Simsir Points To Carnival, Saudi

December 9, 2020

Simsir defeats Global Giant, Sovereign, Port Lions and Lord Glitters in the Bahrain International Trophy (Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club)

Bahrain International Trophy conqueror Simsir has exited his big win on Nov. 20 in the $673,000, 10.5-furlong affair in top order, per trainer Fawzi Nass. The Aga Kha-bred, who was making his first start for Nass and owner Victorious post-purchase from his breeder, could be returning to Meydan in the near future—a place at which he already owns a DWC Carnival handicap victory and Listed placing over 10 grassy furlongs, respectively. 

“He came out of the race very well,” said Nass, who also owns 25% of the 4-year-old gelded son of Zoffany. “The plan is to hopefully bring him over for the Carnival. The quarantine has already been sorted. We’re allowed temporary import, now, so he’s going to have to stay in the (Dubai) World Cup quarantine and race out of there for the duration. Hopefully at the beginning of January he comes over from Bahrain and has a race or two at the Carnival and then possibly heads to Saudi Arabia.” 

Always on the lookout for prospects who may perform well in the fair-weather conditions of the Middle East, Nass struck while the iron was hot with Simsir, a half-brother to promising 115-rated miler Sinawann. Previously, he made just nine starts in two seasons, but had won three times. 

“I called (trainer) Mick Halford and asked him if he had anything he was looking to sell that would be suited by firm ground and he immediately suggested Simsir, which was obviously a very right decision—at least for me,” Nass recollected. “He’s a horse who’s rated well at 105 and is probably the kind of horse that The Aga Khan might not want to hold onto; just under the Group level at that rating.” 

First on the docket could be the $163,000 Singspiel (G2) over nine furlongs (1800m) on opening night of the Carnival, Jan. 21. 

“Looking at how early he kicked in a 10-furlong race in Bahrain, I think he could get nine furlongs if we went there,” Nass said. “Looking at the size of him, he’s a very rangy gelding, so I think he’ll do even better with age, I would imagine. Age five could be his prime age, looking at his frame and how big and long he is, so hopefully there’s some improvement. Otherwise, he’s a straight-forward horse, really.” 

Nass lit up the market last February when Victorious’ Port Lions (40/1) won the $1 million Neom Turf Cup on Saudi Cup night in Riyadh—a race that will naturally be on Simsir’s radar, especially considering Port Lions finished 1½ lengths astern him in Bahrain less than three weeks ago. 

“There are two races in Saudi, both on the turf, the ($1 million Neom Turf Cup), which we won last year with Port Lions, and they have also put up a new handicap the day before worth $500,000 for horses from countries not from ‘Category I,’ which Bahrain falls under,” Nass explained. “If he comes to Dubai and races, that’s Category I, which means he would not be able to run there, but I’m also thinking of splitting him and Port Lions and the handicap would be a lot easier to win, obviously.” 

Triumph in their home country’s premier race was made that much sweeter for Nass and Victorious following a forgettable inaugural running in which their big chance, Euginio, suffered an accident in the parade ring and ultimately was unable to recover from his injuries. This year, shrugging off the bad fortune and loaded for bear against a doubly tough field, they finished first and fourth with a pair whose best days could well be ahead. 

“Obviously it was always the target to win such a race at home and for it to actually happen is unbelievable, really, especially with the caliber of horses who came over like (Irish Derby winner) Sovereign and (113-rated) Global Giant. He won the harder race of the two we have had so far and the first year nothing went well and it was a disaster.”

Nass also took the time to update us on Port Lions and his plans moving forward. 

“I was happy with Port Lions’ run,” he said. “He hadn’t run since February, obviously, and the season in Bahrain was cut short last year. We also didn’t get a chance to bring him over here to Dubai for World Cup night. He hadn’t run for nine months, so I think he’s done really well (in the Bahrain International Trophy). That was a tough prep run. He will stay in Bahrain and has one or two targets there, including the Crown Prince Cup and then hopefully take him over to Saudi again.”

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