Bahrain stages the first running of the Bahrain International Trophy

The Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club of Bahrain staged their first international race on November 22nd with the £500,000 Bahrain International Trophy (2000m) for runners rated 95 and above.

European entrants dominated the field with six British-trained runners featuring, but victory went to France and the Jerome Reynier trained Royal Julius (IRE) under Stephane Pasquier who beat the John Gosden-trained Turgenev under Robert Havin by 3/4L.

The landmark race changed complexion dramatically in the final 200m after Rustang, locally trained by Allan Smith, made a bold bid from the front under former champion apprentice Lee Newman.

It nearly proved an inspired ride from Newman, but the field closed rapidly in the final sectional. Turgenev (Dubawi) briefly took the lead, only for Pasquier and Royal Julius to finish fastest of all down the outside. Rustang (Holy Roman Emperor) kept going admirably for third, with the Charlie Hills-trained Afaak in fourth.

"Royal Julius is our little star. He won my first Group race in Italy and he’s so consistent, he never disappoints you. He doesn’t really like the French style of racing, where they go slowly and then quicken up,” said Reynier.

"Everything suited him really well today. He needs pace in races and we knew with this amount of runners he’d be able to wait at the back of the pack.

"I like him to come down the outside without any problems with traffic, so that was the plan and Stephane rode a brilliant race because he didn’t know the horse; he had never ridden him before.

"I’m very happy because this was his end of year target and we can start next year with a lot of ambition, either in Doha or maybe in Saudi Arabia."

Royal Julius is a six-year-old entire by Royal Applause out of the Dubawi mare Hflah and this was his sixth win from 31 starts. With 11 placings he has now earned stakes of £719,000.

"It means everything to us to welcome top-class horses and their connections to the kingdom of Bahrain," said HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the REHC vice chairman. "After the success of Bahraini-owned horses this year at Royal Ascot, in France and at the Breeders' Cup, it is only natural that we should host an important international race such as this."

"I wish to thank His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. He has always pushed us to progress Bahrain and this was his brainchild. We are thrilled to be where we are in the international racing calendar, and we have long-term aspirations to stage more such races."

The Bahrain International Trophy was showcased to more than 60 countries to ensure global coverage including 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa having access to the race via the Dubai Racing Channel and Bahrain TV.
Europe was served by Racing TV (UK and ROI), Match TV (Russia), SilkNet (Georgia), Equidia (France), and TV Sports (Scandinavia).

SportsMax provided coverage to all 32 countries in the Caribbean, while Hainan TV and Sky Thoroughbred Central showed recordings on their platforms in China and Australia respectively.