The opening day of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury Racecourse featured the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup which delivered a repeat success for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Tabarrak, winner of the race two years ago.
Tabarrak was renewing his rivalry with Clive Cox’s Salute The Soldier who has finished ahead of Sheikh Hamdan’s six-year-old gelding in his two most recent starts, but at level weights Tabarrak found no problem in reversing the form.
Richard Hills representing Sheikh Hamdan received the winning owner’s trophy from Colm McLoughlin Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Sinead El Sibai Senior Vice President – Marketing and Marketing Assistant Bernard Aquino.
The stand-out performance of the day came in the £16,500 Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Fillies’ Stakes for two-year olds over seven furlongs. Many of the top stables were represented in seven-strong field and they included two fillies by Frankel, home-bred by Cheveley Park and Juddmonte Farms respectively.
They, Melnikova the favourite for Sir Michael Stoute and Quadrilateral for Roger Charlton, were hoping to add to their invaluable stud potential and the handsomest among them, Quadrilateral bewitched her field winning by the ever increasing distance of nine long lengths.
The £10,000 Dubai Duty Free Nursery for two-year-olds over seven furlongs saw a strong field of well-developed youngsters. Local trainer Richard Hannon who had won the first race on the card with a big outsider, fielded three of the eleven runners though the favourite Macho Time had travelled down from the North Yorkshire stables of Karl Burke.
But it was Hannon again with the filly Separate. She came home clear of her field – at surprisingly long odds considering runners from the nearby Herridge stable of the clear leader of the Newbury trainer’s table have such a following, they rarely go unbacked.
“She’s a lovely sweet filly,” said Hannon. “She was second in the very first two-year-old race here last April, this was her first go at seven furlongs, and she carries the same blue and white diamond colours as my Middle Park Stakes runner at Newmarket next Saturday.
Dubai Duty Free is responsible for no fewer than nine of the meeting’s 14 scheduled races, the first of which was the £25,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap over twelve furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards.