horse racing

Dubai hopefuls eye Future Champions Day Festival

Godolphin, Hamdan horses have strong claims in Newmarket showpiece

Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer
17:57 October 11, 2018

Dubai: Newmarket Racecourse is set to stage the much-anticipated Dubai Future Champions Festival this weekend, a two-day extravaganza designed to showcase talent among the best juvenile horses in Europe.

Friday, Autumn Ladies Day, will feature four Group races led by the £500,000 Fillies’ Mile, Europe’s joint most valuable Group 1 two-year-old race together with the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes, one of Saturday’s three exciting Group races.

Leading owners from the UAE have shown significant interest in the showpiece meeting ever since it was launched in 2014.

So, it is not unusual to see several leading contenders carrying the famous royal blue colours of Team Godolphin, the stable created by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance.

Both Godolphin and Shaikh Hamdan have leading chances in the Fillies’ Mile through Beyond Reason and Layaleena, respectively.

Beyond Reason, who is trained by in-form Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby is looking to add a third pattern race victory to the two she has already claimed, both coming at Deauville, France where she won the Group 3 Prix Six Perfections in July and then the Group 2 Prix du Calvados the following month.

She makes her first start running sixth in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud at the Curragh, Ireland, on September 16.

Assessing her prospects Appleby said on the Godolphin website: “Beyond Reason was slightly disappointing in Ireland last time out but William felt that she wasn’t very comfortable on the dead ground.

“She has freshened up well since and will appreciate racing on a sounder surface at Newmarket.

“The step up to a mile should suit and I am hopeful that she will be very competitive.”

On the same card, four-year-old D’bai (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) continues over seven furlongs in the G2 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes after being caught by a neck in the G2 Park Stakes at Doncaster on 15 September.

Layaleena is a relatively unexposed daughter of Sea The Stars who won her maiden at Newmarket in July, before finishing sixth at Lingfield on her only other start in September.

Appleby is also represented by D’bai in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes, for three year olds and over.

The trainer said: “We were very happy with D’bai’s latest run at Doncaster and a repeat of that effort should put him bang there.”

D’bai takes on seven rivals including dual Group 1 victor Limato, Doncaster Group 3 scorer Dancing Star and recent Newbury Listed winner Mankib.

Saturday’s racing features another three Group races, including the £500,000 Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes and the Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch, a two and a quarter mile heritage handicap which has seen its prize money doubled since last year, making it the joint most valuable flat handicap in Europe.