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November 2018 Review
The 2018/19 season is now fully underway in the Gulf States. November saw the first Group 1 PA race of the season take place in Abu Dhabi, and a Group 2 PA at Meydan. Meanwhile in Qatar they are gearing up for the International Derby Festival next month.

Al Shamoos showed her easy win at Longchamp was no fluke with an impressive win in the 2018 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Gr1PA) in Abu Dhabi. Taking on older horses at the highest level for the first time, the daughter of No Risk Al Maury tracked long-time leader ES Ajeeb and readily asserted from 500m out. Her nearest challenger at the line was recent Qatar Arabian World Cup winner Fazza Al Khalediah, who came with his customary late run, however he was no match for the filly, going down by a length. Another ex-French runner, Joudh, had every chance, but could only stay on for third. She confirmed the dominance of European prepared horses in this race, with the nearest domestic trained horse, Mawahib having to settle for fourth place.

For her owner, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan it was a memorable win with his first UAE runner since March 2015, whilst for trainer Charles Gourdain it was his first UAE winner, from only two runners. Gourdain commented: “We were hopeful and blessed with a nice low draw in three. The race could probably not have worked out much better and it is amazing to win this race for this owner here in Abu Dhabi.”

Ridden by Julian Auge, only only his eighth UAE start, Al Shamoos was also a first Emirates winner, he said: “I was obviously delighted to be asked to ride her and knew her form well from France.

“The leader went quickly enough, but not madly fast, so I was happy to take a lead and she really quickened when I asked. She is a quality filly and this is a very special occasion for all of us.”

Photo (C) Emirates Racing Association
Watch AL SHAMOOS (FR) (2015 gr f No Risk Al Maury x Hamiya) win the 2018 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Gr1PA) over 1600m on November 9 at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club
ES Ajeeb wins first PA contest of 2018/19 at Meydan

The form of the Jewel Crown certainly looks strong following the win of ES Ajeeb in the Gulf News Bani Yas (Gr2PA).

The first Purebred Arabian contest to be held at Meydan this season, the 1400m Bani Yas (PA G2) was dominated by ES Ajeeb, despite his wide draw of 14. The son of Big Easy responded well to front-running tactics and this time was able to maintain his lead over this shorter trip, even though Mawahib had closed him down to all bar a nose at the line.

This win was the most important so far for trainer Ibrahim Aseel. A homebred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Majid Al Qassemi, ES Ajeeb is only four and looks an exciting prospect with four wins from seven starts.
“He is a horse we have always thought could win these races,” said a delighted Aseel. “This is a massive result for everybody involved and a very special occasion.”
Jockey Sam Hitchcott added: “From that draw, we had to use a lot of petrol early on but that 1400m is probably as far as he wants. His optimum is probably 1200m, but there are not that many options for him at that trip. He is still a big baby and you would like to think (is still) improving. He is probably capable of better, but as I said, finding races over shorter trips on dirt for him is not easy.”

Photo (C) Emirates Racing Association

Watch ES AJEEB (Big Easy x Bent Al Asayl) win the Gulf News Bani Yas Gr2PA over 1400m at Meydan on November 22
First Stage Entries in for Qatar International Derby Festival

The racing season is also underway in Qatar, with the first Group PA races, the Qatar Derby Gr3PA (for three-year-olds over 1600m) and the Qatar Derby Gr2PA (for four-year-olds over 2000m) due towards the end of next month. The races are open to internationals and further details of travel incentives can be found using the link below.

As yet, neither race has attracted an overseas trained challenger, however there are plenty of entries with European form in the Group 3 including the Arqana PA sale topper Fortuna Al Maury (filly by No Risk Al Maury, €155,000) as well as other sales graduates in Seabird Al Maury (colt by Mijdadd, €150,000) and Winne Taouy (colt by Dahess, €50,000).
The Group 2 for four-year-olds is headed by Al Shahania Stud's Rajeh, who was one of the top three colts in Europe this season when trained by Francois Rohaut in France. Making her seasonal debut is last years' Qatar Derby Gr3PA winner, Easter De Faust (see image above). She was unbeaten in her three starts in Qatar going into the winter season having won the Qatar Trophy des Pouliches (Gr1PA) over 2000m at Saint-Cloud. Both horses topped the three-year-old international classifications for 2017.
Supplementary entries for both races close on 12 noon (local time) on Tuesday 11th December.

Photo (C) QREC

The four nominees for the annual QREC sponsored Arabian Award at the Horserace Writers and Photographers Derby Awards Lunch on December 3 were announced this month. Encompassing all aspects of UK Arabian racing, they are owner-breeders, Jennifer and Herbie Owen; trainer, Philip Collington; jockey, Joanna Mason and commentator and pundit, Gary Capewell.

Pictured right is Salim Al Hakmani (Head of Racing Section, in-charge of External Horses) receiving the 2017 award on behalf of The Royal Cavalry of Oman, from QREC General Manager Nasser bin Sherida Al Kaabi ( Photo (C) QREC).

Jenny and Herbie Owen thanked QREC saying:" We have been involved with Arabian racing for over thirty years and are honoured to have been nominated for the QREC Arabian award at the HWPA Derby awards. It is great to be recognised as a small owner-breeder and we would like to thank the sponsors for giving us this opportunity’.

Their success this season with three individual homebred winners, has been assisted by three-time ARO champion lady rider Joanna Mason. Mason, who is unable to attend the lunch due to overseas work commitments said;" I am very honoured to be nominated for the QREC Award. I'm just doing what I love."

Phil Collington, who won his first ARO trainers championship this season and who recently trained his sixtieth winner, commented: "I feel very honoured to have been nominated as part of this prestigious annual awards lunch where so many great sportsmen and women have been recognised."

Gary Capewell, the full-time voice of UK Arabian racing since 2008 said:"It was a nice shock and an honour to be nominated alongside four other people that have contributed so much to Arabian racing in the UK."

Previous QREC Arabian Award winners include The Royal Cavalry of Oman, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Gill Duffield.
James Owen Racing Update

Monthly Blogspot from one of the UK's leading Arabian Trainers, James Owen:

"To end the season in style, we had drinks at Green Ridge Stables two weeks ago with our Racing Club members. The weather was kind and we had a good turnout, with some new recruits coming along to see what it is all about. 

"Public speaking is not my strongest point and I was a bit rusty to begin with, but soon warmed up! As well as discussing and parading our Point-To-Point string for this coming season, we talked about the 2018 Arabian season and paraded several of our Arabians, including one of our new horses for the club Arwen Forta (No Risk Al Maury x Bay Brulee), see photo above. She is an un-raced four-year-old filly who has kindly been leased to us for the 2019 season by Forta Stud. She is a nice type and I am looking forward to seeing her in action, she will be a great addition to the club. 

"My Boy Sam (Sambist x CV Tulee), currently on his holidays in Oxfordshire, will remain in the club for the 2019 season. He is a favourite with the members and we all really enjoyed seeing him progress throughout this last season. 
"We are excited to announce that we have recently confirmed our third horse for the 2019 racing club, who will be Tijaary (Al Saoudi x Petraunille) See photo left. He is a 5yo maiden who we trained for HH Sheikh Hamdan last season. Tijaary is a big strong type and was competitive in maidens during his first season, he is a great new recruit for the club and is a progressive sort who should become a high-end handicapper. It will be nice to have a horse for the club who can compete in the bigger races. 

"Racing Club shares are selling well but there are still some left so please get in touch with Jenny using the details below to reserve your place! It is a very affordable way to get involved in racehorse ownership and also a great idea for a Christmas present!

"Finally it was great to hear that my parents, Herbie and Jenny Owen, have been nominated for the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Arabian Award at the HWPA awards. I would like to thank them for all of their support and wish them the very best of luck at this prestigious event."
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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

INSIGNIA (2011 Istfahan x Waterlily)
A memorable day for Jennie and Herbie Owen as their homebreds, Insignia (nearest camera) and My Boy Sam, battle to the line at Lingfield for a one-two placing. Insignia races in their own colours and here is ridden by Simon Walker, whilst My Boy Sam races for the James Owen Racing Club and is ridden here by fellow QREC Arabian Award nominee, Joanna Mason. Both horses are trained by James Owen.