Bunyan hoping Hit The Bid can reach the heights in Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury

Newbury Racecourse is gearing up for Dubai Duty Free International Weekend, which offers two-days of high-class racing on Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17.

Legendary music producer Mark Ronson will play a DJ set after racing on the Saturday. The multiple Grammy and Brit Award-winning Ronson is famed for producing seminal albums such as Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and Adele’s 19. He has also collaborated with artists from Christina Aguilera to Duran Duran and was responsible for the worldwide number one hit Uptown Funk featuring Bruno Mars.

Tickets are still available and can be booked online here.

The racing highlight at the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend is the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, staged over six furlongs for two-year-olds at 2.15pm. The prestigious contest, worth £75,000, is named in honour of the legendary Mill Reef, one of the greatest post-war Derby winners and was won last year by subsequent G1 scorer Ribchester.

There are 40 entries remaining for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes following yesterday’s scratching stage headed by Mehmas (Richard Hannon, pictured below), who has already landed two G2 six-furlong contests this season – Newmarket’s July Stakes and Goodwood’s Richmond Stakes. He only found Caravaggio too good when runner-up in the G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien, all-conquering with his juveniles in 2016 and responsible for the unbeaten Caravaggio, has four entries going forward – G1 Phoenix Stakes runner-up Courage Under Fire, G3 Round Tower Stakes victor Intelligence Cross, Leo Minor and Sportsmanship.

Another Irish trainer, Darren Bunyan, is hoping to saddle stable star Hit The Bid. The son of Exceed And Excel made headlines last time out when belying his 50/1 starting price to win the G3 Curragh Stakes over five furlongs at the Curragh on August 20.

That was his first start since finishing seventh behind Caravaggio in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes over the same course and distance in May, after which he had a wind operation.

Bunyan said: “At the moment, the plan is to come over for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

“Hit The Bid came out of the Curragh Stakes very well and is fresh in himself. He was no more than 90 per cent fit going into it, so naturally we were very pleased with his performance. We feel he deserves to step up to a race like the Mill Reef on the back of that.
“I don’t see six furlongs being an issue for him. Five or six furlongs is fine and another race I had my eye on was the Flying Childers at Doncaster. The biggest problem for him is the ground – even the last day Leigh [Roche] said he changed his legs five or six times as he wasn’t enjoying it. He wants it quick and hasn’t really had those conditions yet.

Mehmas Release 31 Aug

“It is definitely all ahead of him. He is 16′ 1 and a big frame of a horse. He will have a maximum of one more run this season and then we will put him away for next year.”

Trainer Bryan Smart has confirmed that the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes is the target for Alicante Dream, an impressive winner in Listed company at Ripon on Bank Holiday Monday, while fellow Listed scorers Mokarris (Simon Crisford) and Global Applause (Ed Dunlop) were second and fourth respectively in the G2 Gimcrack Stakes at York.

Other contenders going forward include Seven Heavens (John Gosden), a son of Frankel who made in two wins from as many starts when successful at Goodwood yesterday, and two G3 winners – the filly Nations Alexander (Richard Hannon), successful in the G3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, and Yalta (Mark Johnston), who landed the G3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.

The 57 confirmations for the £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap (2.50pm), staged over 10 furlongs on Saturday, September 17, are also revealed today, headed by joint top-weights Oasis Fantasy (Ed Dunlop) and Master Carpenter (Rod Millman).

The race programme on Saturday, September 17 includes two G3 races, the 11-furlong Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes (1.45pm) and the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes (3.25pm) over five furlongs. Both races have prize money of £60,000.

Racing on the Saturday, when there is a seven-race card, starts at 1.10pm, while the action on Friday, September 16 gets under way at 2.10pm. The Friday feature is the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup over seven furlongs worth £37,000.


The Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes

Class 1, Group 2, £75,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.15pm, Newbury, Saturday, September 17. For two-year-olds, 6f. Weights: colts & geldings 9st 1lb; fillies 8st 12lb. Penalties: a winner of a Group 1 or Group 2 race 3lb. Entries closed August 2 (70 entries), scratchings deadline August 30 (40 remain), five-day confirmation stage Monday, September 12, final declaration stage 10.00am, Friday, September 15. Maximum field size: 20


Horse    Age/Wgt Owner      Trainer

MEHMAS (IRE)  2-9-04  Al Shaqab Racing    Richard Hannon

AKHLAAQ   2-9-01  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Owen Burrows

ALICANTE DAWN  2-9-01  Bryan Smart     Bryan Smart

BARRINGTON (IRE)  2-9-01  Morecombe, Anderson, O’Callaghan, Sangster  Charlie Hills

BASHEER   2-9-01  Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum Marco Botti

BURRISHOOLE ABBEY (IRE) 2-9-01  Mrs M Gittins     Karl Burke

COURAGE UNDER FIRE (USA) 2-9-01 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

DREAM OF DREAMS (IRE) 2-9-01  Saeed Suhail     Kevin Ryan

GLOBAL APPLAUSE  2-9-01  Dr Johnny Hon     Ed Dunlop

GREY BRITAIN  2-9-01  G Smith-Bernal     John Ryan

HARRY ANGEL (IRE)  2-9-01  Peter Ridgers     Clive Cox

HIT THE BID   2-9-01  Straight To Victory Syndicate   Darren Bunyan IRE

INTELLIGENCE CROSS (USA) 2-9-01  Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE

JUMIRA BRIDGE  2-9-01  Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum  Roger Varian

KODILINE (IRE)  2-9-01  Martin McHale     Clive Cox

LEGENDARY LUNCH (IRE) 2-9-01  The Rat Pack Partnership 2016   Richard Hannon

LEO MINOR (USA)  2-9-01  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

LOST AT SEA   2-9-01  Mrs Z Wentworth    Karl Burke

MEDICI BANCHIERE  2-9-01  Global Racing Club & Elaine Burke  Karl Burke

MOKARRIS (USA)  2-9-01  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Simon Crisford

MUBTASIM (IRE)  2-9-01  Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum  William Haggas

MUTAWAKKED (IRE)  2-9-01  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Brian Meehan

NOBLY BORN    2-9-01  Cheveley Park Stud    John Gosden

PARFAIT (IRE)  2-9-01  Godolphin     John Gosden

PRIVATE MATTER  2-9-01  Cheveley Park Stud    Richard Fahey

REPTON (IRE)   2-9-01  Robin Heffer     Richard Hannon

RICH AND FAMOUS (USA) 2-9-01  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

RUSUMAAT (IRE)  2-9-01  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Mark Johnston

SEVEN HEAVENS  2-9-01  Khalid Abdullah     John Gosden

SPORTSMANSHIP (USA) 2-9-01  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

STAR STREAM   2-9-01  R C C Villers     Marcus Tregoning

SUTTER COUNTY   2-9-01  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

SWISS STORM  2-9-01  Lordship Stud & David Elsworth   David Elsworth

TOP SCORE    2-9-01  Godolphin     Saeed bin Suroor

UNABATED (IRE)  2-9-01  Mubarak Al Naemi    Marco Botti

WAQAAS   2-9-01  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Charlie Hills

YALTA (IRE)   2-9-01  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

DASHING POET  2-8-12  The Dashing Poets    Jeremy Gask

NATIONS ALEXANDER (IRE)  2-8-12  Noel O’Callaghan    Richard Hannon

PERFECT ANGEL (IRE) 2-8-12  Mildmay Racing & D H Caslon   Andrew Balding


40 go forward after August 30 scratchings’ deadline

5 Irish-trained


The Dubai Duty Free Handicap

Class 2, £75,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.50pm, Newbury, Saturday, September 17. For three-year-olds & upwards rated 0.105, 1m 2f. Penalties: after August 20, 2016, a winner of a race 5lb; a winner of 2 races 7lb. Entries closed August 16 (66 entries), scratchings deadline August 30 (57 remain), five-day confirmation stage Monday, September 12, final declaration stage 10.00am, Friday, September 15. Maximum field size: 20


Horse    Age/Wgt Owner      Trainer

OASIS FANTASY (IRE) 5-9-10  Windflower Overseas & John Dunlop OBE Ed Dunlop

MASTER CARPENTER (IRE) 5-9-10  The Links Partnership    Rod Millman

CELESTIAL PATH (IRE) 4-9-09  Gordon Woodall & Prof Caroline Tisdall  Sir Mark Prescott

STARS OVER THE SEA (USA) 5-9-07  Roger Brookhouse    Mark Johnston

MAN OF HARLECH  5-9-03  Elite Racing Club    Andrew Balding

ROSENTAL   4-9-02  P Stokes & S Krase    Luca Cumani

SCRUTINISE    4-9-02  Thurloe Thoroughbreds XXXIV   Ed Dunlop

DARK RED (IRE)  4-9-02  The Hon R J Arculli    Ed Dunlop

MEMORIAL DAY (IRE) 5-9-01  Godolphin     Saeed bin Suroor

ODE TO EVENING   3-9-01  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

SHAKOPEE   4-9-00  Kangyu International Racing (HK) Limited Luca Cumani

WHAT ABOUT CARLO (FR) 5-9-00  Anthony Pye-Jeary          Eve Johnson Houghton

GOLD PRINCE (IRE)  4-9-00  Jeff Smith     Sylvester Kirk

WATERSMEET   5-8-13  J Barson     Mark Johnston

SNOANO   4-8-13  M J Macleod     Tim Easterby

SHABEEB (USA)  3-8-13  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Roger Varian

PASSOVER   5-8-12  Kingsclere Racing Club    Andrew Balding

BERMONDSEY   4-8-12  Fittocks Stud     Luca Cumani

SCARLET DRAGON  3-8-12  Henry Ponsonby           Eve Johnson Houghton

STARGAZER (IRE)  3-8-12  Michael Tabor     Sir Michael Stoute

FELIX DE VEGA (IRE)  4-8-12  A Simpson, D Fielding & S Hull   Mick Easterby

BAYDAR    3-8-12  V I Araci     Hugo Palmer

ZHUI FENG (IRE)  3-8-12  John Connolly & Odile Griffith   Amanda Perrett

FLIGHT OFFICER   5-8-12  Godolphin     Saeed bin Suroor

LAIDBACK ROMEO (IRE) 4-8-11  Robin Craddock     Clive Cox

POET’S WORD (IRE)  3-8-11  Saeed Suhail     Sir Michael Stoute

IMPERIAL AVIATOR   3-8-10  Qatar Racing, D Hunt, & Mrs E Markham  Roger Charlton

SIR RODERIC (IRE)  3-8-10  The Links Partnership    Rod Millman

MASTER OF IRONY (IRE) 4-8-10  Qatar Racing Ltd & Partner   Ralph Beckett

INTERCONNECTION   5-8-09  Salem Rashid     Ed Vaughan

GOODWOOD MIRAGE (IRE) 6-8-09  Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford   Michael Bell

HIGH GROUNDS (IRE) 3-8-08  A M Shead, Cavendish Inv Ltd, Jack Hanson Charles Hills

CLASSIC VILLAGER   4-8-08  Brian Hargie & Rosemary Malley   Michael Appleby

MONTSARRAT (IRE)  3-8-07  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

GOODWOOD ZODIAC (IRE) 3-8-06  Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group (22) Ltd William Knight

LORD BEN STACK (IRE) 4-8-06  Owners For Owners: Lord Ben Stack  Karl Burke

MANSON    3-8-06  The Agincourt Partnership          Dominic Ffrench Davis

BAADI     4-8-06  Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar  Charlie Fellowes

SHELL BAY (USA)  4-8-05  Robin Heffer     Richard Hannon

AUTOCRATIC   3-8-05  Cheveley Park Stud    Sir Michael Stoute

LAURENCE    4-8-04  Fittocks Stud & Andrew Bengough  Luca Cumani

SHABBAH (IRE)  3-8-04  Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah   Sir Michael Stoute

ROCKSPIRIT (IRE)  3-8-04  Giuliano Manfredini    Marco Botti

MUZDAWAJ    3-8-03  Hamdan Al Maktoum    William Haggas

SIXTIES GROOVE (IRE) 3-8-03  Susan Roy     Jeremy Noseda

BEAVERBROOK  3-8-03  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

SOUTHDOWN LAD (IRE) 3-8-03  G Roddick     William Knight

SENNOCKIAN STAR   6-8-02  The Vine Accord     Mark Johnston

BEARDWOOD   4-8-01  Alan & Mark Spence    Mark Johnston

QUEBEE    3-8-00  Martin Collins     Clive Cox

MAKZEEM    3-8-00  John Deer     Roger Charlton

YOU’RE HIRED   3-7-13  George Materna     Amanda Perrett

BATHOS (IRE)   3-7-13  Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston

THREAT ASSESSED (IRE) 3-7-13  Alan Craddock     Clive Cox

BROROCCO   3-7-12  Kingsclere Racing Club    Andrew Balding

FREIGHT TRAIN (IRE) 4-7-11  M B Spence     Mark Johnston

WILD HACKED (USA)  3-7-11  Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa    Marco Botti

57 go forward after August 30 scratchings’ deadline