Turkey’s International Racing Festival

Held at the Veliefendi Racecourse in Istanbul on the 5th and 6th of September, Turkey’s International Racing Festival has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2008. This year, with prize money in excess of € 1.5 million, the seven international races attracted numerous international entries from England, France and Germany.

Saturday saw the running of the local Group 2 International France Galop Anatolia Trophy and the Group 3 International Istanbul Trophy, which was promoted to Part I of the International Cataloguing Standards Book in 2013.

The Group 2 International Bosphorus Cup and the Group 2 International Topkapi Trophy are the main feature races on the Sunday. Both races received international status in 2009, while the third International on the day, the Group 3 International Trakya Trophy is still in Part II of the International Cataloguing Standards Book and hence classified as a local Group 3.

The first day of the Festival belonged firmly to Godolphin with Saeed Bin Suroor dominating both races. Godolphin recorded a one-two in the local Group 2 International France Galop Anatolia Trophy (2000m polytrack) with Stephane Pasquier taking the honours on Tha’ir (IRE), with Tumbaga (USA) and Harry Bentley in second.

The Group 3 Istanbul Trophy (1600m turf) was a distinctly European affair with Bentley winning comfortably on the Bin Suroor trained Local Time (GB), with Roger Varian’s Rekdhat (IRE) (Umberto Rispoli) in second and Growing Glory (FR) ridden by Stephane Pasquier and trained by Francois Rohaut in third.

Sunday saw Luca Cumani turn the tables as Adam Kirby on Connecticut (GB) snatched victory in the Group 2 International Bosphorus Cup (2400m turf) with the Bin Suroor trained Maftool (USA) and Dane O’Neil in second. Locally bred Fly By Me (TUR) trained by Yasemin Karakucuk and ridden by Sadettin Boyraz finished in third.

The familiar blue colours of Godolphin found their way back to the winner’s circle in the €270 000 Group 2 International Topkapi Trophy (1600m turf) as Richard Hannon’s Toormore (IRE), with James Doyle in the saddle, redeemed himself with a dominant 2.5L victory after a lacklustre third in 2014.

Second went the way of Turkey’s star galloper Perfect Warrior (TUR). Trained by Cumar Demir and ridden by Ugur Polat, Perfect Warrior placed in all his starts this year, including a victory in the Prime Ministry Cup, one of Turkey’s major races, in July and a close second in the Presidency Cup in October.

Another local entrant, Yildirimbey (TUR) ridden by Halis Karatas finished in third, while Hannon’s second runner, Shifting Power had to settle for fourth.

The final International race of the day also went the way of the British, as Orvar (IRE), trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by Pat Dobbs for owners Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar won the local Group 3 International Trakya Trophy, a sprint over 1200m for two year olds.