Arabian Racing will return to Chester on Saturday, 1 July, after a near 20-year break with the inaugural running of the Group 2PA International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) Trophy, the Arabian Racing Organisation has announced. Under its previous title of the Za’abeel International and latterly the Royal Cavalry of Oman International, the six-furlong contest has a long history of confirming top class sprinters and boasts a prize fund of £25,000.
Heading the list of nine entries is AJS Saaeq from Qatar. The five-year-old won the Qatar International Cup (Gr1PA) over a mile in February in Doha and is one of three horses currently summering in Newmarket with their trainer Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa Al Attiyah. Last year’s winner Ekleel Athbah is one of three entries from 2022 ARO leading trainer, Phil Collington, the others being Lujain and Jameelaty.
Double handed could be Peter Hammersley with last year’s third and fourth, Abiyah Athbah and Zayin Angkor Centurion. Whilst current ARO Leading trainer James Owen enters his homebred filly Victoria, with the domestic challenge completed by Gavin Kelly’s Mulan.
There could be further international flavour with El Zarka DA entered from Belgium. Now nine, Johan Verstrapen’s gelding was third in this contest back in 2019.
Andrew Tulloch, Head of Racing at Chester Racecourse, said,
Chester Racecourse is delighted to be staging the ARO’s first black type race of the year, the IFAHR Trophy, on Saturday. Marking the welcome return of Arabian racing to the world’s oldest racecourse for the first time since 2004, we would like to thank the ARO for the opportunity to showcase this renowned, Purebred Arabian sprinting contest, in what promises to be a thrilling finale to our racecard.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer, said,
ARO is thrilled to be returning to Chester with such a high profile contest. With this race under new sponsorship and at a new venue, it’s great to have attracted several international entries, as well last year’s winner and several of our other top rated domestic Arabians. We thank IFAHR and Chester for supporting our racing this season and look forward to bringing Arabian racing to a new audience on Saturday.”
Feature Image: AJS Saaeq wins the Qatar International Cup (Gr1PA) at this year’s HH The Amir Sword Festival in Qatar © Debbie Burt