The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) looks forward to the Wathba Stallions Cup (0-65) Handicap Stakes over a mile at Chepstow on Friday 8th July. This is the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival’s fifth race sponsorship of the 2022 ARO season and their first visit to the popular Welsh venue this year.
The Wathba Stallions Cup series aims to support the grass roots of the sport around the world which is reflected in the field headed by Sattam. The six-year-old gelding will be partnered by young amateur rider Freddie Gordon who will be making his debut in Arabian racing. However the son of Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon has had plenty of race riding experience since he won his first pony race at Cheltenham in 2019. This year the 16-year-old has had four winners under rules, most recently winning on the Flat at Brighton for his father. He was also runner-up in this season’s point-to-point novice men’s championship with 12 winners.
Another young amateur who has already gained a great start in the sport is Lewis Saunders, who partners the veteran Aljawaaher. Despite his 13 years, in two runs this term the pair have finished runner-up over seven furlongs and just over two miles, both races were part of the UK’s Wathba Stallions Cup series. Owned and trained by Steve Blackwell, Aljawaaher is one of the most locally based horses, along with Callymay who comes from the Delyth Thomas stable, just a few miles away from Blackwell. Thomas made a sparkling start to her season when Paramer Angel won on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury last week and the 12-year-old mare has already won three Wathba Stallions sponsored races during her career to date.
Bin Al Reeh is another former Wathba Stallions Cup winner having been successful on his reappearance at Bath last year. He faces similar conditions at Chepstow and has been placed on both his starts this season so far and is one of two runners trained by Pete Hammersley. Hammersley also runs Zayin Zyperion, a dual winner last season, including of a Wathba Stallions Cup, for his owner-breeder Paul Simmons of Zayin Arabians, a long-time supporter of Arabian racing. Completing the field is the lightly raced Heritage Valentino, a stablemate of Sattam, one of two horses James Owen trains for Heritage Valentino’s owner and part breeder, Mrs Skepper.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented: “Once again the past form of the runners today, several of which are homebreds, demonstrates the importance of the Wathba Stallions Cup series to the grassroots of our sport. UK Arabian racing is uniquely positioned in that it is the only opportunity for amateur riders to compete against professionals on the Flat in this country, thereby offering young riders the chance to gain valuable experience against seasoned older jockeys.
“ARO is most grateful for the continued sponsorship by the Sheikh Mansoor Festival and we also thank the British Horseracing Authority and all the staff at Chepstow racecourse for their assistance with our racing.”