Look Back At The Flat: Newbury’s Top 10 Flat Moments Of 2023
The BetVictor Flat Season Finale with Oktoberfest is just around the corner, which presents the perfect opportunity to relive the Top 10 Flat Moments Of 2023!
1. Chindit bites Modern Games
Arguably the most widely recognised race of our flat season was our Group 1 showpiece, the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes. Chindit had been leading well until Modern Games shook things up and took the lead with 150 yards to go. Upset at being passed, Chindit stretched out at Modern Games and tried to bite his shoulder. Unfortunately for Modern Games’ jockey, William Buick, his hand became the barrier between Chindit’s teeth and his rides shoulder, giving him a little graze across his hand. Some say it was a small price to pay in exchange of winning a Group 1!
2. Isaac Shelby Wins The Watership Down Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes
In a shocking start that saw hot favourite Chaldean send Frankie Dettori flying (not in usual Frankie fashion!), the chestnut three-year-old made all in this prestigious Group 3 race and was unchallenged throughout the run.
3. Shaquille wins the Listed BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes
Shaquille ran very strongly in the 2023 BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes (Listed) on Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, winning easily under a great ride from jockey James Doyle. Shortly after his victory, Big Shaq (as he’s fondly known at home) went on to win the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the Group 1 July Cup Stakes at Newmarket. A horse with a very bright future ahead!
4. Haskoy wins the Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes with Frankie Dettori on board
Another exciting success to come out of Al Shaqab Lockinge Day! When Haskoy looked to be outpaced by her competitors in the 1m 4f race, jockey Frankie Dettori rallied and pushed her between horses over 1f out before being shaken up to stay on inside the final furlong, winning by a head.
5. Relief Rally wins the £250,000 Weatherby’s Super Sprint
Relief Rally had Tom Marquand singing in the rain after this impressive win! The filly had unfortunately succumbed to defeat at Royal Ascot by a nose, but more than earned her victory in the Weatherbys Super Sprint as she charged through to win by a cool 3 lengths.
6. 150/1 winner Zoulu Chief
The Heather Main-trained 2yo had only previously raced once, and after coming 7 out of 8, he was given odds of 150/1 at Newbury in the Starlight Charity Remembers Christopher Hanbury Maiden Stakes. Zoulu Chief made all, beating the 5/4 favourite by 4 and 3/4 lengths. His groom had the best reaction at the victory.
7. 11-year-old Not So Sleepy wins the Dubai Duty Free Autumn Cup
Earlier in the year, Not So Sleepy had come 5th in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival, where he competed against the unbeaten Constitution Hill. Fast-forward to September and the 11-year-old swapped his hurdling shoes for some flat ones and made all in the £70,000 Autumn Cup to win easily. His trainer, Hughie Morrison, said in an interview that he was a very special horse because “he has always been the same. From the day he arrived he has always wanted to run away with the jockey”. Not So Sleepy by name and certainly by nature!
8. Witch Hunter takes the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes
Witch Hunter flew from the back of the field to land a career best in the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes. At a price of 12/1, the win brought a little surprise to trainer Richard Hannon as his hopes were laid on Chindit who had placed 2nd in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes back in May of this year. Unfortunately the recent rain had affected the ground a little more than what Chindit could handle, meaning that he finished in 3rd on his final race before retiring to stud in India.
9. Array wins the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes
Array stole away with the win for the Balding family in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes. The race was named after a very successful racehorse trained by Ian Balding in the 70’s, and unfortunately despite his son Andrews countless other successes, the race had (until now) never gone in his favour!
10. Arrest is Frankie Dettori’s last win at Newbury
Arrest made all in the long-running Group 3 BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes, going clear of the others with one furlong left to run to win comfortably. The race had been previously won twice by Hukum, Baaeed’s half brother. It was Frankie Dettori’s last win at Newbury before retiring from British racing, so of course, this had to be the last of our Top 10 Moments of 2023!
You can wave goodbye to the 2023 flat season at the @betvictor Flat Season Finale on 27 and 28 of October! 🏇
Limited tickets for BetVictor Flat Finale with Oktoberfest remain.