John Elliot’s Lujain confirmed her early season debut course and distance promise with a length and a quarter win in the Al Jalali Fort Novice Stakes over a mile today at Royal Windsor. Ridden by apprentice Molly Presland, she passed long-time leader Al Mahbooba and Keiran O’Neill in the last half furlong for a comfortable win, with the pair finishing well clear of Mayfair and Rhiain Ingram.
Afterwards her trainer Phil Collington commented: “I’m so pleased for John and Teresa and the filly, she deserved that. Obviously she was back on what we thought was her favoured ground after that great run here first time. There’s still so much more to come from her, she jumped off quite well at Wolverhampton and she was a little bit slow away today, but though she’ll go up a lot for this, she’s got the ability to cope.
“I’m pretty certain that will be it for her this season.” Collington continued. “The only reason she ran today was because with the weather we’ve had, we thought we’d get quick ground again. I rode her dam Tawaazun, who was highly talented, but it was difficult for Gill Duffield to keep her in one piece at times, I think this filly could be as good or better than her dam, let’s hope she’ll keep improving. I think she’s shown today that she’ll get a mile and a quarter on turf.”
Presland, who was recording her first win on an Arabian said: “I’ve ridden Lujain in all her runs and every time she’s been improving. She’s a really honest horse so I had no worries about getting there, even though the other one had got away from us. She tries her heart out. I go in and gallop horses for Phil when he asks, he’s been great to me.”
Elliott himself was “thrilled” with his filly’s performance and was recording his first win since his homebred Hau Kola dead-heated at Taunton in 2018. Elliott has had a long association with Collington, first when Collington was a jockey and then later providing him with his first winner as a trainer.
This is the fourth race that the Royal Cavalry have sponsored with ARO this year as part of their five-race package for the season. Their sponsorship concludes with their annual highlight, the Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes, a Group 2PA six-furlong sprint worth £20,000 to be held on August 13 at Newbury racecourse, for which entries close this Tuesday 9th August at 12 noon.
Charles Gregson, ARO Chairman commented: “ARO congratulates John, Phil and Molly on their win with Lujain today. John has been a long-term supporter of ARO and we’re thrilled to see him back in the winners enclosure with such a smart looking filly.
“We’re also delighted to be back at Royal Windsor with the Royal Cavalry of Oman as it is a racecourse they have had a great association with, having sponsored many races here in the past. We thank their representative, Colonel Mohammed Al Hadi, the Royal Cavalry’s Assistant Director General, who presented the trophies, and we now look forward to the Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
“ARO also thanks Royal Windsor racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority for their continued support of our racing this season.”