Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) has once again shown support for Arabian Racing around the globe with support for a series of National races in the United Kingdom.
For the first time in 2012, Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club has very generously offered support for a series of 13 qualifier races, held over a period of 6 months, and culminating in the Gold & Silver Finals at Salisbury Racecourse in September.
This series has at least one qualifier race at every ARO fixture, and has for a long time been the chief target for UK owners & trainers looking to win the ultimate prize in the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Gold Final.
ARO Racing Manager, Antonia Newman, commented “QREC has once again recognised the need to support races on a national scale and at all levels of the Arabian horse population. It is a privilege to work with such a prestigious racing organisation, whose support in the UK highlights QREC’s continued and invaluable contribution to Arabian Racing world wide”.
We have seen 5 competitive races so far this summer at racecourses across the UK, including Wolverhampton, Hereford, Taunton & Fakenham. 36 horses have qualified so far for the Series Finals – and what an exciting spectacle those two races look set to become.
ARO is pleased to include below a short review of each of the qualifier races so far this season, and would like to thank QREC for their ongoing support.
Wolverhampton, Saturday 5 May
The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Purebred Arabian Series got off to a great start with two races at Wolverhampton on Saturday 5 May.
The first of these races was a sprint for horses rated 0-70. Seven horses from seven different stables went to post, with Jamaahir the choice of the betting public. ARO Champion Jockey Simon Walker was content to settle the market leader in the middle of the field with The Royal Cavalry Of Oman’s Mulheb before letting the early pace be set by Raihan and Biloube. Raihan battled to keep her lead but weakened when turning into the home straight and gave away too much ground by drifting to the stand side rail.
Simon Walker rode a clever race on Jamaahir, switching her into space in the straight to make a challenge. It was nearly successful but they could not quite get to Omani rider Yasser Al Senaidi on Mulheb who led from the furlong marker and won by three quarters of a length. This was a well timed ride by Mr Al Senaidi who has also recently started to ride on the Fegentri circuit. His infectious enthusiasm for the sport is very encouraging and well received by UK Racegoers. Mulheb is owned and bred by The Royal Cavalry of Oman and started what is proving to be a very successful season for their retained trainer, Salim Al Hakmani.
Wolverhampton, Saturday 5 May
The second Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Qualifier was for horses rated 0-55 run over a mile. This competitive handicap featured eleven runners with Djazira starting as 3-1 favourite. Unfortunately she lingered too long at the start and, although she made encouraging progress through the field, had too much to do and faded tamely.
The race had no obvious front runner but Cosmic Girl, Mahbaishi and Samauring Zayin were all prominent in the early stages with Terminators Dream, a notoriously tricky ride, settled in behind. Mahbaishi was unlucky not to maintain his position but he ran a satisfactory race, only weakening in the final furlong.
Selena Farnese’s Cosmic Girl had a busy year in 2011 competing against some of the best group horses around. Although arguably out of her depth in some of those races, she benefited from the experience and was in a much more realistic grade here. Partnered by one of ARO’s top lady riders Anna Wallace, she defied top weight and had the race wrapped up from half way. In the last two furlongs she ran on very encouragingly and won by two and a half lengths going away.
Taunton, Saturday 12 May
In contrast to a cold and wintery start to the season at Wolverhampton, Arabian racing returned to Taunton bathed in glorious sunshine and well supported by an enthusiastic crowd. Despite fears over the ground in the run up to the meeting, some welcome rain had eased the surface to good to firm, good in places.
A non-runner in the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (Series Qualifier) produced a match between seasonal debutants Al Batra’a and Marwah over 7 furlongs. Though being pressed for the lead from two out, the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s mare Al Batra’a stuck her head out and gamely held on despite flashing her tail under pressure. HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Marwah had won well over further at Hereford last year but had failed here to progress. Down in class, she battled on well but was unable to close at the finish, beaten a length.
Fakenham, Sunday 17 June
Seven runners went to post for the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Handicap (Series Qualifier) over a mile. Selena Farnese’s Cosmic Girl, a previous winner in this series although at a lesser grade, was sent off favourite. Anna Wallace kept her in touch with the early leaders Raihan and Aberllwyds Pharelma throughout.
Raihan went clear in the final stages but threw her chance away by running wide on the home bend allowing Anna Wallace to drive this diminutive mare through to lead in the straight and though Scott Bradbury was able to galvanise his mount it was too late. The fast finishing Wourette caught the eye from the bottom of the handicap taking third on her first start this term.
Hereford, Sunday 3 June
A good crowd refused to let the rain dampen their spirits for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Racemeeting, the first of two ARO meetings to be held at Hereford this year. Despite overnight rain the official going was still good to firm for the opener, but as the rain increased, the going was changed to good for the third race before changing again to good, good to soft by the last.
The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Handicap Stakes over 1m 1f looked a competitive event on paper. Katwalk, Jamaahir and Altesse Kossack were last seen in the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) at Newbury, the later finishing a creditable fourth and had been dropped 2lb. Katwalk was made favourite ahead of the Royal Cavalry’s Wathiq, fit from a campaign in Oman, who had been consistently placed when last seen in the UK in 2010.
By halfway Biloube, Katwalk, Altesse Kossack, Wathiq and recent winner Wikkara, had drawn clear of the field, though Wikkara found the rise in weight and class beyond him and faded from 3f out. Rounding the home turn it was anybody’s race though Biloube weakened first as Altesse Kossack went clear, staying on strongly to win by two lengths, with Wathiq pressed for second, just holding on by half a length from Katwalk who kept on well under a strong drive from Rob Woollard.
Remaining Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Qualifier Races are well spread across the country, with Hereford, Huntingdon, Uttoxeter & Nottingham all well supported venues. Salisbury Racecourse plays host to the Series Finals on Sunday 9 September. For further details on these and other UK Arabian Racing fixtures, please visit www.aroracing.co.uk or call +44 (0)1635 524445.
Race Reviews by Debbie Burt
Photos courtesy of thejockey.co.uk
For more photos and a pdf copy of this report, please click the download link below.