Expectations were met as favourites ruled the roost at the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club in Bahrain, last week. Four of the five races staged at the track in Sakhir were claimed by those who, it was widely considered, had the odds stacked in their favour. And Shogun turned up the biggest winner on the afternoon as he won the featured HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa Cup for imported horses under riding legend Frankie Dettori. Trained by local Champion Trainer, Allan Smith, Shogun led home a top three complted by his stablemates, Thorkhill Star and Laidback Romeo, to win by a length, leading in the final 200m of the 2000m contest.
Thorkhill Star, ridden by Andrew Elliott, was second with the fast finishing Laidback Romeo back by just a head under Andrea Atzeni. A host of top international riders had lined up to ride in the race with Pat Smullen being given the reins of American Artist, but Thorkhill Star, Shogun and Laidback Romeo turned the contest into a three way battle which would have pleased connections Al Adiyat Racing, owned by HH Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The field looked competitive and the race was contested at a brisk pace early on, however, with 500m left and heading into the straight, Thorkhill Star, Shogun and Laidback Romeo had all but killed off the contest.
It was going to be one of the three and the Dettori-ridden Shogun showed them the way home as he went clear in the final furlong. While the favourites lived up to their billing through most of the day, things didn’t go according to plan in the 2000m Crown Prince Cup for locally bred horses where the Victorious-owned Brightsideoflife, also trained by Smith, gatecrashed to win by a short head from race favourite Milyar. Ridden by Andrew Elliott, Brightsideoflife won the race for a second time, after a four year gap, in a tight contest where the James Naylor-schooled Milyar was widely expected to win under legendary Frenchman Gerald Mosse.
News Breaker, ridden by Adrie de Vries, and the Richard Oliver ridden Retort placed third and fourth respectively. The 1400m Crown Prince Cup for Purebred Arabians was won rather comfortably by Kuheilan Aafas 1675, the race favourite trained by Abdulla Kuwaiti and ridden by Brett Doyle. Kuheilan Aafas 1675 finished two lengths ahead of the Elliott aboard Kuheilan Aafas 1640, with Mlolshan 1627 settling for third under Richard Oliver and Al Jellaby 1544 taking fourth under Luke Morris. Owner and trainer Fawzi Nass won the Bahrain Oaks for locally bred horses in style with the Hussain Makki-ridden Sabreh, finishing seven lengths ahead of Miryah. Asir was third, while Al Saida clinched fourth place.
Like Smith, Kuwaiti was the other trainer to taste double success on the card when Curtain Call, owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, beat Shipyard by a head to win the High Committee Cup for imported horses. Android was third with Pity Cash in fourth.