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Celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen and Dubai Duty Free at Newbury Racecourse, UK
(22 April 2017)

 

Her Majesty The Queen's 91st birthday coincided with opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting at Newbury Racecourse on Friday, 21 April, heralding the start of the 2017 season of Flat racing at the Berkshire course. Her Majesty graced the occasion for the eighth successive year while the leading airport retailer celebrated 22 years of outstanding support for British racing.

Her Majesty's Maths Prize, trained by Roger Charlton and ridden by Ryan Moore contested the £16,000 Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes for three-year-olds, the first of eight races backed by Dubai Duty Free at the two-day fixture. Maths Prize carried topweight having won two of his four races in his first season and being placed in the other two.

A 223-day absence plus giving the weight to his five opponents proved too stern a task. Shutter Speed, one of two Khalid Abdullah-owned John Gosden-trained fillies won the race comfortably under Frankie Dettori. Shutter Speed won her only race as a two-year-old and is now disputing favouritism for the Oaks.

Dettori and Gosden were fulsome in their praise of Shutter Speed and she will head to an Oaks Trial at Chester or York en route to Epsom in June. "She won like a class filly," said an admiring Dettori. Runner-up was the Group One placed colt Raheen House, giving the form an authentic look.

There hasn't been a race better named than the Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Stakes, a £20,000 seven furlongs handicap for three-year-olds. The winner was 25-1 outsider Bacchus for William Buick taking time off from his Godolphin duties to ride for Brian Meehan.

For once the all-conquering John Gosden was foiled as his Chessman, the favourite, failed by a neck to catch Bacchus and add to the leading trainer's winning run.

Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin had struck in the first race. It was for two-year-old newcomers, a promising looking field in which the Godolphin blue was carried by Gold Town to a comfortable victory. Gold Town started favourite and jockey William Buick was quick to say how much the colt would improve for this introduction. "One slight tap was all I needed," said Buick.

The Dubai Duty Free Class 2 Handicap brought a speedy conclusion to the first day's sponsorship when Sir Robert Cheval took just sixty seconds to land the £25,000 five furlong sprint. Home-bred by a group of enthusiasts called Heart of the South Racing, Sir Robert Cheval was transferred to 'Sprint King' trainer Robert Cowell after failing to win for nearly two years and the move worked perfectly.

Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin and Salah Tahlak, Executive Vice President – Corporate Services, were on hand to present trophies to the delighted winning connections in each of the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored races.

Despite disappointment for The Queen, the meeting did produce one Royal winner when Mulhimatty battled gamely to carry the colours of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum to victory in a thrilling three-way photofinish in the first division of the Coln Valley Stud Bridget Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, the penultimate race on the programme.

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