By Duane Fonseca
Bayan Athbah defended his PA Group 3 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup title, winning the mile event for Purebred Arabians at Haydock Park with another gritty performance.
Trained by Philip Collington, Bayan Athbah had won the race last year by a neck under Tom Marquand and in the hands of UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea this time around, the 6yo AF Albahar mare dug deep made yet another late push to win by a length.
Abiyah Athbah set the pace and seemed comfortable heading into the straight, but with Bayan Athbah gathering momentum surely and steadily, it got gradually tougher for Ben Curtis, who partnered the former.
O’Shea continued to labour hard aboard Bayan Athbah and after hitting the front a furlong out, the pair finished a length clear, with Abiyah Athbah finishing five lengths ahead of her Peter Hammersley stablemate Zayin Angkor Centurion, the ride of David Allen.
It was Collington’s third success in the race and he said: “It’s fantastic for Bayan and Athbah Racing. The mare has done so well because the ground would really have been against her. Abiyah Athbah fought hard and gave us a really good race to watch.”
O’Shea added: “She wasn’t in love with the ground, it was pretty firm out there, I went to go and win quite easily from the second to last furlong, but fair dues to the filly on her inside, she put up a good fight. My filly’s class got her through, but with a bit more ease in the ground you’d see her to better effect, but thankfully we got the job done.”
The HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup is part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival, whose Executive Director Lara Sawaya said: “We have really enjoyed the welcome that everyone at Haydock Park has given us for the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup and we congratulate Tadhg O’Shea, Athbah Racing, Phil Collington and Mia Hurrion for winning today with Bayan Athbah.”