Newmarket Racecourses is set to welcome Bahrain as a key sponsor at this week’s Boodles July Festival, from Thursday to Saturday.
Already the longest standing sponsor at Newmarket’s premier summer meeting, Bahrain has supported the Group Three Bahrain Trophy since its inception in 1991.
The Bahrain Trophy is now joined by the Group Two Princess of Wales’s Stakes (sponsored by Bahrain) and the Group Two Kingdom of Bahrain July Stakes as part of a new multi-year agreement.
All three contests take place on the opening day of the Boodles July Festival, Ladies Day.
Newmarket-based John Gosden, the five-time champion Flat trainer who now jointly shares the licence with son Thady, voiced his support of the new sponsorship agreement.
Gosden said: “It is good to see such interest from Bahrain. The quality of the racing is really on the up in Bahrain and they have increased the prize money at the big international meeting they stage over there in November.
“It has made us stop and think what nice horses have we got for that race. I think you will see the whole Middle Eastern programme between Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai become incredibly important to all of us trainers in Europe and we will increasingly target that.
“We will have horses primed for the big meeting at Bahrain in November as you can’t race right through the season here and think you will be all right for there.
“To that extent it has created a very important place for us, not only to run and exhibit those horses, but for international trade. I see it as nothing but a complete positive.”
At the Boodles July Festival, team Gosden is likely to be represented in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes by Israr.
Gosden continued: “Israr breezed on Saturday morning, and he will appreciate any rain that comes our way. It is a fresh track on the first day, but Charlie (Appleby) looks like he has got a stranglehold on the race.
“We are very pleased with him and he has run very well this year. A mile six (furlongs) just stretched him last time at York, but he would appreciate to get his toe in.
“A mile and a half is his trip, but I will be having a good look at the ground. He ran very well at Newbury on his return, but he had his ground that day.
“He is one of those big horses that is coming through the ranks. He is a big powerful horse who is improving with age when the conditions are there to suit.”
Racing in Bahrain is run by the Bahrain Turf Club with the core season starting in October and concluding in March. One of the world’s emerging racing jurisdictions, Bahrain is also one of the most exciting and fastest growing, with the feature race of the season, the Bahrain International Trophy.
This year’s Bahrain International Trophy, to be held on November 17 at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club, will be more valuable an ever, following the news that the race’s value has been increased to $1 million and the race’s status has been upgraded to Group Two level. Run over 1m 2f, the race often features a host of international runners, with last year’s race including runners from six different countries.