Simsir shines under Lee Newman in Bahrain International Trophy

Simsir caused an upset in the second running of the Bahrain International Trophy at Sakhir racecourse under former champion apprentice Lee Newman.

Formerly trained by Mick Halford in Ireland, the Zoffany gelding joined Bahrain national Fawzi Nass only recently and benefited from an enterprising ride by Newman

John Egan set stiff early fractions on Coolagh Forest and while the rest of the field were content to ignore him, Newman never let the leader out of his sight.

Before turning into the home straight Simsir took over at the head of affairs in the £500,000 showpiece and it then became a matter of whether he could hold on.

Global Giant was awkward from the stalls under Frankie Dettori and had to come wide before making rapid strides late on, with Ryan Moore and last year’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign also finishing strongly.

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The three flashed across the line almost together but Newman – who attempted similar tactics in last year’s race on Rustang only to be caught late on – had just left enough up his sleeve.

Nass also ran the well-fancied Port Lions but he finished just out of the frame in fourth.

Nass said: “This is a dream come true. I’m usually an invitee at another country so it’s nice to win it at home.

“It was a thrilling race, but I think the jockey won the race – Lee Newman gave him an absolute peach. Lee has been riding well here and knows the track well which is why we opted for him.

“I had to pick Port Lions (unplaced), but obviously Simsir is a good horse in Europe so he deserves to be here.

“It’s too early to think what is next, I didn’t expect this.”

Lee Newman and Simsir hold off Global Giant and Sovereign
Lee Newman and Simsir hold off Global Giant and Sovereign (Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club)

Nass added: “Mick Halford always assured me that he likes it firm and he was right. For me, it was the jockey’s race. I thought he committed early in the straight, but he proved me wrong!”

Newman, who was champion apprentice in Britain in 2000, has broken his back and his neck in a career that has spanned across the globe.

He was very appreciative of getting the call up from Nass, and said: “I took the bull by the horns at the five-furlong pole and kicked on from there. It’s track that you can do that at if your horse is a galloper and he is that.

“It is down to Fawzi for putting his trust in me as he could have asked any jockey from anywhere in the world, but he asked me. I am delighted.”

Group One-winning Deirdre, who was making her final start under Hollie Doyle, could only finish eighth.

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