Spirit Dancer, a horse owned and bred by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is on course to run in the Bahrain International Trophy after an impressive victory at York’s Ebor meeting.
A rapidly improving six-year-old son of Frankel, Spirit Dancer has won his last three races and yesterday’s success in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes was his most significant to date. Trained in Yorkshire by Richard Fahey and ridden by Oisin Orr, Spirit Dancer sprinted away from a competitive field to leave established group class performers such as El Drama in his wake.
The Strensall Stakes is one of three races that carries an ‘Automatic Invitation’ for the winner to the Bahrain International Trophy. However, even before Spirit Dancer’s win in the race a trip to Bahrain was on Richard Fahey’s agenda for the progressive the six-year-old gelding.
Speaking after the race Richard Fahey said: “The race that is on my mind is the Bahrain International Trophy, a million-dollar race. I was thinking about it before today but now he’s won and secured the invitation that will be the target.”
The win was Spirit Dancer’s third success at York and Richard Fahey added: “He just loves this place, but at the moment he loves everywhere. He’s in the form of his life and I’m delighted for Sir Alex and his team and Ged (Mason), they’ve been very patient with him, he’s a big horse and he was a little immature, but he has grown into the finished article.”
A now proven high-class performer at 1m2f (2000m) and effective on good and fast ground, Spirit Dancer possesses a good profile for the Bahrain International Trophy, the race that this year has been elevated to Group 2 status and has had its prize fund boosted to $1million.
The 2023 running will take place on 17th November at the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club with entries closing on 5th October. The third and final race to carry an ‘Automatic Invitation’ for Bahrain International Trophy is the Masar Darley Stakes (Group 3), run at Newmarket on Saturday 14th October.
William Derby, Chief Executive at York Racecourse, was another pleased with the result, he said: “At York we are proud of our association with the Bahrain International Trophy. It is a really good fit with the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes and we are delighted that this year’s winner, Spirit Dancer, looks set to take up the invitation. We wish his connections well on their trip to Bahrain and look forward to continuing our partnership with the Bahrain Turf Club.”