The Emirates Breeders (0-65) Handicap at Brighton on Tuesday 11 July sees Linda Reeves’s Upstart Crow bids for a hat-trick. Up against seven other runners, the six-year-old gelding and his regular partner, amateur Teagan Padgett, are likely to face the strongest challenge from stablemates, Jaahez, Mayfair and Heritage Valentino.
All four are trained by James Owen, previously a five-time ARO leading trainer, who took out his full BHA licence last year and is now gaining success under rules with his thoroughbreds. Owen, who has also been a leading point-to-point rider and ridden over 50 Arabian winners, sees the value in training Arabians as an opportunity to reward his staff.
After Padgett’s debut win on Upstart Crow at Bath Owen commented, “We’re enjoying the jumping and we’ve made a great start with the Arabians today. We’re going to support the amateurs in the yard, Teagan and Rhea [Betts], as well as Jamie [Gambin] and Connor [Baker], they’ll ride all the Arabians when they can do the weight this year. That’s why I’ve got them and that’s why they work hard for me and I’ll reward them for that.”
Betts will partner Owen’s homebred filly Mayfair, who was less than a length behind Upstart Crow when they met over this trip last time, whilst Gambin will be on Jaahez who is making his seasonal reappearance, both for Owen’s Racing Club. Lower down the handicap is Mrs Skepper’s homebred Heritage Valentino, who renews the partnership with Kieran O’Neill, successful on the six-year-old at Wolverhampton last year.
Leicestershire based handler Peter Hammersley is co-breeder of Coljani, a gelding by Madjani, named in memory of the late Colin Banks, owner of the dam who Hammersley trained. The gelding was third on his reappearance last month and apprentice Mohammed Tabti retains the partnership. Hammersley is also co-owner in Al-Hatab, whose dam he trained to win seven races and who will again be ridden by Billie Loughnane. He also runs Dilmun Racing’s Belle Angelique, ridden by Georgia Dobie, who is a half-sister to a three-time winner.
Completing the arabian racing field is Kayack for owner-breeder-trainer Jen Harris. The nine-year-old will be ridden by regular partner and leading amateur Serena Brotherton, for whom the gelding has been placed four times.
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer said, “ARO is pleased with the turn out for this race, for which all bar one of the runners is British bred. We thank Brighton racecourse and the Emirates Breeders for their support as this series is extremely important for our grassroots competitors. We are also assisting them through our own ARO breeders scheme which gives a financial bonus to UK registered breeders whose horses finish in the first three places of all our races.”
“We also thank Baker McVeigh International who will be sponsoring the Best Turned Out award on Tuesday.”
Feature image: Upstart Crow ridden by owners’ daughter Lissie Reeves at exercise in Newmarket last month © Debbie Burt