The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted with the final declarations for the Emirates Breeders Maiden Stakes to be run at Royal Windsor racecourse on Monday 13th June. The mile contest has an interesting mix of newcomers and not just the horses, as Mitchell Hunt becomes the first UK licenced thoroughbred trainer to race an Arabian. However, he had plenty of prior experience with the breed when assistant to five times leading ARO trainer James Owen, who also has three runners in the race.
Phil Collington has the strongest hand numerically with four runners, headed by recent second Ekleel Athbah, partnered by Tom Marquand and Kafou Athbah ridden by Silvestre de Sousa. Of their chances he said: “Obviously on her two runs to date Ekleel Athbah would be the pick of mine. Kafou Athbah and Alghazaal will have come on for the experience of their first runs and they should be a lot sharper this time.
“Lujain has been training very, very well she’s hard fit now and ready to run. I advised Athbah racing to purchase her half-sister Sultana who has been Group placed in the UAE and suggested to John Elliott that he should buy Lujain, which was just prior to Sultana’s win in Abu Dhabi.”
Elliott will no doubt be hoping Lujain will do as well for him as a previous Shadwell bred purchase, Merwah, who won twice in his colours and has since bred him two winners. Jaldi Karo who was fourth in the UK Arabian Derby and later won at PA Group level overseas and Hau Kola who was Collington’s first winner as a trainer.
There is plenty of homebred interest in the race as Zikada Zayin, Hunt’s debut runner is a product of leading UK breeder Paul Simmons’s Zayin Arabian Stud. Of her chances Simmons says: “I’m looking forward to seeing her run. She’s the last foal out of my foundation mare CS Comete. She’s going nicely at home, so we are hopeful of an encouraging debut. She’s my first runner with Mitch, with whom I also have a thoroughbred in training.”
Owen has also diversified into breeding and is looking forward to watching his first homebred run in the colours of his wife Jenny. Mayfair is out of 2017 ARO leading racehorse Dolfina D’Ibos, who won three races for Owen’s Racing Club that year, and there are half-sisters by RB Burn and Al Mourtajez to come. Owen comments: “Mayfair’s work has been good against horses that have won this season and Hollie Doyle will ride.”
Genny Haynes, ARO CEO commented: “ARO is delighted with the strength of this quality field, which also demonstrates that the enthusiasm for breeding racing Arabians in the UK continues, which is fitting for a race supported by the Emirates Breeders Series.
“ARO is also thrilled that the first licenced thoroughbred trainer to take the plunge with Arabians, Mitchell Hunt, gained his initial experience under ARO rules and we wish him every success with both breeds.”
Concluding she said: “We also thank the British Horseracing Authority and everyone at Royal Windsor racecourse for their support and Sky Sports Racing who will once again be showing our race live on their channel.”