The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) and long-term sponsor the Royal Cavalry of Oman head to Royal Windsor racecourse on Sunday 7th August for their Al Jalali Fort Novice Stakes over a mile. The race looks a fascinating contest featuring a number of young horses seeking to improve on their initial runs, though they will face two more experienced older horses who have yet to win.
At the top of the weights is Sattam for James Owen’s new Kuwati owner, Mohammed Sultan Alajmi. The six-year-old made a very promising start, finishing runner-up on his debut before a creditable fourth in the UAE President Cup – UK Arabian Derby, however his career has stalled after an injury, and he had not made the frame until his latest outing at Chepstow when finishing second. Owen is also represented by Al Mahbooba, carrying the silks of his Racing Club. She has been kept off the top spot by a number of promising young horses and may do again, though she has finished ahead of her nearest rival on ratings, Lujain, when they recently met at Wolverhampton over two furlongs further.
Lujain is one of two three-year-old fillies in the race, along with Owen’s first ever homebred, Mayfair, who runs in his wife, Jenny’s colours. Lujain finished ahead of Mayfair as well as Zikada Zayin and Sattam when they met over course and distance earlier in the year and reportedly didn’t enjoy the Tapeta surface when she was third at Wolverhampton. Returning to turf should help and John Elliott’s filly continues to be partnered by young apprentice Molly Presland, though her riders’ claim has been reduced to five pounds since she last rode her.
Speaking after Tijaary’s win at Brighton on Friday Owen said: “I think Al Mahbooba has run great on her last two runs, I was a little disappointed at Newbury, we didn’t make enough use of her there in a slowly run race, which probably caught her out but she’s a real trier even though she keeps finishing second. Something with a bit of class will always beat her. Mayfair’s strengthened up for a break so she could run into a place and we’ve Sattam who’s returning to novice company having been placed in a handicap.”
Also lining up will be two more British home breds in Al-Hatab and Zikada Zayin. Al-Hatab is trained by Pete Hammersley who is owns the four-year-old in partnership with his breeder Julie Kelway. A confirmed entry for this year’s UAE President Cup – UK Arabian Derby in September, he will again be ridden by stable amateur, Paddy Barlow. Barlow was the steady hand on the reins on the colt’s debut when finishing behind Al Mahbooba and Lujain, and he would be expected to take a step forward after that outing.
Zayin Arabian’s Zikada Zayin is also expected to improve on her debut when she crossed the line behind Lujain and Mayfair, though ahead of Sattam. On pedigree she has a chance as her full brother, Zayin Zyperion, is already twice a winner at this trip. Mitchell Hunt, who also trains thoroughbreds for Zayins’ Paul Simmons, will be hoping that current ARO leading jockey Charlie Price, who was on board for Zikada Zayin’s debut, can help her add to the family scoresheet.
This is the fourth race that the Royal Cavalry are sponsoring with ARO this year as part of their five-race package for the season. This race is named after Al Jalali Fort, built in the harbour of Old Muscat by the Portuguese in the 1600’s. Accessible only via steep flight of steps it has served as a refuge and more recently as Oman’s main prison, however in 1983 it was restored as a private museum of Oman’s cultural heritage, admissible via a permit from the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture. Their sponsorship package concludes with their annual highlight, the Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes, a Group 2PA six-furlong sprint worth £20,000 to be held on August 13 at Newbury racecourse, for which entries close on Tuesday 9th August at 12 noon.
Genny Haynes, ARO CEO commented: “We’re delighted to be back at Royal Windsor with the Royal Cavalry of Oman as it is a racecourse they have a great history with, having sponsored many races here in the past. We look forward to welcoming their representative, Colonel Mohammed Al Hadi, the Royal Cavalry’s Assistant Director General, to watch this competitive race and present the trophies.
“ARO also thanks Royal Windsor racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority for their continued support of our racing.”