By Nicholas Godfrey
Sakhir (Friday): Bahrain International Trophy G3 £500,000 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
Lord Glitters (David O’Meara/Jason Watson)
Hugely popular globe-trotting veteran Lord Glitters landed another lucrative prize at the Bahrain Turf Club’s Sakhir base on Friday when he stormed home with a typical late charge to claim the third running of the Bahrain International Trophy.
A high-quality cosmopolitan field was assembled at the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club (REHC) for the £500,000 event, newly elevated to G3 status for 2021. Now a further hike in grade must surely be on the cards sooner rather than later as Lord Glitters defied a 3lb penalty for his G1 win at Meydan in March in a thrillingly tight finish, beating fellow G1 winner Barney Roy by a half-length.
So the eight-year-old beat the seven-year-old in a heartwarming result – and it was a six-year-old a neck away in third in the shape of Magny Cours, who represents Godolphin’s French arm.
Indeed the Godolphin duo had looked sure to dominate the finish as they battled for home in the long Sakhir straight, only for Lord Glitters – last in the early stages, first at the post – to score another famous success that left trainer David O’Meara and jockey Jason Watson grasping for superlatives.
O’Meara described the gelding as the “horse of a lifetime” while Watson, deputising for the injured Danny Tudhope, said he was a “legend of the sport”.
As for Bahrain itself, in only three short years the kingdom’s signature international race has established itself on the global racing circuit. Next month’s inception of the new ten-race Bahrain Turf Series promises another significant step towards achieving the ambition of becoming a key international destination on the racing map.
Around 20 European-trained horses are expected for the series, set to run from December to March featuring £550,000 in prize-money.
Shall we talk about it?
David O’Meara (Lord Glitters’ trainer): “It means the world to us because he’s not a young horse. There are no words. He is a fantastic horse; I might have been quoted in the past saying that he is a horse of a lifetime and I think he is for us. He has proved it once again and we don’t have loads of horses like him, so he is very special to us.
“We felt he could be competitive again this year. The Group 1 penalty was a little bit worrying but this year he got a good pace whereas last year they hacked and let a couple of them go. There was a lot of talk this year that there was a lot of pace and that’s the scenario in which Lord Glitters is always going to be dangerous.
“Every big race we run well in, it’s a bonus. I’ve had good horses like him in the past but they’re on the decline by the time they are rising nine so we’re under no illusions that he’s probably got only a short window left in his career.
“I can’t imagine him coming here again when he’ll be nearly ten. There will come a time when his old legs start to give way on him but not yet. The enthusiasm is still there; the ability is still there. He’s a Queen Anne winner and he could have been a dual Queen Anne winner. To me he was overlooked.”
Jason Watson (Lord Glitters’ jockey): “It’s a really big deal to me. I’ve had a rocky year back home, personally and in my job and it’s been tough to deal with, so I’m delighted. There was a big amount of pressure on me coming out here to ride a horse like Lord Glitters, who is such a legend of the sport and so well supported back home. I’m just pleased that he pulled it out of the bag for me today.
“David said to me to get him relaxed and he was from the word go. I was sure the race was going to work out to suit us by going hard but watching last year’s race it’s very difficult to come off the pace but we went a pretty good gallop. We were always travelling well and I could see a few horses weren’t going so well, like Zakouski. The best horse for me to follow was Barney Roy and it worked out.”
Charlie Appleby (Barney Roy’s trainer): “Barney Roy has run a fantastic race and we’re delighted. The two old boys went at it and I always felt the race could be set up for Lord Glitters as they were gonna go hard this year.
“We came there to win our race and thought we’d won it but always with Lord Glitters the race isn’t over until he hits the line and he hit it at the right spot. We’re pleased to be part of it – it’s a great race and we’ll be part of it next year. This race is in the calendar year now and it’s a race we’ll point horses to.”
Shaikh Salman bin Rashed Alkhalifa (Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club’s executive director): “To have had two Group 1 winners fighting out the finish was very special. On paper, it looked a very strong renewal for a Group 3 and so it proved. Lord Glitters and Barney Roy are very well-known horses who have won Group One races in multiple countries. It was a thrilling race to watch, and we are very excited to see how the race can progress in future years.”
• Visit the Bahrain Turf Club website