Lord Ben Stack out to prove Classic credentials
Newbury’s Flat season kicks off with an informative eight-race card on day one of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting, Friday, April 17.
One of the highlights is the £16,000 Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes (2.50pm) over 10 furlongs. Last year’s renewal saw subsequent Group Two scorer Western Hymn get the better of Snow Sky, who went on to finish third in the Ladbrokes St Leger in September.
A field of six is set to line up this year and trainer John Gosden is seeking back-to-back wins with Star Of Seville (Frankie Dettori). The Lady Bamford-owned filly is second favourite for the Investec Oaks in places following a six-length victory in a Doncaster maiden at the end of last season.
Winters Moon (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) has the best form on offer after finishing a close third to Together Forever in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October, while Ooty Hill (Roger Charlton/Ryan Moore) impressed in winning his only start at Newmarket last season.
Lord Ben Stack (Karl Burke/Martin Harley) beat the highly-regarded Dissolution in a mile maiden at Haydock Park and was fifth to Elm Park in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes over the same distance at Newmarket in September.
Trainer Karl Burke reported today: “Lord Ben Stack is in good shape and we are looking forward to Friday.
“He wasn’t disgraced in the Royal Lodge but some of our horses tailed off towards the end of last season and we were a little disappointed. Things did not pan out ideally for him during the race as he raced alone and ran with the choke out.
“We think he is better than that and he has been working nicely at home. It is his first run of the year, so he will improve, but this is a nice place to start.
“He is in the Dante and the Derby, and the dream is still alive.”
The line-up is completed by Gibeon (Richard Hannon/Richard Hughes) and Yeenaan (Marco Botti/Daniel Muscutt).
The Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Handicap (3.25pm, 16 runners) over seven furlongs has been won by some high-class performers in the past, notably Gregorian (2012) and Phoenix Tower (2007).
Godolphin is responsible for top-weight Strong Chemistry (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle), who was last seen out when fourth in the Group Three Autumn Stakes. Other notables include debut victor Archie (Tom Dascombe/Richard Kingscote) and Capel Path (Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore) representing Her Majesty The Queen, who was an impressive winner at Newcastle on his final start of 2014.
Lucky Beggar (Charlie Hills/Jamie Spencer) is bidding for back-to-back victories in the £25,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap (3.55pm) over five furlongs. The five-year-old will lock horns with six rivals, including last year’s third Steps (Roger Varian/Graham Lee), Robot Boy (David Barron/Graham Gibbons) and Group Two scorer Green Door (Olly Stevens/Andrea Atzeni).
The eight-race programme starts at 1.50pm and finishes at 5.30pm. The Andrew Balding-trained Elm Park and the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Room Key will both work after racing as they continue their preparation for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2.
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.
Day two of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting on Saturday, April 18, features three £60,000 Group Three contests – the Dubai Duty Free Stakes (2.15pm) and AON Greenham Stakes (2.50pm) both over seven furlongs, plus the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (1.45pm) for older horses over 12 furlongs.
The going is Good, Good to Firm in places on straight course (watering to maintain).
The Conundrum Newbury Racecourse Champion Apprentice Award
Conundrum Consulting and Newbury Racecourse have teamed up to recognise the hard work and dedication of apprentice jockeys and support them throughout the 2015 Flat season at Newbury.
Conundrum Consulting, Newbury’s HR business partner, has sponsored a new award for the apprentice who rides the most winners at Newbury during this season, with the overall winner collecting a prize of £1,250, and the runner-up receiving £500. In the event of a tie, the number of second and third places will be taken into account.
The presentation will be made at Newbury on Friday, November 27, when Conundrum Consulting will also make a £250 donation to the Injured Jockeys Fund. All thoroughbred races at Newbury will count for the purposes of this award and the latest standings will appear in the racecard and on www.newburyracecourse.co.uk throughout the season.
For more information about Conundrum Consulting, please visit www.conundrum.co.uk