The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) is looking forward to the Wathbastallions.com maiden over nine and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton on Tuesday 5th July in which a competitive field of well-bred runners line up. This is the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival’s first visit to the Midlands racecourse this season which promises to be an exciting contest.
Heading the field is Al Mahbooba, by champion racehorse and sire, Madjani. Her dam is a half-sister to that sire’s best son, the two-time Group1PA winner Handassa. Representing the James Owen Racing Club, she will be ridden by Miss Alice Stevens who recently won thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious race for lady amateur riders, the Queen Mother’s Cup at York and has amassed over 50 winners in point-to-points.
The six-year-old mare is one of three Shadwell Arabian produced runners, along with Labwah and Lujain who have either been leased or sold to new owners. Labwah is out of Neige Al Maury, a half-sister to another Shadwell Champion Sire and racehorse, No Risk Al Maury. She runs for the Connallys and is reunited with regular partner Miss Kelly Bostock. Like the Connallys, John Elliott has done well with ex-Shadwell mares, and he owns Lujain, a daughter of Wathba Stallions excellent sire Mahabb. She made a very promising debut under young apprentice Molly Presland when finishing third at Royal Windsor last month.
She is trained by Phil Collington, who is also responsible for the other three-year-old in the race, Kafou Athbah, who finished a length ahead of Lujain last time. Kafou Athbah is a half-brother to Bodour Athbah, a debut winner for Collington who has since gone on to further success in Saudi Arabia and has run in two of the world’s leading Arabian races, the Obaiya Arabian Classic and the Al Mneefah Cup. Kafou Athbah appears to hold a strong chance and will be partnered by Tom Marquand, who benefitted from the Festival’s Racing Scholarship Fund when undertaking a four-week placement in Australia in 2016.
Collington’s third candidate, Lewaa Athbah, who also carries the Athbah Racing colours, shares his sire with their most successful horse to date, Mashhur Al Kahlediah, winner of the Festival’s most prestigious race, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, another of the world’s most valuable Arabian races. Making his racecourse debut, he will be ridden by the in-form Charlie Price, who had partnered the aforementioned Bodour Athbah to her debut win. Completing the field is another debutant Al-Hatab, jointly owned by his breeder Julie Kelway and trainer Pete Hammersley. By the Group1PA winner, Tabarak, he is a full brother to Al-Tabari, twice a course winner at Wolverhampton, out of Altesse Kossack, winner of eight races including the UK stage of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship, another of the Festival’s valuable races, in 2013.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented: “ARO is excited to see such well-bred horses declared for this race generously supported by the Sheikh Mansoor Festival and it’s Wathba Stallions Cup series. It’s also great to see how many past connections the horse, trainers, owners and jockeys have to the Sheikh Mansoor Festival, which underlines its importance to our sport, particularly in the UK.”
She concluded: “We also thank the British Horseracing Authority and Wolverhampton racecourse for their assistance with our racing this season.”