The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted to receive nine declarations for the UAE President Cup (UK Arabian Derby) to be run at Doncaster on Saturday September 11th as part of the Cazoo St Leger Festival. Despite the challenges of Covid19 and Brexit, the event has still attracted two quality runners from France. They join seven domestic challengers, making it the largest field for the race since it relocated to Doncaster, when the UAE President Cup resumed sponsorship of the contest in 2016. The Group 1PA race is exclusively for four-year-old Purebred Arabians and is held over a mile and a quarter for a prize fund of £80,000.
The highest rated is Abbes who has raced almost exclusively in Group company in all his starts in France. A winner of two lesser PA group races, he has twice been runner-up at this level, in two of France’s most coveted races, the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Poulains last year and then in his most recent start, the Qatar French Arabian Derby. He met trouble in running that day and trainer Thomas Fourcy will be hoping to gain recompense and a first win in this race, having already recorded three thirds and was most recently second in 2019. He will be ridden by regular partner Olivier Peslier, who finished runner-up in the same HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani colours in 2016.
Also from France is Group 3PA winner Arion. Trained by Elizabeth Bernard for a partnership headed by Haif Mohammed Al Ghatani, the Haras des Rabodanges and Haseg, Arion will be their first ever runner at Doncaster. A late developer, he missed his juvenile season, but has already been placed in Group company at this trip in Italy and has won his last two black-type starts in Belgium over 1m4f and 1m1f, ridden by Jean-Bernard Eyquem. Interestingly, the dams of both Abbes and Arion won the UK stage of the UAE President Cup when it was run at Ascot, each ridden by the respective jockeys who partner their colts on Saturday.
Shadwell Estates hold a strong hand in the race this year, with five runners from two different yards. Alajab, Alghanny and Khateer are trained by Phil Collington who is seeking his third UK Group win this season. All three started their careers in France, and it is recent maiden winner Alajab who carries the first colours, ridden by Dane O’Neill. Alghanny is a brother to a dual winner at this level and is partnered by Kevin Stott who gained his first Arabian win for the same connections last year. Khateer who was placed just short of this trip, is making her UK debut and will be ridden by Ray Dawson.
Aldaana and Farasah also carry the blue and white and are trained by James Owen. Farasah beat Aldaana in the first maiden of the season and has since been placed in a handicap when ridden by Jack Mitchell who continues the partnership. Aldaana is the mount of Hollie Doyle, who was a close second on the filly when stepping up to this distance last month. Owen also fields Awtaar who he has leased from Shadwell Estates and runs in the colours of the Blackrock Racing Syndicate who have a half share. Awtaar is a half-sister to last year’s third and is a landmark first Arabian runner in a Group race for the Irish syndicate, who have had great success with their thoroughbreds. Sahis completes the line-up, he runs in the colours of the Goodwin Partnership, also trained by Owen. He is ridden by Rossa Ryan, who had recorded two wins and a place from four Arabian rides this term, including one over course and distance in July.
Matar Al Yabhouni, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of the UAE President Cup, said: “We are pleased on the success of the prestigious cup on the European race tracks and it’s benefits to owners and trainers”.
Faisal Al Rahmani, Event Manager for the UAE President Cup commented: “The UAE President Cup continues to build on almost 30 years of success. In many of the countries the UAE President Cup is the highlight of their season. Arabian racing continues to grow during these golden years. More fixtures, more horses racing and more breeding, shows the resilience of Arabian racing industry. With the wonderful vision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President Cup leads Arabian racing into the spotlight on many international fronts.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director was thrilled commenting. “We were excited to welcome back the President of the UAE Cup in 2016 and we are proud that this race has consistently produced top-quality winners, who go on to succeed at the highest level in later seasons. This race is now firmly established as part of St Leger Day, at Doncaster’s most prestigious meeting of the year which enhances the contest’s prestige and Arabian racing’s status in the UK.
“We are extremely grateful to the UAE President Cup Series for their continued support of our feature race for four-year-olds and to Doncaster racecourse for their support of our racing. We also thank the British Horseracing Authority for their assistance this season, particularly with our international runners.”