Dubai Godolphin and its breeding arm Darley are the heavyweight sponsors of this weekend’s Dubai Future Champions Day festival at Newmarket, a blockbuster event of sorts that offers a peak into the future of flat racing.
The majority of the races on the double header are dedicated to two-year-horses who will be seeking to advertise themselves as big-race hopefuls as they progress into their Classic year in 2018.
The Darley Dewhurst Stakes, a seven-furlong contest open to juvenile colts and fillies, is the marquee event and takes place on Saturday. It is British racing’s most prestigious young race with the leading contenders usually becoming major players in the following season’s Classics.
The most recent winner of the £500,000 contest to achieve a Classic victory is Churchill. He won the 2,000 Guineas in 2017.
Dubai-owned horses have a good record in the contest with eight wins in the last 20 runnings, the most recent of them being Godolphin’s Dawn Approach who triumphed in 2012.
This year Cardsharp and Emaraaty will be hoping to make a strong statment for owners Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, respectively.
Cardsharp, who is trained by Mark Johnston in Yorkshire, won the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket in July.
However, both horses will need to produce something special on the Rowley Mile if they hope to upstage a strong field that includes Expert Eye, impressive winner of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Group 1-winning filly, Happily; Gustav Klimt, star of the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket and recent Group 2 Champagne Stakes victor, Seahenge.
Jim Bolger, who trained Dawn Approach to win the Dewhurst, has won five of the last 11 runnings. The Irish legend bids for a sixth trophy with Group 1 National Stakes winner, Verbal Dexterity.
The main support race on Saturday is the £250,000 Cesarewitch Handicap, which will be celebrating its 179th renewal.
Friday celebrates Autumn Ladies Day and the return of The Style Awards in addition to four Group races with top billing going to the £500,000 Fillies’ Mile, Europe’s joint most valuable Group 1 two-year-old race.
Racegoers to Newmarket will be also treated to a strong dose of entertainment at a Bedouin-themed marquee along with the world-class horseracing.
1:50 Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 5f ITV4
2:25 Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 7f ITV4
3:00 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f ITV4
3:35 bet365 Fillies’ Mile (Group 1) Cl1 (2yo) 1m ITV4
4:10 bet365 Old Rowley Cup Handicap (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo) 1m4f ITV4
4:45 Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10 Race) Cl4 (2yo) 7f RUK
5:20 Join Club Godolphin Pride Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f RUK
1:50 Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo) 1m2f RUK
2:25 Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 1m ITV
3:00 Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 7f ITV
3:40 Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo+) 2m2f ITV
4:15 Darley Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 7f ITV
4:50 Darley EBF Stallions Boadicea Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f RUK
5:25 Darley Club Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m1f RUK