The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) is delighted to note that two of the eight runners declared for the Emirates Breeders Conditions Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday could reappear at the track on August 19 for the £80,000 Group 1PA UAE President Cup (UK Arabian Derby). Though two furlongs shy of the Derby distance, it will be Lujain and Thakeera Al Shahania’s first opportunity to visit the Town Moor Course, with their trainer Phil Collington having stated that a good run on Saturday, could see the pair line up for the UK’s premier race for four-year-olds.
Lujain runs in the colours of John Elliott and Teresa Kinsey, who bred, though no longer own, the winner of the ARO season opener at Bath last week, Upstart Crow. They will be hoping to gain some recompense with Lujain who had placed on every run last term before success on her final start for the Collington team, when winning at Windsor over this same one-mile trip. The horse in second that day has since gone on to win three times in the UAE and is now rated 100, which gives the form a solid look.
Collington also fields two for his principal patron Athbah Stud in the other four-year-old Thakeera Al Shahania, along with the juvenile, Jameelaty, who makes her racecourse debut. Thakeera Al Shahania started off in January with a first outing in Belgium on the All Weather over 1500m, finishing nine lengths off two Black Type performers. She will be the first UK runner for her very promising young sire Al Mourtajez, who ended his career as the world’s highest rated Arabian and has also sired Al Ghadeer, the favourite for the French Arabian Derby that takes place later this month on the Prix de Diane card.
Jameelaty also has plenty going for her on pedigree and was a €52,000 purchase last year at one of the Shadwell dispersal sales. A tall, attractive daughter of leading sire Munjiz, her dam had won a premier handicap over this distance at Newbury and later dropped back in trip to win a Group 2PA sprint in France, when also trained by Collington.
Collington, who finished last season as ARO leading trainer for a second time, commented, “Thakeera Al Shahania was quite a backward three-year-old. She ran a nice race in a hot contest in Mons, finishing fifth. I’d like to think she will improve again and I’m looking forward to seeing her on the Turf as well. We’re hoping Lujain has strengthened up again over the winter and matured for this season. Both could go back to Doncaster for the Derby later on, they’re only four once!
Their abilities will be truly tested as the field is headed by two solid PA Group performers in Zayin Angkor Centurion and Abiyah Athbah. Both are with trainer Peter Hammersley and have been Group placed over a mile. Dilmun Racing’s Abiyah Athbah has a definite preference for the likely quick ground, and gets a mares’ allowance from her stablemate, Zayin Arabians’ Zayin Angkor Centurion, who, as the only male in the race will have to give weight away all round.
James Owen, who has made a great start to his Arabian campaign when winning at Bath with Upstart Crow, continues to do well with his thoroughbreds, boasting a highly impressive 50% strike rate under rules in the last 14 days. The members of his Racing Club will be hoping that one of their two runners, the juveniles, Delicatesse or Victoria can make the most of their age and sex allowances and keep up that strong run of form.
The field is completed by the Gavin Kelly trained Mulan, who will again be ridden by his step-daughter, the amateur Kaitlen Robinson.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “ARO is thrilled to be back at Doncaster to witness the seasonal return of some of our best older horses and to see how some very promising newcomers compare. We are also delighted that Racing Welfare have continued to recognise our hard-working stable staff this season and we look forward to welcoming Gail Burton-Pye to Doncaster, to present the first of five on course Best Turned Out awards of a £40 cash prize.”