Dubai International Arabian Races 2019
DIAR 2019 Premier Handicap Stakes at Chepstow and DIAR 2019 International Stakes at Newbury, UK
#DIAR2019 Prep Series continues in the UK

The Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) Prep Series continued in the UK this week with the rescheduled DIAR (0-105) Premier Handicap over 1m4f at Chepstow on Monday June 24. The original race had unfortunately been cancelled due to heavy overnight rain.

The series resumed the following day at Newbury racecourse, home of DIAR, with the first of two DIAR International Stakes races open to international runners, held over the same 1m2f (2000m) course as the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA), the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes (Gr1PA) and the UAE Embassy in London International Stakes. The second of these 1m2f prep races will be run on July 11th at Newbury, with the DIAR 2019 Juvenile Stakes confined to three-year-olds over 7f being run on July 4th, also at Newbury .

The prep race series are staged to encourage participation at the Dubai International Arabian Races at Newbury in July and winners and placed horses in each of the prep races across Europe will qualify for a bonus award, should they win one of the designated bonus races on DIAR on July 28. Further details of the bonus races and the awards can be found by visiting the DIAR website, links at the bottom of this newsletter.
The DIAR 2019 Premier (0-015) Handicap Stakes was won by RAFEEF ridden by Ellie Mackenzie and trained by James Owen for her owner-breeder, HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. She was a ready winner finishing clear of the proven stayer Saleemah, also for His Highness, with Hau Kola for John Elliot in third.This was a first win for Rafeef this season having been a neck second to her half-sister Farhaa over a mile on Wolverhampton's Tapeta surface earlier this month.

Owen was pleased with his fillies' performance saying: "We took her to Belgium for her first run this year and she had a nightmare trip, slipping on the bend and got going far too late. The we ran her here and I was so disappointed with her, but the form of that race has worked out quite well and I think a mile on decent ground was probably a bit too quick for her. We put the visor on her at Wolverhampton as she was running to help Farhaa really, as there were not many entries in that race and she ran really well for Antonia Peck. That was a conditions race so she didn't go up in the weights, making her well handicapped here, though I do think that the step up in trip and easier ground helped too."

When asked which race at DIAR on July 28 Rafeef would contest Owen replied: "It will be ground dependent. She will either go for the mile and half race, or if it's soft ground the mile, because you need to stay well in that. She was second in it last year."
Watch RAFEEF win the DIAR 2019 Premier (0-105) Handicap Stakes over 1m4f at Chepstow on June 24

The DIAR 2019 International Stakes was won by AL KAASER ridden by Mark Dwyer, he also trained by James Owen for his owner-breeder, HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Finishing well from off the pace was his other runner Farhaa, to be second, whilst Hizaam was third for the Royal Cavalry of Oman. This was a second win of for the five-year-old son of Munjiz who clearly appears to have benefitted from being gelded over the winter, as he is unbeaten in two starts this year, having won over 2 miles at Doncaster at the start of the month. This success puts the Newmarket based trainer on 10 winners for the season, seven clear of his nearest rival, Delyth Thomas.

Speaking after the race Owen commented:"Al Kaaser, I loved him last year, but he just got beat a couple of times - he got stuck in the mud here on DIAR - and was a bit colty. At Doncaster I thought he would win easily, but he only just won and I felt he looked a bit laboured, even with the cheekpieces, so we worked him in a visor and he worked really well. I've always thought he had a bit of class and he looked straight forward tonight. Martin was delighted with him, they didn't go very fast, but he was in the right position throughout the race and he kept galloping on well, even after they past the post. I'm pleased that he has shown he can win over this trip against good horses and he has more options for DIAR now.

"Farhaa got a bit worked up tonight. I know we won in Belgium with her, but this is her first time on Turf. It's a big occasion for her, and this is what it will be like at DIAR for her next month. She's learnt a lot tonight, she's only four and she did well tonight off a slow pace to get as close as she did."

Concluding he said:"They're both nice young horses who are progressive, we broke both of them in, so it's a great team effort. We've some fantastic riders at home and a new assistant trainer, Tim Bryce, who has been a massive help to me. He's experienced with thoroughbreds, but not Arabians, so he's learnt a lot too and it's working, the horses are in great form, so long may it continue."
Watch AL KAASER win the DIAR 2019 International Stakes 1m2f at Newbury on June 25
Win VIP hospitality at #DIAR2019
In a competition launched this month, DIAR has teamed up with the Arabian Racing Organisation and The Arabian Racehorse magazine to give away three pairs of tickets to DIAR 2019 on July 28. To win an exclusive VIP hospitality package which includes lunch and escorted trips to the paddock and the start, either visit The Arabian Racehorse magazine home page and follow the links, or go straight to page 6 of the current Spring 2019 edition of the magazine.
The Arabian Raceh o rse 
features photographs from 2017 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak (International) Best Photographer Award winner & Arabian Racing Organisation Official Photographer
Debbie Burt