By Laura King
I’m looking forward to heading to Bahrain this week for the fourth edition of their International Trophy, which will be run for the second time as a Group Three, on Friday. The race has quickly established itself as an end of year highlight and the Bahrain team, together with the International Racing Bureau, have once again done a great job of attracting a classy field.
As befitting the name of the race, there have been winners from three different countries so far. Royal Julius, trained in France by Jerome Reynier, won the inaugural running in 2019, then we had hometown hero Fawzi Nass with Simsir in 2020 and the fabulous Lord Glitters for UK-based David O’Meara last year.
Time for a new country to get on the scoresheet, perhaps? It’s hard, at this time of the year, to decide if Godolphin count as UK or UAE, but, either way, they’ve gone close in this contest before without winning it. Saeed Bin Suroor has trained winners in well over ten different countries (even he has lost count!) but Bahrain has so far eluded him. He’ll be there in person to oversee the performance of Dubai Future, ridden by Danny Tudhope, and Passion And Glory, the mount of Richard Kingscote.
Charlie Appleby saddled Barney Roy to finish second in this race 12 months ago and he has a leading chance with Royal Fleet, winner of the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan in February. A Listed winner since, he could only manage third behind Alflaila in the Group 3 Darley Stakes at Newmarket last month and Owen Burrows’ charge surely looked the one to beat here.
The winner of his last three starts, Alflaila can cap a superb year for Lambourn-based trainer Burrows who collected his first Group Ones with Hukum and Minzaal. Sadly for all concerned, Burriws' charge was ruled out after suffering an injury on Monday, discovered after his routine training.
No filly or mare has won this yet, but that could change with the talented Insinuendo. Trained in Ireland by Willie McCreery, the 5yo finished a good third to Emily Upjohn in the Group 1 Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot last time out and could be dangerous over the shorter trip here.
Going back to the Dubai World Cup Carnival, and a plethora of Godolphin horses have already arrived in the UAE for the January extravaganza. Man Of Promise and Lazuli were early arrivals for Appleby and will surely be tough in the turf sprints once again, while Jersey Stakes winner Noble Truth is a likely runner in 1400m/1600m events on the grass.
Bin Suroor has a large team already in place, too, with old favourites Dubai Love, Land Of Legends and Global Heat joined by the exciting Mawj. Winner of the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, the daughter of Exceed And Excel is an interesting one for the fillies’ Classics, should connections wish to try her on dirt.
If not, she could take on the colts in the 3yo turf programme. Fascinating, either way. One last thing; congratulations to Antonio Fresu on recording his 200th UAE winner over the weekend. Antonio made an instant impact when arriving in Dubai a few years ago to ride for Erwan Charpy and he’s quickly become one of the most popular riders in the weighing room. There’s 200 more to come, I’m sure.