Newmarket based trainer Phil Collington had the one-two-three in the Emirates Breeders Maiden Stakes at Royal Windsor this afternoon. Ekleel Athbah ridden by Tom Marquand had the race set up for her by her stablemate Kafou Athbah, who was sent into an early lead by Silvestre de Sousa. The grey filly was able to assert from a furlong out and kept on well to finish two and a half lengths in front. Lujain, making her debut for Collington in the colours of John Elliott stayed on from the rear despite running very green throughout the race.
Collington was naturally pleased by the performances of his principal patron Athbah Racing’s horses but was just as delighted for Elliott for whom he trained his first winner as a trainer in 2016. Commenting after the race he said: “Obviously Ekleel Athbah was the one to beat. Her first two runs were messy races for her, she suffered with a stop start gallop in Belgium and at Wolverhampton they didn’t go overly quick. Tom said that he was aware of what happened in those runs so he sent her to the front a lot earlier.
“I told Silvestre to be positive on Kafou Athbah, as he does a lot of lead work at home. I think he appreciated running on turf as well, as he’s like his sire No Risk Al Maury who I used to ride, they like good, good to firm ground. As for Lujain, that has made my day. I’m thrilled for Ekleel of course, but I’m so pleased for John and Teresa.”
As for the horses next targets he said: “We’ll see what’s on offer for Ekleel, I don’t want to run her back too quickly. I’m really pleased I didn’t run her at Doncaster, I don’t think that would have helped her mentally. We’ll give her a short break and see what’s on offer after that. Kafou could go to the Wolverhampton maiden, or we might just wait to get him back on Turf. Lujain could go to Wolverhampton, she looked like she was staying on strongly today.”
Marquand who was riding his second winner this season for Collington and Athbah Racing said of Ekleel Athbah’s win: “She jumped off well, followed Phil’s other horse and travelled better than the rest. She’s still learning and going in the right direction and should progress from this.”
Genny Haynes, Arabian Racing Organisation CEO commented: “ARO congratulates Phil and his team on their success today, hopefully we will see Ekleel Athbah progress to our more high-profile races later in the season. Athbah Racing has had great success starting their younger horses in the UK, who have then gone on to even greater achievements abroad.”
Concluding she said: “We are also delighted for John and Teresa Elliott, small owner-breeders who are the backbone of the grass roots of our sport which the Emirates Breeders Series is designed to encourage. We’re grateful for their support of our racing and we also thank the British Horseracing Authority and everyone at Royal Windsor racecourse and Sky Sports Racing who continue to show our racing live on their channel.”