Wolverhampton Review

The Royal Cavalry of Oman's sponsorship of ARO fixtures continued at Wolverhampton last Sunday, with six of the seven races supported. Former ARO Champion Novice Jockey Charlie Price rattled up a three-timer with Al Muthana and Al Monther for HH Sheikh Hamdan and Phil Collington and the evergreen Noble Athlete [right] for Delyth Thomas.

Collington tasted further success with recent Chepstow winner Halib Des Forges ridden by Will Pettis; whilst His Highness recorded four wins when Al Kaaser came home in front under Joanna Mason for James Owen.

Also off the mark for the season was Beverley Deutrom when her homebred Pharitz Fahr made a pleasing handicap debut, whilst there was more owner-breeder success for sisters Nicola Buchan and Sarah Innes when James Harding took the initiative on Nicsar Diamond Jubilee to win the longest race of the day.

Watch Al Muthana (Al Jakbar x Qusoor) and Charlie Price win the Royal Cavalry of Oman Congratulations Gary Capewell on 1000 Commentaries Maiden Stakes 7f

Speaking of his win in the first race Price said:"Al Muthana is a nice three-year-old, who I've ridden a couple of times at Phil's. I try to go up once a week to ride out there. The hood kept him settled, he wasn't too green and he ran a really nice race, he kept galloping to the line."

Collington echoed those sentiments saying:"He was very pleasing, showing a professional attitude on his debut. He is only one of two Al Jakbar's I have."

There was further success for the family in the second, as Al Monther's dam Ietlato De Carrere is also the grandam of Al Muthana. Al Monther looked a little outpaced over the same trip at Chepstow, however Collington attributed his improvement to the surface saying:" Al Monther is a very honest horse who tries his best. He seemed to appreciate the surface at Wolverhampton."

Watch Al Monther (Monsieur Al Maury x Ietlato De Carrere) and Charlie Price win the Royal Cavalry of Oman Maiden Stakes 1m

Price's third win quickly followed with the sixteen-year-old Noble Athlete who was having his first start over six furlongs since 2011. Recording his seventeenth victory, Noble Athlete actually broke his maiden at the course way back in 2007 over 1m1f. He has since won at the track a further three times on both the old Polytrack and now Tapeta.

He commented:"He's my favourite horse to ride. He was out of his depth at Chepstow in the higher grade at his age last time. You really have to know him to ride him, but I know that horse off by heart having won three races on him in 2016. You just have to keep him happy and keep him focussed in front. As long as he gets his way, he'll run the right race for you. He got his way today, he jumped off quick and I kept on to him the whole way, I knew Simon [Walker] was there but I wasn't worried. 'George' will just battle on all day long. He's a legend."

Watch Noble Athlete (Dorwan Du Cayrou x Noble Dame) and Charlie Price win theHappy 9th Birthday Elsie (0-65) Hcp Stakes 6f
Pharitz Fahr was a welcome first UK winner of the new season for Beverley Deutrom who also bred the colt. He had been runner-up in both his previous starts and travelled really strongly in his first attempt at a mile in the hands of David Turner, readily going clear and finishing in command, eased down.

After the race Deutrom commented:"I've always liked him, he's a quality individual. Just a bit green still and maybe a little bit quirky, but he's got plenty of ability. I had wanted to take him to France, to Chantilly this weekend, but unfortunately it hasn't panned out. We had a bit of a virus in the yard and things haven't gone how I wanted, so we'll just sit tight and pick the right race for him."

Watch Pharitz Fahr (Munjiz x Laila) and David Turner win the www.omanair.com (0-75) Handicap Stakes 1m
In the fifth race, Halib Des Forges confirmed his good run of form following up on his recent Chepstow win dropped back to a mile. He was already a course winner here on his UK debut last season, also for Will Pettis, and though lost his way subsequently, seems to have been revitalised over the winter.

Trainer Collington was delighted with his performance saying:"Halib Des Forges has proved himself to be very versatile this year with trip and also ground. He's probably just a shade unlucky not to have won three in a row."

Watch Halib Des Forges (Mahabb x Djosera Des Forges) and Will Pettis win the Sultanate of Oman Open Handicap Stakes 1m
In the sixth race Al Kaaser maintained his unbeaten record, having won on his debut on the Polytrack at Chelmsford City last season over six furlongs, also for Joanna Mason. The colt still showed signs of greeness in the finish, but ran on well ahead of four previous winners.

This was HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's fourth win of the day and trainer James Owen was thrilled with his colt's performance saying:"He's learning all the time. He goes nicely at home and we think a lot of him, so we're pleased to see it reproduced on the track."

Watch Al Kaaser (Munjiz x Horkidee) and Joanna Mason win the Visit Oman (0-85) Handicap Stakes 1m2f
The final race of the day went to Nicsar Diamond Jubilee on his seasonal reappearance. Ridden by James Harding this was only a second win for the son of Madjani, but he did well to keep ahead of course winner Insignia to win by half a length.

Watch Nicsar Diamond Jubilee (Madjani x Jumah) and James Harding win the Visit Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort (0-45) Handicap Stakes 1m6f

Following the first race ARO commentator Gary Capewell received a presentation of a watch from Royal Cavalry of Oman trainer Said Al Badi to mark his one thousandth race call.

Capewell who had started in 2004 making his first call at Uttoxeter, became ARO's full-time commentator from 2008, missing only one race, last years' UK Arabian Derby, as it clashed with a full ARO fixture at Chelmsford City. Reminiscing in an interview with The Arabian Racehorse last year he said:" My favourite call would be the Hatta International that Nokomys won in 2010. She and the runner up Al Anqa both needed to be produced late, but they were so much better than the rest they went clear over two furlongs from home. Eyeballing each other, they had a great duel all the way to the line, locked together, both giving their all. I usually have an inkling which way a photo finish had gone, but on this occasion I didn't have a clue - it narrowly went to Nokomys." 

Speaking at the end of the Wolverhampton fixture he also gave credit to the older horses saying:"Notid of course was a favourite and todays' race with Noble Athlete will stick in the memory too."

The next full meeting will be at Chelmsford on June 24, 76 entries have been received for the seven-race card, with declarations due on June 22.

The Spring edition of The Arabian Racehorse has just been published

*ARO Stable tours, James Owen, Phil Collington and Pete Hammersley discuss their teams for the ARO 2018 racing season

*Gulf Group 1 reviews

*The Big Interview with UAE Champion Trainer Doug Watson

*Feeding with ulcers in mind, first of a new series on feeding by Jane Buchan of Baileys Horsefeeds

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NOBLE ATHLETE (2002 Dorwan Du Cayrou x Noble Dame) and Charlie Price put some distance between them and the field in the Happy 9th Birthday Elsie (0-65) Handicap