Interview with Dark Power Trainer, Alan Smith

Dark Power has an entry for the $1 million stc 1351 Turf Sprint

You first came to Bahrain in 1994, and have been training racehorses here for your second period since 2005 – why do you love Bahrain so much?
The local Bahrainis are incredibly nice and friendly people and the family that I train for are very generous and kind.

Your seven-year-old gelding Dark Power won the $1 million stc 1351 Turf Sprint at last year’s Saudi Cup under jockey Frankie Dettori; what was the experience like and what were your overall thoughts on the two-day Saudi Cup meeting?
The organization of The Saudi Cup meeting last year felt so professional, and they looked after the horse, the groom and the rider so well for the duration of their stay, and there was nothing we wanted for. When I travelled over to Riyadh, the whole experience, including the hotel and Saudi Cup day was just fantastic. Everyone was just so kind and thoroughly professional.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith

King Abdulaziz Racecourse’s turf track has been praised by leading trainers and jockeys, how does it compare to other leading turf tracks that your horses have competed at?
The turf track is of a very high quality. From what I hear, it’s better now than it was last year. It’s very well-manicured, it was a nice track and surface. The ground was good, good to firm, and Dark Power came out of the race better than he went in.

Dark Power has an entry for the $1 million stc 1351 Turf Sprint at this month’s Saudi Cup meeting; what condition is he currently in, and are you confident he can retain his title? Will Frankie be on-board?
We’ve only managed to get two runs into him this season, as there wasn’t too great a programme for him with the rating he’s got. The first run he definitely needed and in his last run he finished third, which he ran into a terrible head wind of about 30 knots. His jockey, Gérald Mossé had a bit of a problem holding him up, which meant he just ran a bit free, but he ran a nice race. He came out of that well and he’s now on the same racing weight that he went into The Saudi Cup last year on, so we’re very pleased with him.

We’ve got the services of Frankie again this year. He was down here at the Royal Stables last week and he gave Dark Power a good examination, and was really pleased with him.

How does horseracing in Bahrain compare to racing in Saudi Arabia?
I don’t think there’s much difference. We’ve got a lot more quality and depth now compared to what we had in the old days. Owners are generally buying very high class and high rated horses. We normally go down the route of buying less expensive horses, who we then try to improve, just like we did with Dark Power, which means we don’t get too disappointed when they don’t run to our expectations!

What benefits will the recent developments of horseracing in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia bring to international racing?
Overall, its improved the profile of the area in general. What Saudi Arabia did with The Saudi Cup in its first year was just unbelievable, and they achieved a very high standard. The quality of racing throughout the Middle East has got very competitive.

~ Saudi Cup