Stage set for thrilling Dubai Duty Free International Meeting and the return of Madness
Ooty Hill back in Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup
Newbury hosts a superb seven-race card on day two of the Dubai Duty Free International Meeting, Saturday, September 19, with a concert after racing from iconic UK band Madness, who played to great acclaim and a huge crowd at the course in 2009.
The most prestigious race of the afternoon is the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (2.15pm, six runners).
Godolphin has never won the £75,000 six-furlong contest and is doubly represented through Group Two Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Ribchester (Richard Fahey/James Doyle), who will be sporting the famous royal blue silks for the first time, and Log Out Island (Richard Hannon/Andrea Atzeni).
Whitman (Mark Johnston/Dane O’Neill) steps up in class on the back of a Listed success at Ripon, as does King Robert (Bryan Smart/Richard Kingscote) who is protecting an unbeaten record after wins at Carlisle and Chester.
Gimcrack Stakes third Raucous (William Haggas/Pat Cosgrave), who has two lengths to find on Ribchester on their running at York, and maiden Salt Lake Sooty (Denis Quinn/Robert Winston) complete the line-up.
Classy middle distance performers clash in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (1.45pm) over 11 furlongs, with the runners featuring Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Eagle Top (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) and Group One fourth The Corsican (David Simcock/Jamie Spencer).
Godolphin’s Sky Hunter (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) is set for his first start since taking a Group Two prize in good style at Meydan, Dubai, in March, while the Roger Charlton-trained Ooty Hill (Andrea Atzeni) is also returning from a break.
Ooty Hill, the only three-year-old in the six-strong field, went into many notebooks when capturing a seven-furlong maiden at Newmarket in October last year but had a setback after chasing home subsequent Classic heroine Star Of Seville in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury in April (pictured). The grey Dubawi colt was bred by owner Anthony Oppenheimer.
Charlton, who trains at Beckhampton in Wiltshire, said today: “Ooty Hill had a setback and hasn’t run since April.
“I would expect him to need this race but we want to get him back on track as soon as we can.
“There are several horses in the race currently with better form than him and expectations are not high.
“I think in the long run he is going to be a nice four-year-old. We are only looking to get one or maybe two runs into him this autumn as he is a big, weak horse and will hopefully come into his own next year.
“He doesn’t want the ground too quick. If the ground stays like it is at Newbury or dries out a bit, it should be OK for him.”
Hillstar (Sir Michael Stoute/Jimmy Fortune), a Grade One winner in Canada last year, and Battalion (William Haggas/Pat Cosgrave) complete the field.
Portland Handicap victor Steps (Roger Varian/Jamie Spencer)makes a quick reappearance in the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy (3.25pm) over five furlongs. His 11 rivals include the evergreen Kingsgate Native (Robert Cowell/James Doyle) and York winner Caspian Prince (Dean Ivory/Robert Winston).
Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani has won three of last 10 runnings of the £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap (2.50pm) over 10 furlongs, including subsequent Group One scorer Presvis in 2008, and relies on Beverley scorer Laurence (Andrea Atzeni) among the 18-strong line-up this year.
The racing action gets underway at 1.10pm, with Madness taking to the Party in the Paddock Stage at approximately 5pm, following the last race.
The Dubai Duty Free International Meeting starts tomorrow, Friday, September 18, when the £37,000 Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup (4.25pm, nine runners) is the highlight.