Scyphios leads Moshahed (blue), Sadiq (green & yellow) and Mudalal in the Newbury home straight.
The Royal Cavalry of Oman has been the Arabian Racing Organisation’s Associate Sponsor since 2011, generously sponsoring a total of 31 races with ARO during the current UK racing season. These races have included a series of handicaps which qualified runners for the Premier Handicap Final held at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday 18 August. The race was the first on a nine race card as part of the racecourse’s annual Ladies Day which attracted a record crowd of 30,000 Racegoers and had been sold out well in advance.
Unfortunately Hidalgo was unable to take part due to transportation problems, so a small but select field of six went to post on ground officially described as good to firm. The entries for the one mile contest were headed by the Group 1 winner HARRAN, representing Al Shahania Stud. He was fancied to continue his fine run of form this season, having already beaten the sponsor’s SCYPHIOS, on their two most recent starts.
SCYPHIOS was quickly away and was travelling strongly ahead of the Gill Duffield trained pair of MOSHAHED and SADIQ, with HARRAN close up in fourth. Last year’s winner, MUDALAL was just behind with the other course and distance winner, AMBROSE, who broke awkwardly from the stalls. Entering the final two furlongs Martin Smith brought HARRAN to challenge, however he didn’t pick up and faded tamely as Royston French galvanised SCYPHIOS and drew clear to win by a length and a half.
HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s consistent MOSHAHED lacked the pace of the winner but stayed on for second, ahead of stablemate SADIQ for his Dutch owner-breeder Mrs De Ruiter-Floor, who is enjoying her first season racing Arabians in the UK.
This was the third consecutive year that Salim Al Hakmani had trained the winner of this race for the Royal Cavalry of Oman and he thanked Brigadier AbdulRazak Alshahwarzi for trusting him to train their horses and was delighted with his horses’ run. He had anticipated an improvement for the fitting of blinkers and had felt going into the race that he was capable of turning the tables on Harran. “From the start he was travelling very, very well and when in the last three furlongs he had to push him a bit, I could see he was still very strong, all the way to the finish, so I am very pleased with him.”
Of SCYPHIOS’s next start, he expects him to return to Newbury for the Group 1 Zaabeel International Stakes over 6f on Dubai International Arabian Raceday on Sunday 23 September.
The Royal Cavalry of Oman are dedicated to the promotion and development of equine breeding and racing and are based on the outskirts of Oman’s capital Muscat and in the Royal County of Berkshire. Their annual Arabian Raceday will take place this Saturday (25 August) at Nottingham Racecourse.