Dubai: Thoroughbred racing can sometimes be hard on a horse. But Communique showed that there is no such thing as ‘too much’, when he notched his fourth success of the season in what was his 11th outing for record-breaking handler, Mark Johnson.
The Irish-bred son of Racing Post Trophy-winning stallion Casamento, scored a cosy length and a quarter victory in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap, one of four races sponsored by one of the leading airport retailers as part of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury Racecourse in England.
Ridden by Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, sporting the racing silks of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Casamento chased the leaders until he was ridden to lead entering final 400 metres.
Despite having had a busy 2018 campaign, the three-year-old colt looked none-the-worse and was travelling well under pressure to win well within himself.
Four starts earlier, at Glorious Goodwood it was Casamento who took Johnston closer to becoming the most successful trainer of winners in Britain when winning a competitive Handicap at the famous five-day Summer racing festival.
The Dubai Duty Free International Weekend, which brings the curtain down on the airport retailer’s sponsorship portfolio of horseracing in the UK, continues on Saturday with the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.
Newbury’s premier two-year-old race, worth £75,000, it has launched the careers of several stars in recent years, none more notable than multiple Group 1 winner Ribchester (2015) and last year’s champion sprinter Harry Angel (2016). Both horses are owned by Godolphin.
Saturday’s excellent card also includes two G3 events, starting with the £60,000 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (2.20pm, seven runners) over 11 furlongs.
Off the track, racegoers enjoyed a variety of extra entertainment in the Dubai Duty Free Village.
Meanwhile, Shadwell resumed its sponsorship at Ayr Racecourse in Scotland this year after the 2017 fixture was abandoned following prolonged rain.
Shadwell, the international breeding arm of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, sponsored four races under its banner and that of the Al Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee, of which Shaikh Hamdan is the patron.
The college has been promoting cross cultural understanding for Arab women by conducting open lectures and short courses as well as residential courses for students from the UAE.
Richard Lancaster, Shadwell Stud Director, said earlier this year on the Shadwell website: “The support of Thoroughbred racing is an integral part of Shadwell’s ethos. It gives us a chance to invest in the sport, which Shaikh Hamdan is most passionate about. It is also a great opportunity to meet the owners and breeders from around Europe who have supported the stallions.