their breeder, the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, and has since enjoyed great success for Moshrif’s new owner, Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari, winning three Group 1PA’s on his champion mare, Lady Princess.
Pau based Rohaut also trains another young Qatari-owned runner in Ch’ezza. Carrying in the colours of Abdulla bin Fahad Al Hammad Al-Attiyah, the son of AF Albahar won by a short head on his debut at Toulouse and has since won easily in Vichy. Another proven at this trip, the colt will be partnered for the first time by Sean Levey, who has already ridden an Arabian Group winner in the UK and rode against Crowley and Moshrif in Doha.
Also looking for debut black-type success will be Rebal Athbah. The Athbah Racing homebred caught the eye when a comfortable course and distance winner in July and was a ready winner of his last race at Lingfield, ridden on that occasion by ten times UAE Champion Jockey, Tadgh O’Shea, who renews the partnership on Saturday. Rebal Athbah is trained by Phil Collington, who has the best recent record of the domestic handlers having provided the third placed horse for the last two years.
After O’Shea and Collington combined to win the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup (Gr3PA) at Haydock last Saturday with Bayan Athbah, Collington said: “Obviously Rebal has come up through the ranks this year. He reminds me very much of Dubai Kahayla Classic winner Kaolino. When I first went out to Dubai for Gill Duffield at the end of 2003, Kaolino was running in low grade handicaps in Abu Dhabi, but the horse was just slowly maturing, improving physically and mentally with each race until he won on World Cup night. I think Rebal is much the same, he’s been such a big baby, but it’s amazing how Arabians can improve. It looks a big ask now, but he deserves to take his chance.”
Since the UAE Presidents Cup resumed its’ sponsorship of the UK Arabian Derby at Doncaster in 2016, the mile and a quarter race has been won by some of the best up and coming Arabians in the world. The list of winners includes four winners of the Qatar French Arabian Derby, and four winners have gone on to continued Group 1PA success.
The prestigious UAE President Cup series is now in its 29th year, supporting the vision and approach of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan, to raise the status of the Arabian horse in all countries of the world.
Faisal Al Rahmani, Event Manager for the UAE President Cup commented: “We hope that the success of these races will encourage people to spread the word and bring more new people into the sport. I’m very pleased with how the UAE President Cup series is going, as we have many followers all around the world. Every race produces a star, just like last year’s winner Abbes. We need to keep this momentum going and to encourage more breeding of Arabian racehorses which is one of the series aims.”
Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee commented: “We are delighted with the resonance of the series worldwide, the UK race will be the tenth leg of the series so far this year.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “We were delighted with the quality of the entries for this race, though the four horses declared underline the lack of four-year-old Arabians across Europe, not just in the UK. However we are delighted that proven Group winners like Izadi Star and Moshrif will be taking on two unbeaten colts in what still looks to be a very competitive race.”
She concluded: “ARO continues to be extremely grateful to the UAE President Cup Series and to everyone at Doncaster racecourse for their support of our feature race for four-year-olds. In addition, we thank the British Horseracing Authority for their assistance with our racing, particularly with our international runners in our black-type races.”