Dark Emerald out to shine at Newbury
Brendan Powell is hoping Dark Emerald can get his head in front again in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup over seven furlongs at Newbury on the first day of the Dubai Duty Free International Meeting, Friday, September 18.
Dark Emerald has been knocking on the door since returning from the Dubai World Cup Carnival, where he won a pair of valuable handicaps and was runner-up in the Group Two Zabeel Mile.
The five-year-old was last seen out when going down by a short-head to Richard Pankhurst in a seven-furlong conditions race at Haydock Park on September 3.
He had previously acquitted himself well in pair of Group Three contests, including when runner-up to potentially top-class three-year-old Kodi Bear in the mile Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on August 13.
Powell said: “Dark Emerald is as fresh as paint after his run at Haydock.
“He keeps running great races and we would love to get his head in front again before we give him a break and head back to Dubai.
“Looking at the race on Friday, he has got every chance. He has won on heavy ground and fast ground, so the going is not a concern.”
Dark Emerald’s eight rivals include the Hugo Palmer-trained Ascription (William Buick), who was not disgraced when beaten two lengths in the Group Two Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time out, and last year’s runner-up Jallota (Charlie Hills/James Doyle).
The three-year-old challenge is led by Montalcino (Brian Meehan/Cam Hardie), who drops back in class after two good efforts at Group Three level, and the lightly-raced Hathal (William Haggas/Frankie Dettori).
The line-up is completed by Cape Factor (Rae Guest/Chris Caitlin), Gabriel’s Lad (Denis Coakley/Oisin Murphy) and the Richard Hannon-trained pair of Lexington Times (Pat Dobbs) and Marsh Hawk (Sean Levey).
Impressive Sandown scorer Special Season (William Haggas/Pat Cosgrave) tops a field of eight two-year-olds in the £16,000 Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes (3.55pm). The mile contest boasts an illustrious roll of honour, featuring Shergar, Rainbow Quest, King’s Theatre and Nayef.
Nayef’s trainer Marcus Tregoning is bidding for a sixth victory in the race since 1999 with the debutant Tukhoom, who is an Acclamation half-brother to dual Listed victor Tupi.
He said: “Tukhoom is a slow maturing, scopey horse and is typical of the type of horse we like to run in the race.
“I don’t know how soft the ground will be but if it is soft it will probably suit a horse that has had a run. William Haggas’ horse looks the one to beat after winning easily first time out and he is by Lope De Vega, so he will probably handle the conditions.
“I’m looking for a good run from our horse because I think he will be nice in time. Hopefully, he will give a good account.”
Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free International Meeting continues on Saturday, September 19, when the £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes is the highlight and iconic UK band Madness perform after racing.