Down horses do battle in Bahrain Turf Series Hawar Cup

Former Longstone footballer Peter Trainor runs Natural Path in the Hawar Cup in Bahrain
Andy Watters

FORMER Longstone footballer Peter Trainor runs his horse Natural Path in the Hawar Cup in Bahrain tomorrow and he'll have competition from fellow Down native Stan Moore in the prestigious gallop which is part of the Bahrain Turf Series.

Moore, originally from Dromore, will run Wonder Elzaam (ridden by Bahrain regular John Egan, father of last year's Saudi Cup-winning jockey David) in the flat-out sprint over 1200 metres which is one of 10 international races in Bahrain which are each worth £50,000 to the winner.

“It's not too often you get two men brought up a few miles down the road from each other going head-to-head for a 50-grand race in the Middle East,” points out Peter who partnered the late, great Ambrose Rodgers in the Longstone midfield for many seasons.

To qualify for the Bahrain Series, a horse has to be rated between 85 and 100. Trainor's horse was an unbeaten two year-old in France and won twice in the UK to reach the qualifying mark for Bahrain.

Well known in racing circles, Stan left Dromore to compete as a jockey in the Republic and in England and he has been training racehorses for the past 30 years. His biggest success as a trainer came in 2009 when he won the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp with Total Gallery in 2009.

So will there be a county Down winner in Bahrain? Stan says both horses have a chance tomorrow.

“They'll both run well,” he predicts.

“We were fifth and sixth the last time they met in Bahrain so there won't be much between them tomorrow but hopefully it's first and second and I hope it's me that wins it (laughs). We'll be celebrating anyway if one of us wins.”

The temperature is in the low-20s in Bahrain at this time of the year and both men have been impressed by the standard of the horses and the standard of the grass track at Bahrain Turf Club.

“It would be as good as a Royal Ascot or a Glorious Goodwood handicap,” says Stan whose horse Wizard Of Eye will be aimed at this year's Irish 2,000 Guineas, but has an ambitious assault on the Saudi Derby (first prize £1.5million) on his agenda first.

Peter adds: “It's a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. The quality of the horses is very good and so is the quality of the track. It's an unbelievable turf track for the Middle East.”

Kieran Shoemark will ride Natural Path tomorrow and Peter has high hopes because the horse has improved steadily since he bought it in France as a two-year-old.

“I've always been involved in racing but I never had too many good horses,” he says.

“I saw Natural Path in France and when he arrived with us he looked a bit ragged but we've freshened him up and turned him out and he has come on a bagful.”

Victory tomorrow will open the door to the prestigious and lucrative flat racing scene in the UK this summer.

“Whether the win, lose or draw here – they'll be going back to the big Saturday handicaps in the UK,” predicts Stan.

“Peter is one-up on me at the minute, one of his horses beat one of my good horses at Salisbury last June so I want to get one back on him on Saturday.”

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