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“That was the best ever! I can’t quite believe it!” - Spirit dances to success in Bahrain International

3 minute read

Sir Alex Ferguson added another trophy to his already illustrious cabinet when Spirit Dancer landed the Bahrain International Trophy at Sakhir Racecourse.

SPIRIT DANCER (C, red cap) winning the Strensall Stakes at York in England.
SPIRIT DANCER (C, red cap) winning the Strensall Stakes at York in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Richard Fahey-trained progressive six-year-old gained automatic entry to the valuable mile-and-a-quarter prize with a comfortable success in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York's Ebor meeting, before going on to finish a creditable fourth in the Earthlight Darley Stakes at Newmarket last month.

The son of Frankel, who was the first product from Sir Alex Ferguson's Upperwood Farm Stud in Hemel Hempstead, had something to find with the main contenders on ratings, but Richard Fahey's charge took his form to a new level with a sparkling success to claim the $1 million prize.

Point Lonsdale helped force the pace throughout but soon looked like a sitting duck once coming under pressure rounding the turn for home. Market leader Nations Pride [7/4] was always well-positioned under William Buick, while Israr, who travelled up powerfully with a few furlongs to run looked a major danger.

However, the eye was soon drawn to Spirit Dancer, who quickened up smartly down the outside to put himself firmly in the picture and once given the office by Oisin Orr, he quickly put distance between himself and the pack. Israr kept on well to narrowly get the better of Point Lonsdale, who also battled on tenaciously against the far side rail, for the runner-up spot but neither could lay a glove on the winner, with Richard Fahey's six-year-old eventually finishing three lengths clear at the line.

Ferguson told Racing TV: "That is the best ever, without doubt. Against all the pedigrees and form of all the other horses – that's fantastic, I couldn't believe it.

"Richard said to leave it to the jockey, he'll be all right.

"I was terrified looking at all the other people involved in this race. Godolphin had five horses in it. That was great, I'm so proud.

"I said to the jockey 'remember, he's a Frankel'."

Orr said: "I got a lovely sit the whole race and I always felt I had plenty of horse underneath me. I couldn't believe how well he quickened in the straight, he's won well.

"He had good form coming here, maybe he just needed his last run a little, but he's come back to his best today."

An over-the-moon Fahey said: "This race has been the plan for some time, but to win it is a lovely surprise considering the quality of the opposition.

"Our stay in Bahrain has been brilliant, both Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Ged [Mason] have been incredibly well looked after and we have enjoyed every minute.

"Realistically we didn't think we would win, but Spirit Dancer and Oisin pulled it out of the fire and in the end he won well."

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