Jockey Tadhg O’Shea rode Taqleed to victory in the feature race of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury on Saturday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archive

Newbury: It was only appropriate that the most valuable race of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury, Saturday's £75,000 (Dh434,850) Dubai Duty Free Handicap, was won by one of the events and racecourse's biggest patrons.

Taqleed, racing in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, came from last to first to win on a talent-soaked eight-race card.

Shaikh Hamdan's stable jockey Richard Hills had opted to ride his other runner Dhaamer but it was Taqleed, the mount of Tadhg O'Shea, who stole the honours from right under his nose.

"I couldn't choose between them beforehand," said John Gosden, who trains both horses. "And you know it's the same groom who looks after Taqleed as my St Leger winner Masked Marvel."

The Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy is established as one of the country's top sprints with the winner traditionally going on to participate in the Prix de l'Abbaye on Arc de Triomphe day in Paris on October 1.

Not this year though, for James Fanshawe's winner Deacon Blues will instead take on his stable mate Society Rock in the sprint race on British Champions Day at Ascot on October 15.

Frankie Dettori rode the winner and the great showman performed one of his trademark flying leaps from the saddle in the Newbury winners' enclosure.


"Johnny Murtagh [Deacon Blues' usual rider] was on the phone to me straightaway after the finish," said Fanshawe.

There will be some tussle for the ride at Ascot as Dettori would love to retain the ride on the winner.

Earlier, the £60,000 Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, named after the immortal Derby winner, confirmed its status as one of the season's most prestigious two-year-old events. This year's field was well up to standard and the impressive winner was Caspar Netcher, named after a Dutch painter.

Trainer Alan McCabe said the plan is now the Breeders' Cup Juvenile — an ambitious one at that but the winner of the Mill Reef can never be taken lightly and Kieren Fallon was equally impressed.

The former champion jockey was completing a double having early been aboard Green Destiny in the £50,000 Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial.

Breeders' Cup hero

This race did not reveal a Paris contender like last year — but it threw up a Breeders' Cup hero in the shape of Dangerous Midge.

The William Haggas-trained Green Destiny gave weight away all round, including to Dangerous Midge, after which the trainer observed: "That's racing."

Haggas gave a wry smile and shook his head on greeting his horse back to the winners' enclosure and said: "This is a good horse and he will now go to Ascot for the Champion Stakes."

Newbury's big day could hardly have started better for the Godolphin team when Mighty Ambition won on his career first start.

The impeccably-bred son of Street Cry's victory was, according to Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford "not entirely unexpected" and Mighty Ambition's next outing will be accompanied with high hopes and expectations.