Hambleton Racing Chasing Newcastle Repeat With Al Zaraqaan

Championship News

11 January 2022

Archie Watson and Hambleton Racing are hoping that new recruit Al Zaraqaan can emulate Tempus in the Betway Conditions Stakes (3.20pm) at Newcastle on Thursday, January 13, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic.

Tempus made a winning introduction for the trainer/owner combination in a Mile Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle earlier this month, having been purchased at the sales in September.

Al Zaraqaan was bought out of William Haggas’ stable in October and comes into the race with a 100 per cent record on the All-Weather from three starts, including a classy display under top weight in last season’s Rosebery Handicap at Kempton Park.

The five-year-old, who is closely related to Classic-winning miler Awtaad, failed to build on that in four subsequent appearances on turf, most recently finishing fourth in a handicap at Haydock Park in September.

Simon Turner, Hambleton’s Director of Racing, said: “Al Zaraqaan has trained very well, even though he isn’t the flashiest horse at home, and this race looks an ideal starting point. 

“We liked him at the sales because he is clearly talented with a high level of ability. We thought looking at his All-Weather form in particular that he would just the type of horse that could be a contender on Finals Day.”

Regarding Tempus, Turner added: “Tempus will go to Southwell in the middle of February for another Fast-Track Qualifier.

“We will be keeping our eyes firmly focused on Finals Day itself and it will just be a question of whether he has another run in between Southwell and the final if the right race pops up.

“Both him and Al Zaraqaan, all being well, could be strong contenders for the finals, which would be amazing for our owners if we can get there with two live chances. It’s so far, so good.”

Al Zaraqaan’s rivals are headed by G3-placed Halimi, who is bidding to continue the scintillating form of Simon and Ed Crisford. The father and son partnership have sent out four winners from five runners in the UK over the past two weeks.

Jim Goldie’s runner Sir Chauvelin has enjoyed a fine season at Newcastle so far, having ended 2021 with a pair of handicap wins at the venue. 

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