Michael Owen emulated his old Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson by welcoming home a winner in Bahrain as Roman Dragon surprised connections in the Hawar Cup.
Ferguson saw Spirit Dancer continue his rise through the ranks in November when winning the Bahrain International Trophy and while Roman Emperor was not winning at that exalted level, it clearly meant just as much to the former Liverpool and England striker.
While Roman Dragon is far from the best horse Owen has owned, the fact that he also bred him means he has a soft spot for the sprinter, who before this had only ever won at Chester.
Ridden by Ebrahim Nader, he came with a powerful late run to beat John and Sean Quinn’s Brazen Bolt by half a length.
“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,” said Owen.
“We thought beforehand Box To Box (unplaced in the Anchorman Cup) 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 (Hughes) 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 Listed His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa Cup went to George Scott’s Isle Of Jura, ridden by Callum Shepherd.
“He’s a lovely horse and he’s clearly improving,” said Scott.
“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 (owner) has been a huge supporter of mine and to repay him in this way is so exciting.”
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