By Jon Lees
Bahrain: Star Japanese mare Deirdre is set to be retired from racing after she contests Friday’s £500,000 Bahrain International Trophy under new jockey Hollie Doyle.
The six-year-old became the first Japanese-trained horse in 19 years to win a G1 in Britain when she captured the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in August 2019.
Bahrain International Trophy runners
Connections hope that Doyle, who has enjoyed a stellar 2020 Flat campaign, can bring some “fresh energy” to the mare who has won more £4 million in prize-money.
For most of her European campaign Deirdre was ridden by Oisin Murphy, with Jamie Spencer stepping in for her last start when she finished eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
As the ground was heavy at ParisLongchamp, assistant trainer Yoshi Hashida believes that she was not seen to her best on such a testing surface.
“Her condition going into the race was perfect, but the heavy ground went against her,” he said. “The French horses coped with it better.”
Hashida expects Deirdre will be much better suited to the ground conditions for the 1m2f Bahrain International Trophy.
“Her two G1 wins came on right-handed tracks at Kyoto and Goodwood,” he said. “The long straight at Sakhir will suit her. The track looks very fair and we like the firm ground that we will get. We are very excited to take part in the race.”
In a landmark season, Doyle captured her first G1, broke her own record of winners ridden by a female jockey and made her Breeders’ Cup debut.
Hashida is excited by the link up between Doyle and Deirdre. “We’ve seen that Hollie Doyle is one of the best jockeys in Britain this season,” he said.
“Deirdre is now six and she is a very clever horse – we need something fresh to energise her and that is why we feel that Hollie is an ideal jockey for her. We have found that when a female work rider rides her, that suits her better.”
Deirdre’s trainer Mitsuru Hashida confirmed that this is likely to be her last start before retirement.
Yoshi Hashida said: “Mitsuru has said that this will likely be Deirdre’s last race. We are emotional that this journey is almost over.
“We are very excited to be the first Japanese runner in Bahrain. We hope this will be a good start of a good relationship between the two countries.”
Deirdre will face 13 opponents in Friday’s race for which a strong international field also includes Irish Derby winner Sovereign (Ryan Moore) plus fellow G1 winners Lord Glitters (Danny Tudhope) and Desert Encounter (Andrea Atzeni). Frankie Dettori rides the John Gosden-trained Global Giant.
Bahrain International Trophy betting (Ladbrokes): 4 Sovereign, 9-2 Global Giant, 6 Port Lions, 7 Deirdre, 8 Desert Encounter, Lord Glitters, 10 Bangkok, Certain Lad, 12 Loxley, 20 Dream Castle, Simsir, 25 Lady Wannabe, 50 Coolagh Forest, 66 What A Welcome.