Dubai Duty Free’s season of international horseracing events got under way in style on Friday, 20 April when Newbury Racecourse played host to the opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend.
Three of the day’s seven races were supported by the world’s leading airport retailer and included the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup British EBF Conditions Stakes, won last year by Frankie Dettori and Shutter Speed in a race which saw super star filly Enable finish third under William Buick. That was the only defeat of her career which culminated in her being crowned champion filly of Europe after victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
This year it Buick who made it to the winner’s enclosure on the Godolphin-owned gelding Rastrelli who beat five rivals in the GBP 16,000 contest.
"I quite like him. He did everything I asked," said Buick. Since Rastrelli is a gelding there will be no Classic glory for him but then the three-year-old's trainer Charlie Appleby had carried all before him at the week's Newmarket Craven meeting where he showed off a yard full of Classic aspirants.
Along with Appleby, Richard Hannon is the hottest trainer of the moment and in Newbury's unseasonably warm weather Hannon's three-year-old Qaysar hardly broke sweat as, with Frankie Dettori aboard, as they pulverised opposition in the GBP 20,000 Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap over seven furlongs.
Qaysar will be heading for Royal Ascot's Britannia Stakes after this display - such is the esteem in which the three-year-old is held. The Britannia, a step up of a furlong at Royal Ascot, is the natural progression for this strong and imposing colt.
"The turbo kicked in and we just took off," said an admiring Dettori hogging, as ever, the post-race limelight when sharing the winners podium with Richard Hannon to receive the trophy from Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin, Salah Tahlak Executive Vice President - Corporate Services and Sinead El Sibai Senior Vice President – Marketing.
After the very next race, the maiden fillies' stakes again for three-year-olds, Frankie was on the podium once more courtesy of another winning favourite, the beautiful filly Lah Ti Dar owned and bred by the world's most famous composer of musical theatre, Lord Lloyd-Webber.
The five furlong dash for the £25,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap went to Gracious John, trained in Wales by David Evans and like his horse Evans showed a fine turn of foot, sprinting from the winners' enclosure to his car to take him to Bath racecourse where he had more runners to saddle, leaving representative Mark Johnson to receive the trophy on behalf of the winning owner.
The race was five-year-old Gracious John's forty second appearance and his twelfth victory.
The Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend continues on Saturday when the eight-race programme features three Group 3 events including the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes run over a mile and a half and the seven furlongs fillies’ trail, the Dubai Duty Free Stakes.<< Back