DIAR & QGF 2018 Review
A round up of the UK's Arabian summer highlights so far and review the latest form to prepare for this weekend's racing...
Busy weekend for Arabian racing in the UK

Some of the UK's best Arabian racehorses will be in action this weekend at Newbury on Saturday and Chelmsford City Racecourse on Sunday, with a Group3Pa race and a full fixture on offer.

A field of nine was declared for the UK’s shortest Arabian pattern race, the Royal Cavalry of Oman Clarendon Stakes Gr3PA run over 5f at Newbury this Saturday. Headed by Group 1PA winning miler Mith’haf Athbah (above), they include the 2016 winner Kao Kat MHF and three other Group or Graded PA winners in Shomoos Athbah, Storm Troupour and Delishess, who have all been placed in this contest previously.

Mith’haf Athbah is a course winner of a conditions event over 1m2f as part of the DIAR series last year, but like many of Saturday’s runners, found the easy ground unsuitable at this year’s DIAR meeting at Newbury last month. He is a Group 2PA winner over 7f in France, however and his trainer Phil Collington has always considered him to have plenty of speed. He has fitted the son of Amer with blinkers for the first time, which should sharpen him up following his fourth in the Jebel Ali Za’abeel International Gr1PA over 6f in which Storm Troupour was third.

Mith’haf Athbah’s stablemate Shomoos Athbah was second in this last year (with Storm Troupour behind in third), an impressive achievement for a juvenile filly against older horses. She has always looked top class, but has not been the easiest to deal with, either at home or on the racecourse, rattling up a string of places in Group company last season. However thanks to the dedicated work of her devoted groom Ria Tillet who rides her everyday and the addition of a net muzzle, Shomoos Athbah finally put her quirks behind her when winning the Royal Cavalry of Oman ARO International Cup Gr3PA over a mile at Windsor in May.

She reopposes many of her competitors here, including Zayin Angkor Centurion, who was second, the aforementioned Storm Troupour and also Kao Kat MHF. All three colts have been kept busy this season, running at DIAR and then just three days later reappearing at Goodwood in another Group 1PA race where they all faded to the rear. Whilst all three have claims, they will need to bounce back against fresher horses. Storm Troupour and Kao Kat MHF will need to be at their peak as they are also declared for the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) (Belgian stage) at Ostend on Monday.

Dual ARO Champion trainer James Owen fields three of the runners headed by course winner Alazeez. The son of Madjani finished fifth in this contest last year and like his Grade 2 PA winner Delishess, is another who was unsuited by the easy going at DIAR last month. His other filly Naishaan, skipped that meeting entirely and comes here a fresh horse. She has never really fulfilled her promise, racing too keenly in her races and has frequently run in a hood. Dropping back to the minimum here, that trait may be an advantage with the addition of first-time blinkers and though she needs to step up on previous form, she could squeak a place.

Completing the line-up is Shammat Al Hosn, who also missed DIAR last month. She is another to exchange her usual headgear for something different and starts in a visor. Her dam won sprints in Holland and Belgium, however based on her sixth in this last year, she may be found wanting again, as this looks a more competitive renewal.

The race will open Newbury racecourse’s Ladies Day, which also includes three thoroughbred pattern races later in the card and concludes with a DJ set by BRIT award winner Rudimental. Gates open at 11.00am with the Royal Cavalry of Oman Clarendon Stakes Gr3PA off at 1.20pm.

The following day, Chelmsford City plays host to a seven race card which features a number of well-bred debutants in the opening maiden, a very competitive Wathba Stallions handicap and classy six-runner field for the ARO UK (0-110) Handicap over a mile. The first race is due off at 2.05pm.
Peslier and Royal Cavalry Dominate DIAR 2018

Not even the rain could dampen the spirits of Oliver Peslier and the Royal Cavalry of Oman at this year’s Dubai International Arabian Races at Newbury today. Peslier rode the winners of the four Group races at the meeting, three of which were for the Royal Cavalry. DIAR and Arabian Racing Organisation Patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum also recorded three wins in the two premier handicaps and the international conditions race with some exciting young horses.

Shadwell Stud Director Richard Lancaster was delighted with the day saying:“We didn’t have the big stars that we’ve had in the past, but we’ve some nice young horses for the future and we’ve learnt a little bit more about them all. The two fillies fighting it out in the first race, they’re half sisters and Saleemah, well she’s as tough as tough. She won that two mile race at Doncaster last year and now here. The star for the future I’m sure is No And No Al Maury.

“I’m sure His Highness has enjoyed this day immensely. Considering how unlucky we’ve been with the weather, we’ve had a great crowd and they’ve stayed to the end. It’s thanks to Sheikh Hamdan and his enthusiasm that we are here today.”

Taqdeeraat became trainer Phil Collington’s third successive winner of the opening race, the Emirates Premier Handicap over a mile, winning from Rafeef, also for His Highness, though trained by James Owen. Later in the card Collington recorded a one-two-three in the Rotana Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicap over a mile and a half with Saleemah, Halib Des Forges and Munawwar.

Collington was very pleased with his horses saying: “The weather has really changed things, Taqdeeraat wouldn’t have been my first choice, but she liked this ground. The conditions have just gone Saleemah’s way, she’s a better horse on easy ground and she’s so tough.”

Watch TAQDEERAT (Mahabb x Maizaine ) win the Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes over 1m at Newbury on July 29
HH Sheikh Hamdan’s winners were all young improving horses offering plenty of hope for future DIAR meetings. No And No Al Maury was most impressive in the UAE Emabassy in London International Conditions Stakes over a mile and a quarter. He had been a close second in the Listed PA DIAR prep at Capannelle in Italy, and therefore was a DIAR bonus award winner.

He is trained in France by Damien de Watrigant, who commented: “It’s a family who strengthen as they get older. I am very happy that Sheikh Hamdan trusted me with this horse, as he bought it after it had finished second first time out for me and I told him it would be a nice horse. He was bred by Mrs Koch of Al Maury Stud and now the horse is showing on the track what he is showing me in the morning. I think I ran him over too short a distance in the beginnng because he is by Nizam and is a bit keen, but my head lad has done a very good job with him and has got him very relaxed at home. You saw today he was very settled with plenty of energy to finish the race.”

Of his next engagement de Watrigant said: “He will need time between his races and I will discuss his program with His Highness and Mr Lancaster, may be we will go for the Breeders Challenge Classic over 2200m, he showed he can handle the easy ground.”

Watch NO AND NO AL MAURY (Nizam x No Doubt Al Maury ) win the UAE Embassy in London International Stakes over 1m2f at Newbury on July 29:
Peslier opened his account in the DIAR International Stakes Gr3PA for juveniles over seven furlongs, on the Royal Cavalry’s Tahirwah. However it was not before a lengthy wait, as the outcome of the race was debated in the stewards room. He commented: “I had plenty of room, but the Italian horse was hanging towards the rail, I was confident we had won on the line and the best horse won in the end.”

Watch TAHIRWAH (Amer x Kerim) win the DIAR International Stakes Gr3PA over 7f at Newbury on July 29:
Of Al Chammy’s win in the Jebel Ali Za’abeel International Gr1PA over six furlongs, Peslier said:“He won really well, the ground has changed a lot from the first race. It is a wonderful day for the Royal Cavalry of Oman, for Dubai and for Sheikh Hamdan.”

That pair were trained for the Royal Cavalry by Said Al Badi from their base at Wargrave in Berkshire. A full brother to their three-time Za’abeel winner Al Mouhannad, Al Chammy had also won the UK prep for the race and became the first of two DIAR bonus award winners at the meeting.

Watch AL CHAMMY (Nizam x Al Ryme) win Jebel Ali Racecourse Za'abeel International Stakes Gr1PA over 6f at Newbury on July 29:
Peslier then went on to win the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Gr1PA over a mile and a quarter on Joudh for YAS Horse Racing Management and Didier Guillemin. Their recently appointed racing manager Thierry Delegue was delighted with their filly’s performance saying: “This race is an important win for a filly. It is possible she may go to Abu Dhabi in November for the Jewel Crown.”

Watch JOUDH (Mahabb x Shamayl) win the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes Gr1PA over 1m2f at Newbury on July 29:
The feature race is always the Dubai International Stakes Gr1PA also over a mile and a quarter, this was another win for Peslier and the Royal Cavalry with Nafees, trained in France by Charles Gourdain. This was third win at this level for Nafees, having won both the French and UK Arabian Derby’s in 2017.

Gourdain commented: “I left him with very little work before the race, he was very fresh, because we’ve had very hot weather in France, so because of the traveling I had to be very careful. Before the race I started to worry he had not done enough work, but he’s a very brave horse and very well ridden by Olivier. He kept him in behind horses and he finished strongly like he usually does.”
Watch NAFEES (Azadi x Vivamaria) win the Dubai International Stakes Gr1PA 1m2f at Newbury on July 29:
Watch SALEEMAH (Madjani x Laqataat) win the Rotana Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicap (0-105) 1m4f on July 29:
There were also more familiar faces in the winners enclosure for the final event, the Emirates NBD Handicap which was won by Mersal. This gave trainer Beverley Deutrom her third win in the race, whilst jockey David Turner had also ridden the 2017 winner, finishing that year as ARO Champion Jockey.

Turner “It’s always difficult coming back from a really good season, it’s been much harder this year. It’s great to win this race twice, I thought they might have gone quicker, but actually everyone rode quite sensibly. I got a nice tow off a lower rated horse and as that one dropped away I went on to the next one. I made up my mind earlier in the day to go down the middle, as the ground on the rail was very loose. He’s a nice horse.”

Mersal was bred at Deutrom’s farm, she explained: “He changed ownership which is why he didn’t run last year, but I’d always thought he was a nice horse. He’s improving all the time.”

Watch MERSAL (Munjiz x Even Keener) win the Emirates NBD Handicap Stakes (40-75) 7f at Newbury on July 29:
Magnificent Muraaqib wins seventh Group 1PA Stakes

Muraaqib added yet another Group 1 PA victory to his name today, with a one and a half length victory in the Qatar International Stakes at Goodwood. In doing so he triumphed over last years’ second Ebraz, with Lightning Bolt in third, claiming the £200,000 winners’ prize. He is HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s most successful homebred Arabian racehorse, putting his previous second at La Teste well behind him, bouncing back to form for the addition of blinkers.

In a field of ten, which included last years’ one-two Tayf and Ebraz, as well as Lightning Bolt, all Group 1 PA winners, it was Muraaqib who showed superior acceleration in the final stages. With the initial pace of the race slower than expected, the field bunched up in the home straight with a number of horses including the winner and second not getting a clear run with two furlongs to go. However the class of both horses showed as they pulled clear, with Ebraz having too much to do to reel in the winner.

Pau based trainer Francois Rohaut, has always believed Muraaqib was best over a mile and confirmed that this race had been the aim , saying: “We knew that the blinkers would make the difference today, we saved them for this race. He is the best Arabian I have ever trained, and probably right now, he is the best Arabian in the world, over a mile at least.
Rohaut felt that the Doha Triple Crown would not be an option, unless HH Sheikh Hamdan wished him to run. It was more likely that he could return to Abu Dhabi in November to contest the Jewel Crown Gr1PA, also over a mile, which was a race he won in the stewards room last year.

He was ridden for the first time in Abu Dhabi by Jim Crowley, HH Sheikh Hamdan’s retained jockey, with whom he renewed his partnership today. Crowley also agreed that the blinkers were a positive addition, he continued saying: “I was just waiting for a gap to appear and when it did he won well. He travelled on the bridle and it is a great feeling to win this race.”

Richard Lancaster, Shadwell Stud Director was delighted for His Highness saying: “It’s a great team effort, Jim rode him beautifully. Plans were laid out for this sometime ago, Francois has done a fantastic job. Muraaqib is that bit older and wiser, so the blinkers did their job today. At La Teste he was giving weight away to the winner, but that was the race he needed to put him right for this.”

Watch MURAAQIB (Munjiz x Tashreefat) win the Qatar International Stakes Gr1PA 1m at Goodwood on August 1:
Rodess Du Loup and Rajeh head President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby) entries

France’s leading four-year-old colts Rodess Du Loup and Rajeh(right) could renew their rivalry in the President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby) Gr1PA run over 1m2f at Doncaster next month. The final Group race of the UK Arabian racing season will be held on the same card as the William Hill Doncaster St Leger Gr1 for thoroughbreds on the historic Town Moor course. Sixteen entries were published today, which also included Rijm and Goumoh who are both Gr1PA placed in France, whilst heading the home team is Gr3PA winner Shomoos Athbah.

The race has been the stated target for French Derby winner, Rodess Du Loup, since his win at Chantilly in June. He is bidding to complete the same double achieved by his trainer Charles Gourdain with Nafees last year. Should they both line up, he will face a strong challenge from Rajeh who beat him as a juvenile in a Gr1 PA contest over the same trip at Saint-Cloud in September, with Goumoh and Meelad filling the places.

They met again in April, in a Gr3PA at La Teste, Rajeh finished second, though beat Rijm, Rodess Du Loup and Meelad. Later Gourdain blamed himself for Rodess Du Loup’s defeat, saying: “I made a mistake by making him wear blinkers because he was cold [at La Teste]. Because of that, he pulled a lot and lost a lot of energy.”

Without blinkers, the son of Dahess gained revenge in the French Derby Gr1PA, with Rijm in second and Rajeh fourth, beaten less than two lengths. However, on Saturday the pair met again at Deauville, with Rajeh prevailing by three quarter of a length from Rodess Du Loup in another Gr1PA contest over 1m2f. This was also the first time the pair had raced against older horses, though they were in receipt of a weight for age allowance.

Top rated of the UK entries is Shomoos Athbah, she has always looked a classy performer, as her Gr3PA win over a mile confirmed, beating a subsequent Gr1PA winner in Al Chammy. Connections will likely be hoping the prolonged dry weather in the UK continues as her best form has been on quick ground.

The President of the UAE Cup returned to the UK with the sponsorship of the UK Arabian Derby as part of the Doncaster St Leger Festival in 2016. It is the oldest Purebred Arabian international series and was established in 1995 by HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to promote and celebrate the Arabian horse globally. This year it is scheduled to visit ten countries: Egypt, France, Holland, Italy, Belgium, Russia, UK, USA, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

The prize fund for the UK race is £80,000, with £40,000 to the winner. Supplementary entries close on Wednesday September 5th at 12 noon (GMT+1), with declarations to run due by Wednesday September 12th at 11am, with the race held on Saturday September 15 as part of the Doncaster St Leger Festival.
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magazine features photographs from 2017 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak (International) Best Photographer Award winner & Arabian Racing Organisation Official Photographer
Debbie Burt

MURAAQIB (2012 Munjiz x Tashreefat) and Jim Crowley win the 2018 Qatar International Stakes Gr1PA at Goodwood on August 1