The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) is looking forward to opening a quality card at their home track of Newbury racecourse on Saturday 14 August. The Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes, a Group 2 PA over six furlongs, precedes seven thoroughbred races, three of which are black type events, with the headline contest being the seven furlong BetVictor Hungerford Stakes, also a Group 2. Eight runners have been declared for the £20,000 sprint which when run under its previous title of the Za’abeel International, has been won four times by new sponsors, the Royal Cavalry of Oman.
Unfortunately the challenges of overseas travel proved too great this year and despite many enquiries from European trainers, including previous winners, the field is without its customary international flavour. However the race should still be competitive, featuring the UK’s top-rated horse Al Kaaser, fit from placing sixth in a quality renewal of the one mile Group 1PA Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood. Renewing rivalry from that race will be Abiyah Athbah, ARO leading mare of 2019, who should be seen to greater effect on the forecast quicker ground than the easy surface she encountered at Goodwood. Also seeking to improve on his Goodwood run is Toofan, one of four runners from Shadwell Estates. He, like stablemate Jadaayil will be trying this trip for the first time, whilst Mazyoonah has won at this distance on quick ground in Belgium two years ago.
The fourth of the Shadwell runners is Jamaraat. A lightly raced filly she may improve on what she has shown so far, as she is a daughter of Dahess, who won the race three times. Also lightly raced is her stablemate, Bayan Athbah, who recently got off the mark in Belgium. Completing the field is Storm Troupour, though behind many of these at Goodwood he is a Group 3PA winner over this trip on Dirt in Belgium and has been placed in this race before.
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director said: “We are delighted that the Royal Cavalry of Oman who have been a loyal and generous sponsor of UK Arabian racing for many years, have chosen to support this race with which they have such a history. Naturally it is disappointing that due to the current challenges we have no international runners this year, but restrictions are easing and we hope that future races will once again contain the diverse spread of overseas runners to which we have become accustomed.
“We wish all our domestic challengers the best of luck and look forward to seeing a new sprint champion crowned on Saturday. We thank the Royal Cavalry for their support, as well as the British Horseracing Authority and the team at Newbury racecourse.”