June 6, 2023

Godolphin quartet versus Insinuendo, Dilawar in Bahrain International Trophy

Magny Cours aims to improve on his third in last year's Bahrain International Trophy (Photo by Megan Rose Photography)

With a £600,000 purse both reflecting and reinforcing its status as a rising international fixture, Friday’s fourth running of the Bahrain International Trophy (G3) has attracted a quartet from Godolphin, along with classy Irish mare Insinuendo and a new French recruit for the home team in Dilawar.

You can watch and wager on the Friday morning action from Sakhir Racecourse on TwinSpires.com. The race is scheduled for 8:05 a.m. (ET).

Bahrain International Trophy (G3) – 8:05 a.m. (ET)

Fresh off another three-win Breeders’ Cup, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has dispatched Royal Fleet for this about 1 1/4-mile contest. The Dubawi gelding was on the upswing through the Dubai Carnival, rallying for second in both the Al Rashidiya (G2) and Singspiel (G2) (to 2021 Bahrain hero Lord Glitters) before breaking through in the Feb. 25 Dubai Millennium (G3) at this trip.

Royal Fleet picked up where he left off when resuming in Britain in the fall. Successful as the odds-on favorite in the Sept. 21 Foundation S. at Goodwood, he was a better-than-appears third to Alflaila in the Oct. 8 Darley (G3) at Newmarket. Alflaila would have been the favorite here, but he was sidelined by an injury in training on Monday. Royal Fleet was most recently a distant second in the Oct. 29 James Seymour S., also at Newmarket but on soft ground, and his trainer is hopeful of a good performance on Friday.

“Everything has gone well with Royal Fleet, who has enjoyed a nice preparation,” Appleby told godolphin.com. “We know that a mile and a quarter suits him, and I feel that the style of racing should play to his strengths as well.

“I’m not too concerned about being drawn in stall 10 because they will go hard down the inside. We will just have to bide our time and hopefully get a clear run up the straight. On what he has achieved so far, he is definitely a player and we have our fingers crossed.”

Another Godolphin flagbearer, Magny Cours, was a close third in last year’s running. Based in France with Andre Fabre, the seven-year-old veteran also placed third in the 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1). The Medaglia d’Oro gelding didn’t fare as well in his dirt ventures in early 2022, finishing far back in 10th in both the Saudi Cup (G1) and World Cup. Not seen again for more than six months, Magny Cours resurfaced with an easy conditions race score over the Chantilly Polytrack on Oct. 8.

Dubai Future trains for the Bahrain International Trophy (Photo by Megan Rose Photography)

Saeed bin Suroor sends out half of the Godolphin foursome, in Dubai Future and Passion and Glory. Dubai Future was only eighth here last November, but the son of Dubawi arrives with arguably a stronger profile for this return visit. Twice a listed winner over further at Meydan, Dubai Future reached a new level when impressing in the 1 1/4-mile Wolferton S. at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently third in the York (G2) and Legacy Cup (G3) at Newbury, and the cutback should help. Stablemate Passion and Glory likewise figures to enjoy these conditions, having won the July 1 Gala S. at Sandown before dropping his last three.

“Dubai Future has shown he is a better horse than last year,” bin Suroor told Bahrain publicity. “He is a top horse who always tries his best. He’s in the right race and this is the right trip. It depends on the race and how fast they go but I’d like to keep him handy, maybe in third or fourth. There are only 10 horses in the race, but if he can be behind it will be good for him.

“If you had seen him (Passion and Glory) two years ago, he looked a different horse,” bin Suroor added. “He was a big horse who used to carry a lot of condition, and you have to be very patient with these types of horses. With time and patience, he has lost weight and become more athletic. He has won three listed races and has done well and we think this is the right race for him.

“Both of them are doing well and they are rated similarly. I can’t see much difference between them. Dubai Future always tries hard. If the pace suits Passion and Glory, I think he also has a good chance. It’s an open race, and any horse can win it.”

Danny Tudhope, who piloted Dubai Future in the Wolferton, will try to keep their perfect partnership going. Passion and Glory picks up Richard Kingscote, while Magny Cours keeps regular rider Mickael Barzalona, and Royal Fleet gets William Buick back aboard.

Carrying the hopes of Ireland is Insinuendo, the lone distaffer in the field in her career finale. The Group 2 heroine has proved her mettle versus Group 1 winners. Nearly upsetting a ring-rusty Luxembourg in the Royal Whip (G3) at the Curragh, Insinuendo also went close to Mother Earth in the Park Express (G3) back in March and to Above the Curve in the Blandford (G2) on Irish Champions Weekend. The Willie McCreery mare exits a closing third to Emily Upjohn in the British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1). Insinuendo reverts to her optimal distance here, and she gets a five-pound weight break as well.

Insinuendo looks to go out on top in the Bahrain International Trophy (Photo by Megan Rose Photography)

“We were meant to come last year but she had a little setback,” McCreery said, “so we are delighted to take up the invitation this year. She seems to love it here; she’s very relaxed and she’s training well. She is a big, free-action filly who we didn’t run her until the September of her three-year-old career because she took time to grow into herself. She’s a big mature mare now and she loves her training.

“She’ll wear a hood. She’s worn it in her last two races. We thought two or three runs ago to leave the hood on her and it seems to have settled her to save that kick for the final couple hundred yards. I’ve looked at her last three or four runs and she’s had the quickest final furlong of any horse in the race. There’s a good long straight to the track here, so if we can still be in contention turning in, we’ll be laughing.”

If so, connections could be laughing all the way to the sales ring. Insinuendo is aiming for one final catalog update en route to the elite Sceptre Session at Tattersalls December.

Dilawar just toured the auction ring himself, selling for €500,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale. Hitherto racing for owner/breeder the Aga Khan, he debuts for Bahraini horseman Fawzi Nass. Dilawar was progressive through 2021, when taking the Prix Quincey (G3). Although not quite panning out this term, he went close in the Prix du Muguet (G2) and Prix Bertrand de Breuil (G3). The son of Dubawi and Group 1 vixen Dolniya is still lightly-raced enough to have upside. Now he adds a visor and Frankie Dettori.

Last seen finishing fifth as the favorite in the Aug. 14 Prix Gontaut-Biron (G3), Dilawar will renew rivalry with French shippers Monty and Riocorvo, the respective third and sixth that day at Deauville. The consistent Monty has been in career form in 2022 with victories in the La Coupe (G3) as well as the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (G3). Coming off a second to globetrotting Addeybb in the Prix du Conseil de Paris (G2), Monty is likely to race handy from post 9 with a returning Gerald Mosse. Upwardly mobile Riocorvo, who scored his signature win in the July 20 Grand Prix de Vichy (G3), was a rallying runner-up to Monty in his latest. Olivier Peslier takes over from the banned Christophe Soumillon.

Scandinavian interest revolves around multiple Group 3 hero King David, who brings a four-race winning streak for Niels Petersen. The Danish-bred kicked off his sequence with a pair of tallies at Sweden’s Bro Park, notably the Stockholms Stora Pris (G3), finally prevailing after placing in that race for the past three years in a row. King David then turned a three-peat in the Pokallob, a listed stakes in his homeland at Klampenborg, and continued his tour by adding the Marit Sveaas Minnelop (G3) at Norway’s Ovrevoll. The question is whether his form translates better to the Mideast now than it did earlier in the year, when he was unplaced in three tries during the Dubai Carnival.

Following the withdrawals of the aforementioned Alflaila and Litigator, Pensiero d’Amore rounds out the 10-strong cast. A multiple stakes winner as well as classic- and Group 2-placed in his initial career in Italy, he joined Marco Botti in Newmarket this season. The son of Zoffany stuck to handicaps during his British sojourn, signing off with a 14-1 upset of a seven-furlong affair at Newmarket June 23. Now locally based with Mohammed Hasan, Pensiero d’Amore faces class and distance tests off the layoff for his new yard.