New International turf series introduced to Bahrain race program


Bahrain’s horse racing program is rapidly evolving due to the unwavering support it continues to receive from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister. 

The robust horseracing infrastructure the Kingdom proudly boasts is only one of the wide-ranging attributes that make it an ideal hub for the sport to flourish and expand locally, regionally and internationally. 

Building on this development, and the success of the Bahrain International Trophy, a brand-new turf series will begin in Bahrain from December 2021.

Ten new races have been introduced to the Bahrain race program specifically targeting international horses rated 85-100. 

The Bahrain Turf Series will be linked together and run alongside the best racing in Bahrain, including the prestigious King’s Cup, Crown Prince’s Cup and National Day Grade One.

The race series will have a total of £550,000 prize money fund. £50,000 is allocated per series race with a minimum of £30,000 to the winner. 

The turf series will also have a bonus point system attached depending on where horses finish. 

The points will be added and at the end of the series the owner of the horse with the most points in each pot will get £15,000 and the trainer of the horse with most points will get £10,000. This will mean an extra £50,000 in total prize money.

This will not only increase the competitiveness of the races held in the Kingdom, but also make more rewarding the participation of Bahraini jockeys and owners alike. With wider international participation, Bahraini jockeys and owners will be able to add to their rich horse racing expertise and showcase their local talent on a global level.

The Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club will oversee all racing in Bahrain, providing a top class concierge service for owners with horses running and trained in Bahrain. The Bahrain Turf Series will offer exclusive benefits and opportunities to owners ensuring an excellent experience of Bahrain.

Ahead of the new Turf Series starting, the third running of the Bahrain International Trophy will take place on Friday 19th November 2021 at Sakhir Racecourse.

The race has attracted high-quality international entries in its first two years, including five individual Group 1 winners in 2020. Last year’s race was won by the locally-trained Simsir who just edged out Global Giant (John Gosden) and Sovereign (Aidan O’Brien).

The race is open to horses rated over 95 and is run over a distance of 2000 meters (10 furlongs). There will be three races which will grant “Automatic Invitation” to the winners even if not originally entered:

  • Friday August 13th The Curragh – Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes (G3)
  • Saturday August 21st York – The Sky Bet and Symphony Group Strensall Stakes (G3)
  • Saturday October 9th Newmarket – The Darley Stakes (G3)

Entries for the race close on Tuesday 5th October.

“I am very proud of the Bahrain International Trophy. We have hosted the race for two years and we will be hosting it again in 2021 for the third time having seen a huge jump in the quality of horses and participants in year two,”His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Rashid Equestrian and Horse Racing Club High Committee, said.

“By introducing the new Bahrain Turf Series we hope to further attract great horses to the Kingdom of Bahrain, horses that can add a higher quality of performance to our two most prestigious races, His Majesty the King’s Cup and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince’s Cup.”

“My own personal goal is to develop the industry of thoroughbred horse racing in the Kingdom of Bahrain and if we are able to facilitate our Bahraini trainers and jockey’s relationships with European connections that will be one of my key goals met.”

“We are delighted to be introducing the new Bahrain Turf Series to our race programme and hosting these races for the forthcoming season,”His Highness Shaikh Faisal bin Rashid bin Isa Alkhalifa, Deputy Chairman of the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club, said.

“We look forward to welcoming owners and trainers to experience horse racing in Bahrain and everything that the Kingdom of Bahrain has to offer.”

“It is an incredibly exciting time for horse racing in Bahrain. We have been blown away with the amount of quality trainers, jockeys and horses who have come to race in Bahrain since the first Bahrain International Trophy in 2019,”Shaikh Salman bin Rashed al Khalifa, Executive Director of the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club said.

“To have had five individual Group 1 winners in our second running of the race, including Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign was very special. Off the back of the race’s success, the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club are very proud to introduce the Bahrain Turf Series for the 2021/22 season in Bahrain.”

Andrew Balding has sent a horse to each of the two runnings of the Bahrain International Trophy (Pivoine in 2019 & Bangkok in 2020) and is keen to continue to support the Bahrain International Trophy and the new Turf Series moving forward.

“Our experiences with sending horses to Bahrain has been exemplary. The fantastic facilities for the horses and stable staff, coupled with brilliant hospitality means we would love to be returning there this winter for either the Bahrain International Trophy or the new Turf Series. Preferably both!,”Balding said.

John & Thady Gosden have finished 2nd in both Bahrain International Trophy races held (Turgenev in 2019 & Global Giant in 2020). Thady Gosden is full of praise for the set-up in Bahrain.

“Having taken horses to the inaugural, and second running of the Bahrain International Trophy, the race remains firmly as a target. The training and quarantine facilities in Bahrain are world-class, and constantly being improved. The racecourse is also well-suited to the European style of racing, and we would not hesitate to take the right horses there in the future,” Gosden said.

Frankie Dettori has been riding in Bahrain for over five years and has had plenty of success there including four Crown Prince’s Cups. He finished second on Global Giant in the 2020 Bahrain International Trophy for His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

“It is a joy to ride in Bahrain. It is probably one of the best turf courses in the Middle East. His Highness Shaikh Isa has done a fantastic job in creating the Bahrain International Trophy, which has already attracted some incredible horses. It is a very exciting time for horse racing in Bahrain,” Dettori said.