The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted that half of the ten entries for this years’ £80,000 UAE President Cup – UK Arabian Derby (Group 1PA) were from overseas. The mile and a quarter contest has been run at Doncaster since 2016, moves to the earlier slot of August 19. The UAE President Cup is the world’s oldest Arabian race sponsorship series and this year encompasses 15 races around the world.
The ten entries are headed on ratings by RB Kingmaker, fourth in the French equivalent last month at Chantilly on the Prix de Diane card when making his European debut. A dual black type winner in the UAE over the winter, the American bred colt will try to better Jugurtha De Monlau, a close second in 2020 for their owner Helal Alalawi. Also highly rated from France are Mejlad and Zamer. Both are owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani though run in the respective colours of his daughters, HE Sheikha Yasmeen and HE Sheikha Iman. Mejlad has won two conditions races, whilst Zamer has won and been placed at Group 3PA level on his last two starts.
Both colts have beaten the Moroccan owned Nahim, who was most recently seen finishing sixth at Chantilly. However though still a maiden, he will be one of the most experienced entries, having already contested five PA Group races, finishing runner-up in both a Group 2PA and a Group 3PA.
Entered from Poland is the Central European Derby winner, Bahwan. That race is also run under the UAE President Cup banner and he won the race in a record time by over two lengths on Sunday.
Phil Collington, who has the best record of the current crop of domestic trainers with two third placings in 2021 and 2020, has three potential candidates who are all fillies. Thakeera Al Shahania was a course and distance winner on her UK debut last month, whilst Thaydah Athbah is unbeaten in two starts. He also has Lujain, a winner over a mile, who looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip should she run. Peter Hamersley, whose best effort in the race came with sixth placed Abiyah Athbah in 2018, has entered Coljani, who he bred in partnership, whilst another UK homebred, Pharitz Alanood, could be a first Derby runner for Mitchell Hunt, who is in his second season training Arabians alongside his thoroughbreds.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “ARO is delighted to receive so many entries from abroad, as well as some exciting young UK trained horses. Year on year this race crowns a progressive top-level horse, with the last winner, Abbes, going on to win the world’s most valuable race for Arabians, the $2.5 million HH The Amir Sword this February.
“We thank the UAE President Cup and Doncaster racecourse for supporting our racing this season and look forward to declarations on August 16th.”