The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was thrilled to learn that their entries for the Group 2PA Royal Cavalry of Oman International Stakes were headed by Fateenah, a Royal Cavalry homebred and their first UK entry since 2019. This is the fifth and final race that the Royal Cavalry are supporting with ARO as part of their sponsorship package for the 2022 season. Worth £20,000, the six-furlong sprint will be held on August 13th at Newbury racecourse as the opening race of BetVictor Hungerford Day. In addition, prior to racing, Dr Sarhan Salim Al Zeidi, Director General of the Royal Cavalry of Oman will plant a Silver Birch tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative to commemorate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
The Royal Cavalry have had a long association with this event having won it four times under the previous sponsorship when the race was run as part of Dubai International Arabian Races at Newbury – three times with Al Mouhannad (2013, 2014, 2015) and also with her brother Al Chammy (2018). This year they enter Fateenah a four- year-old mare by Dahess, co-incidentally the only other horse to have won the race three times (2005, 2006, 2007). Trained in France by Frederic Sanchez, Fateenah has twice won over seven furlongs and was placed at this level over a mile in the Prix Damas in May, though this will be her first attempt at this trip. Sanchez has a near perfect record in UK PA Group races, winning twice and placing once from three runners.
Current leading ARO trainer Phil Collington may have a strong hand for Athbah Racing, potentially led by last year’s winner Bayan Athbah. In winning she broke the track record that had stood since 2010, however due to a systems failure, the race was hand-timed at 1.17.65. On her seasonal reappearance over course and distance in preparation for this race, she was beaten by her stablemate Ekleel Athbah, who also finished inside the 2010 record, timed officially at 1.18.11. They could also be joined by the unbeaten Rebal Athbah, who had an untroubled passage on his latest start over further and is another who would be trying this sprint trip for the first time.
Five-time top ARO trainer James Owen has had a quieter season, however he has won a Royal Cavalry of Oman sponsored Group race at the track before with Awzaan in the Clarendon Stakes. This year he has entered Gary Allsopp’s Balqees who gave Allsopp a month to remember, providing him his first winner in his own colours when she beat Ekleel Athbah by a neck over a mile, in the same month that Cachet, who he is also involved with, won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Reappearing for another crack at this race will be Dilmun Racing’s Abiyah Athbah and Zayin Arabian’s Zayin Angkor Centurion, both trained by Peter Hammerlsey. Abiyah Athbah was fourth last year, whilst Zayin Angkor Centurion was fifth in 2019. Another in the mix could be Delyth Thomas’s Paramer Angel, a winner at this track on his season reappearance beating Balqees in a photo, he has been runner-up over this trip, but all three of his victories have been over further.
Colonel Mohammed Al Hadi, the Royal Cavalry’s Assistant Director General, who was present for their most recently sponsored race at Royal Windsor, spoke about the progress that has been made with Arabian racing in Oman.
“The breeding programme has been expanded so we’re breeding most of the Arabian horses for our races. We use AI along with our own stallions in Oman to improve our horses by using the best bloodlines available, such as those of Amer and other good stallions.
“In a new initiative we will be selling some of the foals which is something that we’ve not done before. Certainly domestically, but maybe internationally too, that will be up to the department to decide.
“Our racing season starts in October and now includes Arabian and thoroughbred races for the local people, along with the big says like the National Day, which moves around the country to encourage new people to get involved. The new focus is on the people of Oman to encourage them to learn much more about the horses and to get them to own their own horses. We want more domestic owners, along with the Cavalry and Police so that we have good competition, and it helps the sport to grow in Oman.”
Genny Haynes, ARO CEO commented: “We were delighted when the Royal Cavalry of Oman decided to take over sponsorship of this race last year and are thrilled for them to have a horse entered in their flagship UK race. The Royal Cavalry have been welcome competitors and generous sponsors here in the UK for so many years and we look forward to Dr Sarhan Salim Al Zeidi joining us on Saturday at a track at which they have had so many important successes and to join in with HM The Queen’s jubilee celebrations.
“ARO also thanks Newbury racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority for their continued support of our racing and our international competitors.”