The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted with the opening meeting of the 2017 UK Arabian racing season at Wolverhampton yesterday, sponsored by Botanica International Limited. The eight race card drew a very encouraging 67 Purebred Arabian runners, more than double the 2016 season opener. The highlight was a win for the newly appointed Racing Welfare Arabian Jockey Ambassador, Ellie Mackenzie. Demonstrating a fine judge of pace, MacKenzie on the Peter Hammersley trained Majid Bin Krayaan took the lead from over a furlong out to win by three and a half lengths, with MacKenzie riding out her ARO claim in the process.
“It’s such an honour to be appointed the Arabian Jockey Ambassador to Racing Welfare” smiled MacKenzie. “And to ride a winner on my first start in the sponsored breeches is brilliant and also for Majid’s owner HH Sheikha Maryam bint Al Maktoum. The season couldn’t have started in a better way and I am looking forward to promoting both Arabian Racing and Racing Welfare.”
Racing Welfare Chief Executive Dawn Goodfellow tweeted her congratulations saying: “Great start to the partnership with Racing Welfare, well done Ellie Mackenzie.”
Both maiden races were well supported with a significant number of young horses declared, the Botanica International Newcomers Maiden formed the first leg of a double for former 2015 ARO Champion Novice Will Pettis and trainer Philip Collington with Shoomos Athbah. Hau Kola winning the Botanica International (0-90) Handicap was also significant as he had provided Collington with his debut winner as a trainer, exactly a year ago.
It was a great start for Collington who commented: “I’m really pleased with Shamoos Athbah, she settled really nicely and showed good turn of foot. Hau Kola knuckled down well and both horses should progress from here.”
There were doubles too for Mike Palmer on Supermalc in the Botanica International Natural Herbal Cream (0-35) Handicap for his long time supporter Adam Newey. He then followed up in the Botanica International Open Maiden in the HH Sheikh Hamdan colours on Eqleem for James Owen and is now one winner off losing his claim.
Palmer was ecstatic saying: “A big thank you to Adam and James, they’re both excellent horsemen, and I’ve learnt a lot from them – I ride out at both yards every week. I’ve also being working with Dr George Wilson at John Moores Liverpool University on my fitness and diet to get an extra edge this winter. I spend as much time as I can at Oaksey House – the staff are excellent especially Michael Peacock the gym manager and Dominic Elsworth is my jockey coach. Dominic has been a great influence on my riding, and also my mindset, how I approach racing, which I needed to work on. I can’t wait for Taunton and tomorrow I start my first day’s trial as amateur jockey to Richard Hughes.”
2016 ARO Champion Trainer James Owen also recorded a double for HH Sheikh Hamdan when Emiraaty and Antonia Peck won the feature race, the Botanica Natures Healing Energy Purebred Arabian Open Handicap. “I’m delighted with Emiraaty, he always tries, we will wait and go for one of the DIAR prep races with him now. I’m so pleased for Antonia and also for Mike, Antonia’s lost her claim now and Mike’s the hardest working guy you could meet, he’s very dedicated. Eqleem is a strong stayer, he wouldn’t have been the first choice of my runners, but that’s racing.”
There was a quick-fire double too for jockey David Turner in the third and fourth races. Tameh in the Botanica International (0-75) Handicap was a significant win for the Royal Cavalry of Oman who have returned to the UK with nine horses after an absence. The Botanica International 5-in-1 Spray (0-50) Handicap saw a win for newly appointed ARO Director Paul Simmons with his homebred Zayin Indian Fuego – a first UK winner for the stallion DA Adios, America’s leading all-time money earning racehorse.
Turner was pleased by Zayin Indian Fuego saying: “Obviously Pete [Hammersley] has been doing a good job with him, and gelding has helped. I’ve been riding out there over the winter and wasn’t surprised to see him train two winners today. The Omani horse won easier than I thought, though he needs another two furlongs. I’ve also been riding out at Wargrave since the Royal Cavalry came back to the UK, but I’m not that familiar with their horses yet.”
Gemma Cobb, ARO Racing Operations Executive was thrilled saying:”It has been a superb start to the season, with such a high number of runners and an increase in young horses, it couldn’t have been a better day. We thank all the team at Wolverhampton and look forward to returning here on June 17.
“A win for our Racing Welfare Jockey Ambassador Ellie MacKenzie bodes well for this new initiative too. We are also delighted to see new owners registered, as well as the return to the UK of both Dr Al Nujaifi and the Royal Cavalry of Oman. The Royal Cavalry have been long term sponsors of Arabian racing in the UK and it’s good to see them have a winner.”
She continued:”ARO gives a warm welcome to a new sponsor to Arabian racing in Botanica International and we thank Sean Cooney for his generous support and enthusiasm. Clearly Arabian racing in the UK is flourishing and we eagerly anticipate the next ARO fixture at Taunton on May 21.”
Photo: Ellie MacKenzie riding Majid Bin Krayaan to win the Botanica International Cleansing Wash (0-65) Handicap at Wolverhampton
(C) Debbie Burt – Equine Creative Media 2017