The four winners of the international races at the 2009 Istanbul International Racing Festival at Veliefendi Racecourse Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 2-3) were all trained in Britain, and two were trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Alan Munro — Eva’s Request, winner of the Listed International France Galop FRBC Istanbul Trophy Sept. 2 over 1600 meters on turf; and Halicarnassus, who won the Group 2 Bosphorus Cup yesterday over 2400 meters on turf. Two of the winners were sired by US-bred Soviet Star — Pressing, winner of the 1600-meter Group 2 Topkapi Trophy — the richest mile in Europe; and Eva’s Request.
Godolphin won its first race in Turkey, on the first day of the festival, with Balius in the Listed Anatolia Trophy over 1600 meters on the synthetic, to continue the torrid global streak for the Sheikh Mohammed-controlled stable. The weekend before, Godolphin or Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley won major races in the US, Europe, and Australia. Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, who’d been at Saratoga Saturday to saddle Music Note, Vineyard Haven, Sarah Louise, and others, was at Veliefendi to give Frankie Dettori the leg up on Balius.
Louis Romanet, chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), also was in Istanbul to present the trophy to the connections of Eva’s Request for the France Galop FRBC Instanbul Trophy. Mr. Romanet had also been at Saratoga recently, on Aug. 23, to address The Jockey Club’s 57th annual “Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing.”
The best performance by a local horse this year was Pan River’s 2nd to Halicarnassus in the Bosphorus Cup, but the top older horse in Turkey is Inspector, who ran 6th in the same race. Inspector, a 5-year-old by Irish-bred Bin Ajwaad, won the 2007 Gazi Derby (Turkish Derby), the 2008 Bosphorus Cup, and the prestigious local Group 1 Prime Ministry Cup on July 26. The best Turkish 3-year-old miler, the Irish-bred Orpen colt Invincible Son, was unplaced behind Pressing in the Topkapi Trophy. The once-defeated colt had won the Turkish 2000 Guineas this year.
Turkey became a member of the European Pattern Committee in 2008, and this year the Topkapi Trophy and the Bosphorus Cup were recognized by the committee as Group 2 races. The other two international races on the card — the France Galop FRBC Istanbul Trophy and the Anatolia Trophy (won by Balius) — were accorded Listed status.