The rapidly improving Isle Of Jura made the transition from handicap company to pattern company look easy following an impressive win in the day’s feature race at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club, the Listed Crown Prince’s Cup, sponsored by Cebarco.
Owned by HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s Victorious Racing, trained by George Scott and ridden by Callum Shepherd, Isle Of Jura continued his rise through the ranks since arriving in Bahrain and winning a Bahrain Turf Series race to land his first pattern race, the $150,000 Crown Prince’s Cup.
Coming from the rear of the field in the 2000m event to power home and win by three-and three-quarter lengths, Isle Of Jura left a competitive nine-runner field trailing in his wake, with local runner American Flag (Alan Smith / Gerald Mosse) finishing second and fellow British raider, Lucander (George Baker / Pat Cosgrave), in third. Out of luck were the two Godolphin owned horses, Local Dynasty in fifth and Passion And Glory in sixth.
Less than twelve months ago, Isle Of Jura was still a once raced maiden heading to the horses-in-training sales. It was there he was picked out by George Scott and bought to run in the red and white colours of Victorious Racing. A two-time winner in the UK last summer, both jockey and trainer said after today’s win that the time spent in Bahrain this winter has been making of the horse.
Winning jockey Callum Shepherd said: “I just love the way he has grown up since he’s been here, he now relaxes very well and he’ll give himself every chance of getting further. Being over here, it’s really made a man of him.
“This horse means a great deal to George and I. We have always taken this horse very seriously and for him to do that in front of his owners on home soil is really special, we’re delighted.”
Winning trainer George Scott added: “He’s a lovely horse and he’s clearly improving. He’s bred to be a good horse and the sky is the limit with him, although we will just enjoy today first. It’s well documented that His Highness Shaikh Nasser has been a huge supporter of mine and to repay him in this way is so exciting.”
The Hawar Cup, run over 1200m for the sprint division of the Bahrain Turf Series, produced a one-two for the international raiders. First home was Roman Dragon for trainer Hugo Palmer and owners Michael Owen and Nick Hughes, providing a first Turf Series race win for local jockey Ebrahim Nader. In second was the ultra-consistent Brazen Bolt (John and Sean Quinn / Alberto Sanna), who maintains his lead at the top of the Bahrain Turf Series standings for the sprint division.
Former England striker and co-owner of Roman Dragon, Michael Owen said after the win: “We’re absolutely delighted. He has got speed to burn but we often think he’s better round a turning track than a straight track, so today is a lovely surprise. We thought beforehand Box To Box would be in the first three and this horse (Roman Dragon) would be in the last three, but it happened the other way round!
“Me and Nick own the horse; I bred him and we’ve owned him all his life. It’s my first time here and I am really enjoying it. My old boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, was stood here not so long ago having won the big race, the Bahrain International Trophy, so it’s clearly a lucky spot.”
The Anchorman Cup (sponsored by Howden), round four in the middle-distance division of the Bahrain Turf Series, produced a fantastic finish in which the locally trained Ecosystem narrowly held off The Parent and Burglar by a head and a neck at end of the 1800m race.
In winning, Ecosystem gave jockey Alberto Sanna a double on the day, following victory in the Bahrain Oaks. Trained by Ebrahaim Haider, Ecosystem was running in the colours of Khalid Abdulrahim, Chairman of Cebarco and sponsors of the Crown Prince’s Cup, and clearly improved for the step up in trip from a mile to record the biggest win of his career to date.
The two placed horses, both running for trainer Alan Smith and Al Adiyat Racing, come out of the race with a lot of credit. The Parent, under Gerald Mosse made the running and fought back strongly when challenged by Ecosystem, while the lightly raced Burglar, under Bahrain Turf Club ambassador Tom Marquand, did best of those closing from the chasing pack, followed by the first of the international raiders, Parlando, for Ian Williams and Paddy Mathers, who finished fourth.
It was an action-packed day of quality racing at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club, featuring not only the Crown Prince’s Cup and two races in the Bahrain Turf Series, but also the Bahrain Derby and Bahrain Oaks. The full results from the day can be viewed here.
Friday 2nd February 2024