Mill Reef Moments – A Four Part Series

Mill Reef Moments

Mill Reef winning The Greenham Stakes
Mill Reef wins The Greenham Stakes

The Dubai Duty Free International Weekend – which arrives at Newbury on Friday 22 & Saturday 23 September – always promises two days of bumper action and one of the weekend’s standout races – The Mill Reef Stakes – is steeped in history. Ahead of this month’s instalment we’ve taken a look back at some memorable moments from previous years.

The Mill Reef Stakes is a Group 2 race held over 6 furlongs and open to two-year-olds. The race is named after Mill Reef, a very successful racehorse from the 1970’s. Mill Reef was trained by Ian Balding in Kingsclere, a place that is local to Newbury.

Part 1 – Dark Angel

Trained by Barry Hills and ridden by Michael Hills, Dark Angel made all in the 2007  Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, leading from the start and fighting off challengers to take the G2 by a neck. The following month, Dark Angel went on to win the G1 Middle Park Stakes.

Dark Angel only raced as a two-year-old, and was retired to stud after. Some of his progeny include Lethal Force, Persuasive, Battaash, Harry Angel, Raging Bull and Angel Bleu 🏇

Watch Dark Angel’s win below.

Part 2 – Ribchester

Trained by Richard Fahey, Ribchester was aimed at the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes on only his third start. This was on his first appearance for his new owner, where he was ridden by James Doyle. After racing towards the rear of the field he moved up on the outside, overtaking his opponents and staying on to win by one and a quarter lengths. Doyle commented “It was a solid performance… he was just pricking his ears a bit in the end. He’s a big, raw type with plenty of scope and I would imagine that he will be much better next year”. Fahey said of his performance “He’s a big baby and it’s amazing how a race can bring horses on. York verified how good we thought he was and today has confirmed it. If I’ve got a Guineas horse, it’s him.”

Ribchester went on to win x4 Group 1’s in his career, including the G1 Lockinge Stakes which is held each year at Newbury in May. He won over £2m in prize money before retiring to stud afterwards.

Watch Ribchester’s win below.

Part 3 – Harry Angel

Mill Reef Moments: Part 3 – Harry Angel Like father like son! Harry Angel followed in the footsteps of his sire, Dark Angel, to win the G2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes in 2016.

Trained by Clive Cox, he took the lead by a furlong and was pushed across the line by jockey Adam Kirby to win by two and a half lengths. Harry Angel went on to win 4 other major races and was presented with the Cartier Champion Sprinter and Worlds Top Rated Sprinter Award (2017).


Come back tomorrow for Part 4 of the Mill Reef Moments!

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