Alcohol Free-1649859571272
Alcohol Free, ridden by Oisin Murphy, wins last year's Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury Racecourse. Image Credit: Courtesy: DDF

Dubai: The Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend is set to get Newbury Racecourse’s flat season of to a flying start on Saturday, April 16 with three Group 3 contests featuring on the opening day.

The day’s programme opens with the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes, which could see the return of course and distance winner, Ilaraab, carrying the colours of Major General Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security.

The William Haggas-trained five-year-old provided a thrilling finish to the 2020 renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at the Dubai Duty Free International weekend with a neck victory over Royal Marine before triumphing over Raymond Tusk, who is also likely to feature in Saturday’s contest, in York’s Ebor Handicap. Ilaraab competed his season back at Newbury with victory in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes last October.

Classic credentials

Classic credentials will be on show when the fillies take centre stage in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes, a recognised trial for the 1,000 Guineas and the second of seven races across the two-day fixture backed by the world’s leading Airport retailer.

Both Godolphin and Shadwell Estate Company look set to be represented. The former with course and distance winner Wild Beauty, trained by Charley Appleby, and Shadwell with Shaara, who won on her only start as a two-year-old for John & Thady Gosden.

Themed activities

For the first time the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend over the Easter holiday period with the card traditionally run on Friday switched to become the second day of the meeting providing an opportunity for families to enjoy a host of themed activities.

Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin said: “We are delighted to be returning to Newbury Racecourse after an absence of two and a half years enforced by Covid-19 travel restrictions and to be supporting the team at Newbury in staging this event over the Easter holiday weekend as a one-off.

“We hope it will provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a combination of racing and fun activities and perhaps introduce some new faces to the racecourse.”

Racegoers on both days will be able to enjoy complimentary Arabic Coffee and dates in the stylish Dubai Duty Free Marquee where there will also be the chance to win fabulous prizes including free entry into the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire and Finest Surprise draws.