Alkumait favoured to ace DDF’s Mill Reef Stakes - GulfToday

Alkumait favoured to ace DDF’s Mill Reef Stakes

Alkumait favoured to ace DDF’s Mill Reef Stakes

Pierre Lapin ridden by jockey Andrea Atzeni, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes. File

As British racing continues behind closed doors Newbury racecourse is preparing for its Autumn highlight, the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend, a two-day fixture beginning on Friday, 18 September.

British Racing’s current leading owner, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is enjoying a stellar season with standout performances from the likes of Group 1 winners Bataash and Mohaather, is pinning his hopes on the Marcus Tregoning-trained Alkumait in the feature race of the meeting, Saturday’s Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes for which 12 entries have been received.

Expected to be partnered by retained jockey Jim Crowley who recorded his 2,000th career victory at Goodwood last month, the colt is bidding to build on his success in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Goodwood at the end of July having finished fourth at Newbury in a six furlongs novice event on his debut earlier that month.

Despite supporting nine races at the meeting, Dubai Duty Free will be absent from Newbury for the first time in their 25-year association with the course.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of the leading airport retailer said, “Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions have forced our first absence from the racecourse in 25 years but we look forward to returning when it is once again safe for us to do so and send our best wishes to the team at Newbury and all those taking part in the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend.”

Newbury Racecourse Chief Executive, Julian Thick, added, “Our sincerest thanks to Dubai Duty Free for their ongoing support of Newbury Racecourse. In a 25-year association with Newbury and not once missing this meeting, they will be much missed by us and many others across the industry who have got to know them all so well. We look forward to welcoming them back again very soon.”

Meanwhile, recent Listed runner-up Fonthill Abbey makes her G3 debut in the nine-furlong Prix Bertrand de Tarragon at Chantilly, France, on Friday.

The Andre Fabre-trained four-year-old was collared on the line when going down by a short-head in the mile Prix de la Cochere at Longchamp on Sept.3.

Fonthill Abbey (Mickael Barzalona) had previously gained an easy success in a Vichy conditions race over a mile in August, one of two victories for the Dubawi filly.

Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “Fonthill Abbey appears to be in great form, judging by her last run. She is a filly with a lovely attitude and a smart turn of foot.”

Also, taking another step toward a major spring prize is Asiago in the G3 Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle this Friday.

Already the winner of three Stakes races on out-of-town tracks, Asiago has pleased trainer James Cummings since recording a first-up Listed win at Wyong earlier this month.

“She’s flying along at the moment,” Cummings said.

“There are no queries on her fitness and she gets a nice drop in the weights from here first-up win at Wyong and she’s drawn nicely.”

The Listed Wyong victory came at Asiago’s first run in four months and could hardly have been more impressive.

The mare who had won twice at G3 level over 1,600m as a three-year-old and the 1,350m at Wyong appeared to be short of her ideal trip, but she was sharp enough to take up a handy, three-wide position before showing a clever turn of foot that carried her to a convincing win.

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