Bahrain International Trophy: Royal Fleet can sail to victory

November 18th, 2022

Fresh from another successful raid on the Breeders’ Cup, trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick can secure another rich international prize in Bahrain on Friday.

Appleby targets the $715,000 Bahrain International Trophy (G3) at Sakhir racecourse with #10 Royal Fleet, a consistent gelding who has flourished previously in the Middle East.

The Dubawi four-year-old won four of his five starts in England last year before being gelded and sent to Dubai. He ran three times at Meydan, finishing second to Desert Fire in the Al Rashidiya (G2), second to Lord Glitters in the Singspiel (G2), and winning the Dubai Millennium (G3).

He’s run three times in preparation for this race, winning a Listed race at Goodwood before two good efforts at Newmarket.

Royal Fleet is one of four Godolphin runners in the race, spread across three different trainers, and another one of their contenders in #5 Magny Cours may be the toughest for him to beat.

Magny Cours has form in this race already, finishing less than a length behind winner Lord Glitters when taking third position last year. That came at the end of a campaign which had seen him win at Group 3 level in France and finish third in the 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1).

He didn’t strike form on the Middle Eastern dirt earlier this year, finishing well down the track in the Saudi Cup (G1) and Dubai World Cup, but he was given a good break after the latter and showed his fitness when winning on the Chantilly all-weather track Oct. 8. Mickael Barzalona takes the ride.

The other two Godolphin runners — #2 Dubai Future and #7 Passion And Glory — both come from the Saeed Bin Suroor barn and should run well, with Dubai Future in particular looking to be a decent chance.

The best prospect outside the Godolphin quartet may be the Irish mare #12 Insinuendo. She has been competitive in most of her tasks this year, the only exception being a failure on very soft ground in the Prix de l’Opera (G1). Earlier she pushed both Irish Champion (G1) winner Luxembourg and Prix Saint-Alary (G1) winner Above The Curve in Ireland prior to finishing third in the British Champions Fillies & Mares S. (G1) Oct. 15. She should relish the good track.

In addition to Magny Cours, France has two other contenders: #6 Monty, twice a Group 3 winner this year, and #9 Riocorvo. The pair met in the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (G3) at Longchamp Sept. 4, with Monty winning by 1 1/4 lengths.

The most intriguing of the internationals is #3 King David, from the Norwegian stable of Niels Petersen. He’s won his last four, all in Scandinavia, but he found the going a bit tough in Meydan earlier this year and he faces a tougher challenge here.

The locals are represented by two horses having their first starts in Bahrain: #8 Pensiero D’Amore, a former English galloper having his first start for Mohammed Hassan, and #1 Dilawar, from the stable of Fawzi Nass, the leading trainer in Bahrain.

Nass caused a surprise when he saddled Simsir to win this race in 2020, and as the success of Emblem Road showed in the Saudi Cup (G1) earlier this year, the locals should not be underestimated.

Bahrain International Trophy Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #10 Royal Fleet
  • $4 Exacta: box 5, 10, 12