True Mason and Marie’s Diamond among nine for Saturday’s G2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes

True Mason heads nine exciting contenders for the G2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (2.55pm) over six furlongs, the centrepiece of a tremendous eight-race card at Newbury on day two of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend this Saturday, September 22.

Newbury’s premier two-year-old race, worth £75,000, has launched the careers of several stars in recent years, none more notable than multiple G1 winner Ribchester (2015) and last year’s champion sprinter Harry Angel (2016).

True Mason (Karl Burke/Ben Curtis) has already acquitted himself well in at the top level, having finished third behind crack fillies Pretty Pollyanna and Signora Cabello in the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville on August 19.

Marie’s Diamond (Mark Johnston/Silvestre De Sousa) has the chance to bounce back after failing to give his true running in the Prix Morny, when trailing home last of the nine runners.

The Footstepsinthesand colt had previously looked on an upward curve, landing the G3 Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, on July 21 before taking second in the G2 Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on August 2. He also finished second behind Van Beethoven in the G2 Railway Stakes on June 30.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark, revealed today: “Marie’s Diamond is in very good order.

“The horse has only disappointed twice in his life at Epsom [sixth in Woodcote Stakes in June] and Deauville, and both of those races were run on soft ground.

“We are hoping Newbury avoids the rain, as he will only run if the ground is suitable.

“It looks an open renewal of the Mill Reef Stakes and, if he gets his ground, his performance in the Richmond Stakes should put him bang there.”

Britain and Ireland’s reigning champion trainer Aidan O’Brien relies on course and distance scorer The Irish Rover (Ryan Moore) as he chases his first win in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

The Irish Rover finished a decent fourth in the G2 Gimcrack Stakes at York last month, one place behind the Andrew Balding-trained Shine So Bright (Oisin Murphy), who re-opposes.

Newmarket handler John Gosden has two contenders, with Kessaar the mount of stable jockey Frankie Dettori on the back of his decisive victory in the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park on September 8.

Gosden’s other runner Marhaba Milliar (Nicky Mackay) was beaten a short-head under top-weight in a handicap at Chelmsford City on September 1.

The nine runners are completed by the unexposed Garrus (Jeremy Noseda/Jim Crowley), who made short work of his rivals in minor events at Newmarket and Newcastle in August, and Don Armado (Stuart Williams/Harry Bentley), winner of a handicap at Glorious Goodwood on his penultimate start.


Saturday’s excellent card also includes two G3 events, starting with the £60,000 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (2.20pm, seven runners) over 11 furlongs.

Course and distance winner Young Rascal (William Haggas/Jim Crowley), one of two three-year-olds in the field, has not raced since finishing seventh in the G1 Derby at Epsom Downs in June. The son of Intello was well fancied for the premier Classic after two promising wins in the spring, including in the G3 Chester Vase in May.

The older horses are headed by Khalid Abdullah’s Mirage Dancer (Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore), who has to concede upwards of 3lb after his easy win in the G3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood on August 3.

Further spice is added by last year’s winner Desert Encounter (Harry Bentley), who would provide trainer David Simcock with a fourth consecutive victory in the race.

Veteran sprinter Take Cover (David Griffiths/David Allan) goes for back-to-back wins in the £60,000 G3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy (3.30pm, 13 runners) over five furlongs.

The popular 11-year-old, twice a winner at G2 level, made all last year to beat 16 rivals. He is returning to the track after finishing fifth in the G1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on September 16.

Irish raiders Sioux Nation (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) and Hit The Bid (Darren Bunyan/Leigh Roche), third and fourth in the G1 Flying Five Stakes, both run again.

Promising three-year-old Equilateral (Charlie Hills/Jim Crowley) also turns out quickly after bolting up in a three-runner conditions race at Leicester on September 11.

Big handicap specialist Master Of The World (David Elsworth/Harry Bentley) heads the weights on 9st 10lb for the most valuable handicap on the card, the £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap (1.45pm) over 10 furlongs.

The 15 runners also include Adamant (Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore, 9st 5lb), who won impressively at Chelmsford City on his latest start, and Sandown Park runner-up Mountain Angel (Roger Varian/David Egan, 8st 13lb).

Off the track, racegoers can enjoy a variety of extra entertainment in the Dubai Duty Free Village.


Edward Barrett is taking part in a paddock challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. Edward was paralysed in a fall whilst riding in a point-to-point on April 12, 2015, and was told he may never walk again. He aims to complete a lap of the paddock without the use of crutches, which will be taking place at 12.25pm.

Read more and donate here:

Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free International Weekend starts tomorrow, Friday, September 21, when the highlights are the £37,000 Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup (3.55pm, eight runners) over seven furlongs and the £16,000 Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Race (3.25pm, seven runners) over a mile.

Newbury’s newly constructed horse wash down area will be used for the first time during the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend.

The going at Newbury is currently Good to Firm (Good in places). There is rain forecast on Thursday night.


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Harriet Collins, Head of Communications

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