By Duane Fonseca
Simsir and Lee Newman denied Global Giant and Sovereign to win the 2020 Bahrain International Trophy for Fawzi Nass in dramatic fashion at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club in Manama Friday.
In what was a brilliant renewal of the race, the 4yo Zoffany gelding, trained by Bahraini conditioner Fawzi Nass, who also saddled Port Lions, managed to hold on and win by the narrowest of margins after dominating most of the run to the finish in the home stretch.
Formerly trained by Mick Halford in Ireland, the Zoffany gelding joined Nass’ yard only recently and benefited from a brilliant ride by Newman.
Coolagh Forest and John Egan went forward strongly with the rest of the field ignoring the pair. Only Newman never let them out of sight on the back of Simsir. And the pair would take them on and lead entering the home straight. It was soon a matter of whether Newman and Simsir could hold on.
John Gosden’s Global Giant, broke awkwardly under Frankie Dettori and was forced to make his move from out wide. He made a brisk run to the finish only to lose by a neck, with Aidan O’Brien’s last year’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign a further short head back after in third under Ryan Moore.
Nass’ Port Lions finished fourth.
Nass said: “This is a dream come true. I’m usually an invitee at another country so it’s nice to win it at home.
“It was a thrilling race, but I think the jockey won the race - Lee Newman gave him an absolute peach. Lee has been riding well here and knows the track well which is why we opted for him.
“I had to pick Port Lions (unplaced), but obviously Simsir is a good horse in Europe so he deserves to be here. It’s too early to think what is next, I didn’t expect this.”