The eyes of the world are on Bahrain as it hosts its first ever international horserace.
Bahrain’s very first international horse race, the inaugural Bahrain International Trophy, is set to get underway today at the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club (REHC), with preliminary races starting at 1:40pm, ahead of the main race at 4:30pm.
The event represents the vision of HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, High Committee Deputy Chairman of REHC, and the support of HH Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa, High Committee Chairman of REHC. Local partners include Gulf Air, BAPCO and Batelco.
The main race will see nine thoroughbred racehorses from around Europe join five local runners to battle it out on turf over 2,000 metres (10 furlongs). They were selected from 46 global entries, with all rated at or above 95 by their domestic authority, including six rated 106 and over. Starting gate positions were randomly selected during a Post Position Draw (PPD) event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday.
Despite being the first occasion of its kind for the nation, Bahrain International Trophy has debuted as a key fixture on the racing calendar, both locally and on the world stage. Having attracted an unprecedented calibre of participants, the race has created a buzz amongst the global horse racing elite and is expected to spur on a new era of international horseracing events hosted by the Kingdom.
Media teams and top photographers from leading international horse racing publications have flown in to capture the historic action. Famous TV racing presenter Nick Luck and noted commentator Mark Johnson have also arrived to follow the extravaganza.
Commenting on the stature of the race, Mark Johnson said: “Bahrain has become famous in the sporting world for staging one of the most popular grand Prix motor races annually, and now this is a chance for the people of Bahrain to see a horse racing equivalent.
“Amongst the 14 jockeys riding in the inaugural Bahrain International Trophy, seven are or have been national champion jockey. It is a truly international field and I would not be surprised if the finish is fought out by horses representing France, the UK and Bahrain. The French contingent is particularly strong, given Intellogent has already won at Group 1 level (the highest grade of racing).”
The runners include Intellogent (IRE), the first overseas-trained winner of a Group 1 race to run in Bahrain, with an accumulated £401,647 in career earnings. He will be ridden by two-time champion jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot, who is one of the most recognised names in French racing, and is coming off a recent win at Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, will be showcasing his winning horse, Afaak (GB), who took out this year’s Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, with trainer Charlie Hills.
Mountain Angel (IRE) has won twice this year in England, and placed second at one of the regional races. His trainer is Roger Varian, a classic winner with 17 Group 1 victories to his name.
Turgenev (GB), nearly completed what would have been a famous five-timer for jockey Frankie Dettori at Royal Ascot earlier this year, and has since twice finished runner up to two subsequent Group winners.
Royal Julius (IRE), a Group 2 winner in 2018, has finished in the top five places from his last eight starts, with £469,000 in accumulated career earnings.
Pivoine (IRE) will be ridden by three-time champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa, in what will be his third international trip of the year, following outings in the US and Canada.
Runners and jockeys will be accompanied by equally famous owners, including Fiona Carmichael, Ziad A Galadari, Godolphin and King Power Racing, along with world-class trainers, such as Fabrice Chappet, John Gosden OBE and Andrew Balding, plus many more recognisable names.
The winner’s trophy, which was also revealed during the Post Position Draw, is as grand as the occasion itself, designed and handcrafted by House of Garrard.
The event will be open to the public free of charge in addition to being broadcast live, locally on BTV and internationally on Racing TV. The festivities will include family-friendly entertainment options, as well as food and beverage vendors.
Call 17 440 330 for more information.
About Bahrain International Trophy
Bahrain International Trophy is the island’s first international horse race, debuting in 2019 as a major fixture on the world horse racing calendar. Bursting out of the gates in fine form, the inaugural edition has attracted world-renowned runners, jockeys, owners and trainers.
It will be held at the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club (REHC) on November 22nd, under the initiative of HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, High Committee Deputy Chairman of REHC, alongside HH Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa, High Committee Chairman of REHC, with the support of local partners Gulf Air, BAPCO and Batelco.
The event is open to the public and is free of charge, with entertainment for the entire family, including children’s activities, as well as food and drinks. Preliminary races will start from 1:40pm and the main race slated for 4:30pm. The event will be broadcast live and exclusively on Racing TV for international audiences, and on BTV for local audiences.
REHC’s vision is to promote horse-racing events in the Kingdom of Bahrain, bringing to the forefront the best horses and trainers, and offering racing enthusiasts an opportunity to participate in the best international racing events in the region. One of REHC’s unique features is that it boasts one of the finest grass tracks and grandstands in the entire Middle East. There are two turf tracks measuring about 2,400 metres and one sand track for training, along with a grandstand with a seating capacity of over 3,000.