Burke hoping his stellar form can continue with True Mason in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury

Newbury Racecourse stages the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend this Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, featuring top-class action across the two days.

 

Saturday’s feature contest is the G2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (2.55pm), staged over six furlongs for two-year-olds. With the likes of future G1 superstars Harry Angel and Ribchester featuring on the roll of honour in recent years, the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes is Newbury’s best two-year-old contest of the season.

 

There are 16 confirmations for the 2018 renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, worth £75,000, including a trio from Britain and Ireland’s reigning champion trainer Aidan O’Brien – G2 Richmond Stakes scorer Land Force, plus the Listed winner Sergei Prokofiev and The Irish Rover, who landed a conditions contest over the course and distance back in May.

 

North Yorkshire-based trainer Karl Burke enjoyed a fantastic weekend with a G1 double in Ireland courtesy of Laurens and Havana Grey.

 

Burke could be represented in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes by the Khalifa Dasmal-owned True Mason, who won well at Nottingham in June before going on to take third to Signora Cabello in the G2 Prix Robert Papin (5f 110y) at Maisons-Laffitte on July 22 and third behind Pretty Pollyanna (with Signora Cabello in second) in the G1 Prix Morny (6f) at Deauville on August 19. The trainer is going for his third success in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, following the victories of Lord Shanakill (2008) and Toocoolforschool (2014).

 

Burke said today: “The plan is to run True Mason in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury as long as we get a little drop of rain before Saturday. Firm ground would stop him going but hopefully it will be at least good ground.

 

“He is in great form and is a high-class colt. We think we haven’t seen the best of him yet as he hasn’t really had his ground on his last two or three runs. Being by Mayson, I am pretty sure he will be better with a bit of juice in the ground.

 

“I would say he is definitely up to the level of our two previous Mill Reef winners. He was beaten by two high-class fillies at Deauville in the Morny and is a very good colt.”

 

Two recent winners among the confirmations are Kessaar (John Gosden), who landed the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park on September 8 and Barbill (Mick Channon), who was successful in a valuable sales race at the Curragh yesterday.

 

Another contender is Garrus (Jeremy Noseda). A son of Acclamation, Garrus shaped promisingly on debut at Windsor in July before going on to register commanding successes at Newmarket on August 3 and on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle on August 31.

 

In-form Andrew Balding has a possible representative in Shine So Bright, who has taken third on his latest two outings which have both come in G2 company – the Gimcrack Stakes at York on August 24 and the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood on August 2.

 

The one filly going forward is Main Edition (Mark Johnston), who is a dual G3 winner, having taken the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. She was fifth on her latest start in the G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

 

Day two of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend also features two further Group races including the 11-furlong £60,000 G3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (2.20pm), which has 18 entries including last year’s winner Desert Encounter (David Simcock).

 

Mirage Dancer (Sir Michael Stoute) readily took the G3 Glorious Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on his latest appearance, while Young Rascal (William Haggas) could make his first start since coming home seventh in the G1 Derby at Epsom Downs in June.

 

French G2 victor Air Pilot (Ralph Beckett) and Monarchs Glen (John Gosden), successful in the Listed Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this year, also hold entries.

 

Take Cover (David Griffiths) finished a close fifth in the G1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, on September 16 and the evergreen 11-year-old could make a swift reappearance in the G3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes (3.30pm), with £60,000 in prize money – a race he won in 2017.

 

He may be joined in the five-furlong sprint by Sioux Nation (Aidan O’Brien), Mr Lupton (Richard Fahey) and Judicial (Julie Camacho), who all contested the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24, plus impressive Leicester scorer Equilateral (Charlie Hills).

 

Racing gets underway at 1.45pm with the £75,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap over 10 furlongs, which could feature Communique (Mark Johnston), who took the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup over the same course and distance in May before going on further major handicap success at Newmarket and Goodwood.

 

A total of 25 confirmations also include Master The World (David Elsworth), winner of the G3 Winter Derby on the All-Weather in February, York handicap victor Pivoine (Andrew Balding) and unexposed four-year-old Adamant (Sir Michael Stoute).

 

The action is completed by the Racegoers Club 50th Anniversary EBF Novice Race (4.05pm, 55 entries), the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Handicap (4.40pm, 28 entries) and the Heatherwold Stud Handicap (5.15pm, 23 entries).

 

Off the track, racegoers can enjoy a variety of extra entertainment in the Dubai Duty Free marquee and a range of live music before, during and after racing.

 

 

The Dubai Duty Free International Weekend gets underway on Friday, September 21, when the highlight is the £27,000 Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup (3.55pm), staged over seven furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards.

 

The going at Newbury is currently Good to Firm. There is the chance of rain later in the week.

 

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