Rebal Athbah and Tom Marquand gave UK Arabian racing an exciting start to their new season when winning the Wathba Stallions Cup (0-70) Handicap by three quarters of a length from Awtaar and Hollie Doyle. Bin Al Reeh and Marco Ghiani were a further six and half lengths back in third. Doyle and Awtaar had set a good pace in front, however they were joined by Rebal Athbah and Marquand in the home straight with first two home battling all the way to the line, with Rebal Athbah winning in a time of 1.52.32.

After the race Marquand said: “He’s still a bit green and still learning, but he did what he had to do. To bump into much more experienced horses, round a tricky enough track, he’s done well to win today, so hopefully they’ll be more to come from him.

“Thanks to support of Sheikh Mansoor in the early part of my career, I got the chance to go down to Australia and ride for David Hayes and Tom Dabernig and rode a few winners for Shadwell whilst I was there. Things spiralled and I’ve since been fortunate to have quite a bit of success there since.”

Trainer Phil Collington was delighted with Rebal Athbah’s performance saying: “We’ve learnt a lot more about him, it’s great that he’s won. Tom feels that a step up in trip would be beneficial, he’ll improve again from this.”

Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival, said: “The Festival is delighted to support the Arabian Racing Organisation through the sponsorship of these races in the UK. We congratulate the winners today, in particular Tom Marquand as he went to Australia for four weeks in 2016 as part of the mentorship programme established by the Sheikh Mansoor Festival’s Racing Scholarship Fund.”

Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented: “That was a great start to our season with a really competitive finish. ARO Congratulates Athbah Racing, Phil Collington and Tom Marquand for their win with Rebal Athbah and we thank the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival for their generous sponsorship of this race, and for their up and coming races this season.

“We also congratulate Rebal Athbah’s groom, Frank Taillard, who won the Best Turned Out Award, sponsored by Baker McVeigh International. ARO also thanks the British Horseracing Authority and Royal Windsor racecourse for their assistance and support of our racing this season.”