On Sunday 27th May 2012, The Curragh Racecourse in Ireland hosts the second leg of the world renowned President of the UAE Cup Series, The Original Arabian Purebred Classic Series.
The Arabian Racing Organisation is delighted to announce that 6 top quality horses and some very significant jockey bookings have been declared to run in this prestigious contest, the first International race of ARO’s 2012 season. Five of the six riders in this race have been Champion Jockeys in their country – both in professional and amateur racing. This creates an extra dimension to the race and will guarantee added interest from both the Irish racegoers and International television viewers. A truly fantastic promotion of the growing sport of Arabian Racing.
Leading the weights are Group 1 winners Aziz, Harran and Areej, all trained by Julian Smart. Aziz had a very successful summer in the UK last season where he picked up both Group races for Sprint horses – The Al Hai Group Zaabeel International Stakes (Group 1 PA) and The Royal Cavalry Of Oman Clarendon International Stakes (Group 3 PA). He followed his UK campaign with an equally impressive winter in Qatar where he won two top quality Group 1 races. Darren Williams has been booked to ride after piloting the horse to his biggest win to date in the H.H The Emir’s Sword in March this year. The Emir’s Sword is run over 1m 4f (2,400m) so stamina is clearly not an issue for him. If he’s at his best, this versatile one-eyed horse will be tough to beat.
Aziz’s stable mate Areej was just touched off in last year’s Emirates NBD Hatta International Stakes (Group 1 PA) at Newbury on Dubai International Arabian Raceday but she more than made up for this defeat by winning the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Group 1 PA) at Longchamp in October. She had a better run of the race than stablemate, Aziz, who finished strongly in second. Three time UK champion flat jockey and latest Ballydoyle recruit Ryan Moore takes the ride for the first time. This is a highly significant booking and can only serve to increase the appeal of this race to the UK television viewers and punters.
Harran has not run in the UK since 2010 when he failed to shed his maiden tag in two attempts. However he too had a Group 1 success this year winning the Qatar International Trophy in Doha. Irish jockey Declan McDonogh is in the saddle for his first ride in a Purebred Arabian Race in Ireland or the UK. Known colloquially as ‘The Enforcer’ there is no doubt that the 2006 Irish Champion Jockey will be giving every ounce to get Harran in the shake up.
Although the three Qatar runners will probably be vying for favouritism, there are strong challengers from elsewhere. Bill Smith has an unblemished record in this race. He and jockey Simon Walker won last year with Theoretically who surprised punters by beating the odds-on favourite. This year he runs American bred horse, Chinaactic who is having only his second start for Bill after winning on his UK debut in the Emirates Equestrian Federation Stakes earlier this month. Once again Multiple Champion Amateur jockey Simon Walker takes the ride who, although being the only amateur rider in the race, knows everything there is to know about riding Arabian horses.
ARO’s Champion trainer, Gill Duffield, fields the consistent handicapper, El Adjban. He won a Premier Handicap last year and ran two excellent races when third to Aziz in both his 2011 UK victories. Connections of El Adjban can be assured their horse will receive an excellent ride from by Pat Smullen who has won the Irish Champion title an incredible six times since the turn of the century.
Tidarbret started the 2012 season by running very impressively to finish third behind Chinaactic in the Emirates Equestrian Federation Stakes. Five time Irish Champion Jockey Johnny Murtagh was unlucky on the odds on favourite last year when Simon Walker got up to beat him but he can be assured of a good effort from Tidarbret who always tries extremely hard in his races.