Fabulous Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting at Newbury this Friday and Saturday

Flat racing returns to Newbury this Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, with the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting.

There will be clues aplenty for the new season with Classic trials, conditions races and informative maidens on offer alongside Pattern races for older horses and competitive handicap action.

The two Classic trials for three-year-olds on Saturday are the £60,000 Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes (2.15pm) for fillies and the £60,000 Group Three AON Greenham Stakes (2.50pm) for colts. Both contests take place over seven furlongs.

European Champion Two-Year-Old Belardo (Roger Varian) heads 11 entries for the AON Greenham Stakes. The son of Lope De Vega ended last season with a rating of 119 following a decisive two-length victory in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, after which a controlling stake was purchased by Godolphin.

Champion trainer Richard Hannon has entered Group One Middle Park Stakes runner-up Ivawood and dual Group Two victor Estidhkaar. The Hannon team has won four of the last eight renewals of the seven-furlong contest, most notably with subsequent Group One winners Dick Turpin and Olympic Glory.

John Gosden took the spoils with the mighty Kingman last season and has engaged the unbeaten Fannaan, while Aidan O’Brien could send over from Ireland Group One Phoenix Stakes winner Dick Whittington or Smuggler’s Cove. Kingman beat Night Of Thunder in the 2014 AON Greenham Stakes and they finished first and second in Britain’s first Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, albeit the other way around.

Karl Burke is planning to run Toocoolforschool, an impressive seven-length winner of the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury in September

The dark horse among the entries is the once-raced Flaming Spear, who went into many notebooks when taking a six-furlong maiden at York in July. The Kevin Ryan-trained colt is a general 20/1 chance for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2.

Ryan reported today: “Flaming Spear is in great shape and the plan is to go to Newbury.

“He was a big, raw horse last year and we have just given him plenty of time to mature and develop. He did fantastically well over the winter and we are delighted with the way he’s come on.

“We have always held him in high regard and are looking forward to running him again.”

A top-class entry is completed by Group Two Gimcrack Stakes winner Muhaarar (Charlie Hills), Doncaster Listed scorer Code Red (William Muir) and Hail The Hero (David O’Meara).Tiggy Wiggy

Last year’s Joint-Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Tiggy Wiggy (Richard Hannon) heads the 17 entries for the Dubai Duty Free Stakes. The daughter of Kodiac enjoyed a fabulous 2014 when winning six of her eight starts, culminating with victory in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. She was also successful over five furlongs at Newbury, taking the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint and took the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award. Hannon could also be represented by Shagah, who was second over the course and distance behind Russian Punch (James Given) in the Listed Al Basti Equiworld Celebration Stakes in October.

Royal Razalma (Jonathan Portman) landed the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket in October, while Terror (David Simcock) won two of her three starts in 2014, including a Listed contest at Newmarket. Alfayer (Marco Botti), Jellicle Ball (John Gosden) and Redstart (Ralph Beckett) were all impressive maiden winners last year.


A cracking contest is in prospect for the £60,000 Group Three Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (1.45pm) over a mile and a half for four-year-olds and upwards. The 12 entries include the 2014 St Leger runner-up Romsdal (John Gosden), while Richard Hannon has entered Windshear, who was fourth in the St Leger and made a winning reappearance at Doncaster in March, plus Group Two scorer Pether’s Moon.

Arab Spring (Sir Michael Stoute) landed the competitive Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2014 and looks the type to improve with age while there is one entry from Ireland in Parish Hall (Jim Bolger), who took the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket back in 2011 and warmed up for the new season with a spin on the All-Weather at Dundalk last month.

There are a bumper 42 entries for the £50,000 Be Wiser Insurance Spring Cup (3.25pm) over a mile, with the weights likely to be headed by dual Cambridgeshire Handicap scorer Bronze Angel (Marcus Tregoning).

Racing gets underway on Saturday at 1.15pm and runs through to 4.35pm while Friday’s card kicks off at 1.50pm and runs through to 5.05pm.

Newbury hosts its annual beer festival over both days of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting, with a discount for CAMRA members and over 40 real ales & ciders on offer.