Five-time ARO leading trainer James Owen has a strong hand with three runners in the Emirates Breeders (0-75) Handicap Stakes at Southwell on Thursday. The £3,000 race has attracted eight runners from ten entries and will be the last chance for many of these horses to run this season, which ends next week in another Emirates Breeders sponsored race at Wolverhampton.
The field is headed by Owen’s Racing Club’s Al Mahbooba, partnered again by amateur rider, Alice Stevens, who finished third on the mare in July at Wolverhampton. In his wife, Jenny’s colours is Jaahez, who has twice been placed for his stable amateur Rhea Betts this year, along with recent scorer, Mrs R B Skepper’s Heritage Valentino, who renews the winning partnership with course specialist Kieran O’Neill.
However, none of Owen’s three runners are proven at the 1m6f trip, a factor which is common to many of their opponents, though Darren Plumb’s Jeewan did win over 2m1f in June, beating among others, Heritage Valentino. He is another reunited with his winning partner in Dougie Costello. Three-time winner Zayin Zyperion has been campaigned by trainer Peter Hammersley for Zayin Arabians at 1m2f and shorter. Ridden again by Joey Haynes, they will take comfort in the fact that his half-brother, Zayin Zachilles, won over this trip at this level.
Craig Kester’s Kamikaze, ridden on Thursday by Gina Mangan, will be fitter for his recent return to action behind Heritage Valentino and is a two-time winner over 1m4f, who has been placed at this trip. Evermore Racing’s Kayack also made a belated seasonal reappearance last week and though placed over 1m4f, is another stepping up in distance for leading lady amateur and regular jockey, Serena Brotherton. Completing the field is the Connally’s Labwah, may also improve for the stamina test and this week will be ridden by Collen Storey.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “ARO is delighted with the number of declarations for our last handicap of the season. The race looks to be a very open one and we’re delighted to return to Southwell, who were so accommodating when we had to move one of our races there at short notice, earlier in the season.
“We thank the Emirates Breeders series for their continued sponsorship, and also the British Horseracing Authority and all the team at Southwell for supporting our racing this season.”