The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) looks forward to watching the UK’s leading Arabian mares going head-to-head at Lingfield Park on Tuesday 15 August in the £4,000 www.aroracing.co.uk International Conditions Stakes. The seven-furlong contest is headed by two-time Group 2PA winner Ekleel Athbah, who so far, has beaten multiple black type placed Abiyah Athbah on three occasions.
Athbah Racing’s Ekleel Athbah is all speed, having set the six-furlong track record for the breed at Newbury last year, in a race that Dilmun Racing’s Abiyah Athbah finished third. Since then, she has scored twice at Group 2PA level at that distance, but in between, when tried over a mile and a quarter in the Saudi Cup’s Al Mneefah Cup this February, her stamina was shown to be lacking in black type company. She will also be reunited with Tom Marquand who rode the mare to break her maiden over a mile at Windsor last year. Whilst on that evidence this race should be a formality for the Phil Collington trained five-year-old, on every occasion she has raced on artificial surfaces, both in the UK and in Belgium, she has been the runner-up.
Bred by Athbah Racing, Abiyah Athbah has been a game and consistent performer for her current owners. She comes from the yard of Peter Hammersley, who this weekend celebrated 40 years of training since sending out his first runner, El Rih Sarsar on the 13 August 1983. Though he’s not trained continuously, since 2007 he’s recorded 83 winners under ARO rules and will be hoping that Abiyah Athbah can be number 84. Like many of her multiple Group 1PA winning sire Jaafer ASF’s stock, she has shown a great liking for All Weather tracks, winning three times, including at this distance at Chelmsford and in a top-level handicap over further at this track. She will be ridden for the first time by Mohammed Tabti.
Both horses will be using this as a prep race for black type races later in the season, most likely the £20,000 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup. The Group3PA contest over a mile at Haydock on Sprint Cup day has been won by Collington on four occasions, whilst Abiyah Athbah was second last year and third the year before.
The field is completed by James Owen Racing Club’s homebred half-sisters, Mayfair and Victoria. Owen, currently leading in the ARO trainer’s table, having been top Arabian trainer on five previous occasions, has also made a great start to his career under rules since taking out his full BHA licence last autumn. He has a policy of supporting his stable amateurs when they can do the weights and though Rhea Betts and Teagan Padgett will be unable to claim in this race, they have proved a valuable addition to his team when they can, with ARO newcomer Padgett, currently heading the jockey’s table on four wins.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “It’s great to see our two highest rated mares go head-to-head again in preparation for bigger targets this season, whilst it’s good to see our younger UK bred fillies gain valuable experience whilst supporting our amateur riders too.
“We also thank Baker McVeigh International who will be present to select the winner of the Best Turned Out award on Tuesday.”