BAHRAIN-BASED horses were back to winning ways in the third and fourth Bahrain Turf Series races that took place yesterday. Osama Hashim and Hesham Al Haddad both got off the mark in this season’s Bahrain Turf Series, landing the spoils in the Al Riffa Cup and Al Dana Cup at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club’s (REHC) racecourse in Al Raffa, Sakhir.
Dark Shadow in the hands of Hector Crouch, produced a sharp turn of foot over 1,200m to fend off Watchya in the closing stages of the race and returned to the winners enclosure in the colours of Al Mohamediya Racing.
Crouch made the trip to Bahrain for one ride and was delighted with his big-race success. He said: “It all went pretty smoothly for me. We were drawn high and he’s a horse who needs a fast pace to aim at so today with 16 runners and quick ground that’s what he got so I’m delighted for Shaikh Sultan and Osama (Hashim).”
Dark Shadow is a horse Crouch knew well having had a strong association with him when he was trained in the UK by Clive Cox. This was the first time he had ridden Dark Shadow in Bahrain and the jockey was glad to be back on board. Crouch added: “I was really looking forward to getting back on him, I think it’s been about three years since I rode him in England and on his day he’s very talented.”
Watchya put up a very strong performance in second having his first run for trainer George Baker in the hands of Pat Cosgrave and Nomdic Empire, a winner of the Series last time, was third.
The Covex Kid trained by Al Haddad made it five wins in a row and a third straight win in Bahrain in the Al Dana Cup over 2,000m. It was another big-race success for the same ownership, Al Mohamediya Racing and regular Series winning jockey Neil Callan. Al Haddad, leading trainer of the Series last season, felt the pressure coming into this year. After the race he said: “We had an extraordinary year last year but the pressure is on now and we need to keep on working hard to win more.”
Reflecting on The Covex Kid’s success he added: “It was a very strong race, we were a bit worried when the horse got boxed in at the last furlong. Neil (Callan) managed to steer him very well and find the sunshine and he came out at the right time.” Al Haddad made it a one-two in the race with What A Welcome running another solid race to finish second.
Callan is no stranger to the winners enclosure with another Bahrain Turf Series win to his name. He was confident his horse would progress again following his previous victories and said: “It was very straightforward, he gave me every indication he was going to come here with a chance after his two previous wins. His progression has been fast and his best attribute is that he travels very strongly.”
Inigo Jones ran a much improved race to finish third and was best of the international horses for trainer Jamie Osborne.
Al Mohamediya enjoyed more success in the last race of the day over 2,400m for imported class 1 graded horses, with Encourage, ridden by Callan, winning by neck over Rayounpour followed by Tall Order in third place.
In the seventh race for the Humphrey Butler Fine Jewellery Cup over 1,600m for imported class 1 graded horses, Shebil Aljazira, owned by Al Mohamediya and ridden by Liam Keniry, claimed victory by 3/4th length over stablemate Chimgan followed by Mehmento and Maystar in third and fourth, respectively.
Khawafy, owned by Feras Sami Hashem Al Meshqab and ridden by Adnan Jaffar, won by neck over Wafiah in the sixth race for the Alba Cup over 1,600m for locally bred horses with handicap, followed by Lyra and Jabarah in third and fourth, respectively.
The fifth race, for the Alba Cup over 2,200m for locally bred class 3, 4 and maiden horses, was won by Battle of Talas, owned by Al Adiyat Racing and ridden by Paul Hanagan, by two lengths over Bint Al Jazeera. Mugheerah took third place followed by Atlal in fourth.
Al Mohamediya Racing was once again a winner in the second race with December, ridden by Callan, for the second Alba Cup over 1,200m straight for locally bred class 4 maiden horses, taking victory over Aahad by 1-3/4 lengths with Latif and Fihadah finishing in that order.
The opening race of the day, for the first Alba Cup over 1,200m for class 3, 4 and maiden Waho horses, was won by Musannan 1781, owned by Al Wasmiya and ridden by Hasan Al Saffar, by half a length over Krushan 1793, followed by Musannan 1811 and Al Hamdany 1810 in third and fourth places, respectively.
Alba chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa honoured the winners of the international races by presenting the cups to Shaikh Hashim bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa and Shaikh Sultan Al-Din bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa.
REHC high committee chairman Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa received the Alba Cup for the fifth race from Shaikh Daij for his horse Battle of Talas.
Humphrey Butler, founder and CEO of Humphrey Butler for Precious Jewelry, presented the Fine Jewellery Cup to Shaikh Hashim, while Shaikh Daij presented the other Alba Cups to the respective winners.
The race was attended by SCYS first deputy chairman, General Sports Atuhority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, along with royal family members and senior officials.