The 2023 Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) season concludes at Royal Windsor on Monday 23 October with the Arabian Horse Organization Challenge Cup in which Phil Collington seeks to regain the top spot from his near neighbour James Owen to retain the leading trainers title. To be run over a mile, the £4,000 race is for maidens and has attracted a field of seven.
Collington fields two for his main patron Athbah Racing, who are already confirmed as leading owners for a second year in succession. He has strong connections with both his unraced three-year-olds, having trained Mutwahhej Athbah’s half-sister to win on her debut, and the dam of Garmoosha to win a Group 3PA race over the same trip as her daughter will face on Monday.
“Both horses have come together nicely recently” said Collington from his yard in Newmarket. “They both have lovely pedigrees and I’d expect them to be even better next year. I rode and trained Garmoosha’s dam, and I also rode her sire, but neither ran as three-year-olds. She’s had a few issues with immaturity throughout the year, but she’s good and ready to run now.
“We didn’t think Mutwahhej Athbah would be ready this year, but he’s had no developmental issues to hold him up and mentally it’s all come together for him now. He’ll definitely strengthen up and improve a lot more from this run. The ground will be an unknown for both of them though!”
Of the horses with more experience, owner, breeder, and trainer Steve Blackwell will be hoping for a good show from his mare Sassy, saying, “I’m expecting a better run from her on Monday, I’ve been able to do a lot more with her at home recently and I’d be disappointed if she’s not improved from her last run. If we get placed I’ll be delighted and it will give us something to look forward to for next season.”
Peter Hammerlsey also runs two, commenting, “Coljani was very sore after the latest Lingfield run, but he’s had a little break and some physio and is going well at home. He shouldn’t be troubled by soft ground and will appreciate being back on a flat track. Belle Angelique is in the best form she’s been in all year, so we hope she’ll pick up the bridle with the blinkers back on.”
Another maiden who could utilise his experience is Jen Harris’s homebred Kayack and also making her debut is the four-year-old Pharitz Alanood trained by Mitchell Hunt. Hunt came close to recording his first Arabian winner as a trainer when the veteran Storm Troupour was second for the same connections last month.
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