Andrew Balding is yet to be successful in the race named after his father’s favourite horse, Mill Reef, but believes this could be his year via the exciting Fivethousandtoone .
The Frankel colt was runner-up to Bahrain Pride at Windsor and renews rivalry off the back of a dominant display at Newcastle a little over a fortnight ago. Bahrain Prince has since landed the Listed EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy.
First supported by Dubai Duty Free in 1997, and won on two occasions by his father Ian who trained Forest Flower (1986) and Firebreak (2001), this year’s running also marks a twenty-five year association between Dubai Duty Free and Newbury.
Balding said of Fivethousandtoone: “He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot at home, so it was great to see him be so impressive on the racecourse at Newcastle.
"It is a big step up for him, but the ground will suit, and he is bred to be a decent horse. We have been placed a few times in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef, and for obvious reasons it would mean a lot to win the race for the whole family - we will be giving it our best shot.”
Prix Morny third Rhythm Master is among his even rivals.
A runaway winner on his racecourse debut at Haydock in mid-July, Richard Fahey’s son of Dark Angel subsequently ran an excellent race to place behind a couple of Royal Ascot winners in Campanelle and Nando Parrado when stepped up to Group One level at Deauville.
The John Dance-owned juvenile will be well fancied to get back on the winning trail in this weekend’s Group Two feature in Berkshire.
Line Of Departure completed a hat-trick for Roger Varian in a valuable sales race at Doncaster last week and is swiftly stepped up to Pattern class, while Mick Channon will be hoping his Group Three winner Cairn Gorm can bounce back from a below-par effort in the Morny.
“Cairn Gorm is in great form and has been training well since his last run at Deauville,” said Jack Channon, son and assistant to Channon, “He lost the race in the stalls in the Prix Morny, but we have put a line through it and are still confident he is a high-class horse. We’re confident of a big run.”
Alkumait (Marcus Tregoning), Devilwala (Archie Watson) and First Edition (Clive Cox) complete the octet.
The Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral, not beaten far into sixth place in the Flying Five at the Curragh last Sunday, heads a nine-strong field for the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy.
The five-year-old is taken on by Cox’s recent Leicester scorer Tis Marvellous, Charlie Appleby’s Lazuli and Moss Gill from James Bethell’s yard, among others.
Group Three honours are also up for grabs in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup – formerly The Arc Trial.
The likely favourite for this one-mile-three-furlong contest is Extra Elusive, who bids to complete a Group Three hat-trick for Roger Charlton and Hollie Doyle follow strikes in the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock and the Winter Hill at Windsor.
With the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Balding’s Fox Chairman instead declared to run in Saturday’s Doonside Cup at Ayr, Extra Elusive faces just three opponents in Desert Encounter (David Simcock), Elarqam (Mark Johnston) and Gifts Of Gold (Saeed bin Suroor).
Desert Encounter will attempt to become the first horse to win the race three times, having been successful in 2017 and 2019.
Dubai Duty Free sponsor nine races across the two days at Newbury and Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are very proud of our association with British racing which began with sponsorship of a single race at Newbury in 1996. Since then we have witnessed a great many changes at Newbury and are delighted to have seen their business grow, alongside our own.
“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.”
Julian Thick, Chief Executive for Newbury Racecourse, 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.”
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