Athbah Racing’s unbeaten colt Rebal Athbah heads the runners for the Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons (0-85) Handicap at Lingfield Park on Wednesday 24th August. The mile and a quarter contest will be the fourth renewal of Rossdales sponsorship of Arabian racing at the Surrey track, having previously supported races at Lingfield Park in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
Three-time winner Rebal Athbah also holds a UAE President Cup – UK Arabian Derby entry and has already proven himself over the course and distance of that event when winning a similar mile and a quarter handicap at the Doncaster track. On Wednesday he will be partnered for the first time by ten times UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, a regular in the Athbah silks. O’Shea will no doubt be keen to see how he compares with their other Derby contender Ekleel Athbah on whom he recently won a Group 2PA contest.
His trainer Phil Collington commented: “Rebal’s in good form and ready for Lingfield. On the ratings it looks like Zayin Angkor Centurion will give him a harder time and he’ll have to step up again, but we’re pleased with what he’s shown us so far.”
On paper he could be expected to progress at Lingfield, however it will be the four-year-old Athbah homebreds’ first outing on an All Weather surface, whilst his two opponents from Zayin Arabians are both proven winners on the Polytrack surface. Zayin Angkor Centurion’s wins did come over shorter, however excuses can be made for his previous defeats at this distance, including when contesting a Group 1PA contest and he certainly looked fit and well when fourth to the aforementioned Ekleel Athbah earlier this month in Group company. He will be ridden by current ARO leading jockey Charlie Price, who started his career on Arabians before taking out his conditional licence and joining Tim Vaughan.
Zayin Zyperion is already a course and distance winner and has twice won for his regular rider Joey Haynes over a mile, including at Chepstow last month. Since then the seven-year-old has been stepped up in grade finishing second at Brighton and their trainer Peter Hammersley is bullish of their chances saying: “It’s a very interesting race, I couldn’t really choose between my two. Zayin Angkor Centurion is dropping back to handicap company for the first time in four years, and the only time he ran at this grade he won. Zayin Zyperion is stepping up in class, but he’s been doing so well this season, winning and placing last time. Rebal Athbah has won both his races this year, but I don’t think I could confidently choose between the three, we’re looking forward to taking him on.”
Mike Shepherd, Managing Clinical Director at Rossdales, said: “Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons is delighted to continue supporting Arabian horseracing through our association with ARO. Rossdales has been closely connected with the racing and breeding industries in and around Newmarket for many years, and now also through our branch practices in Hertfordshire and Lambourn.”
“Our dedicated teams of racing and stud vets work closely with many racehorse trainers and stud farms, including a number of longstanding clients who breed and train Arabian racehorses. We’re very much looking forward to seeing who will win this year’s renewal of our sponsored Arabian race at Lingfield.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said: “ARO was thrilled that Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons chose to continue their association with us and despite only receiving three declarations from a possible eight, it still looks a very competitive race, with the likely favourite having to prove his credentials on Lingfield’s Polytrack. It is also pleasing that all the runners are homebreds, as ARO continues in its mission to support owner-breeders through our breeders scheme.
“We look forward to welcoming Rossdale’s representative Joshua Davison to present the trophies and we also thank the British Horseracing Authority and all the team at Lingfield Park for supporting our racing this season.”