The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) looks forward to returning to Chepstow this Friday, July 28th for the Wathbastallions.com (0-75) Handicap Stakes, in which Upstart Crow and amateur Teagan Padgett seek a four-timer. They will face nine other runners in the £4,000 contest to be run over a mile as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival sponsored series of races.
The six-year-old, who is ridden daily by Lissie Reeves, daughter of owner Linda, may still be improving. “Everybody told me he would be good, but I never thought he’d win a race!” commented Reeves at trainer James Owen’s Green Stables. “He was quite weak as a four-year-old and the year off from racing really gave him the chance to strengthen up. I try not to think about the race too much, but he always tries his hardest. It’s great that Teagan has got to know him at home, when he won at Brighton last time it was the most settled in a race he’s ever been.”
Their biggest challenge on Friday may come from Upstart Crow’s breeder, John Elliott. He and partner Teresa Kinsey are the owners of Lujain, trained a few yards further down Newmarket’s Hamilton Road by Phil Collington. Lujain is also proven at the trip and is making a significant drop in class from her last outing.
Speaking on Tuesday morning Collington said, “Lujain ran a fantastic race at Doncaster on her first start of the season, carrying a penalty, and we know now that the six furlongs at Chester in the Group 2PA was too short for her. Back to a mile will be ideal, Chepstow is a lovely galloping track and if she’s going to take her place in the Derby next month, this should set her up nicely.”
Owen also sends Jaahez and Mayfair who have both finished runner-up to their stablemate this season, whilst Coljani will be hoping to improve again on his recent second in a novice at Wolverhampton. His trainer Peter Hammersley was encouraged by that performance saying, “He had a few issues prior to the Brighton run which we sorted out with some physio and we were really pleased with how he was moving at Wolverhampton. Any ease in the ground should be fine too, we’re still hoping to go to Doncaster for the Derby with him.”
Local trainers, Steve Blackwell and Delyth Thomas are also represented, Blackwell with course winner Aloof, and her year younger half-sister Sassy, whilst Thomas runs another course winner in Paramer Angel, who goes well fresh and is making his seasonal debut. Also making his reappearance will be former Group 3PA sprint winner Storm Troupour who has moved trainers to Somerset based Mitchell Hunt. In his second season with Arabians alongside his thoroughbreds, Hunt also sends Zikada Zayin.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “ARO thanks the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival for their generous support of our grassroots races through the Wathba Stallions series. Friday’s race looks really competitive and should round off a great evening’s racing at Chepstow. We also thank Rhys Flint who will be representing Racing Welfare to present their Best Turned Out Award.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Horse Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed as strategic partner, The National Library & Archives as the official partner , MUBADALA as the official partner,Emirates Airline as the official carrier, Etisalat as official sponsor & sponsored by Al Massood Automobiles Nissan, Areej Alameerat, Omeir Travels Agency, YAS Sports TV, Viola Communications, the UAE’s General Women’s Union , Emirates International Endurance Village, Emirates Arabian Horse Society & Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.