The famous blue and white silks carried to so many victories at Newbury for the late H.H Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum were once again in prominence on day two of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend, when Jim Crowley powered the William Haggas-trained Al Aasy home to a convincing four and a half lengths victory in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes on Sunday, 18 April.
Crowley who settled Al Aasy at the rear of the field early on before cruising into contention at the two furlong pole in the 1m 4f contest said, “He gave me a great ride. He was obviously very fresh in the paddock beforehand and he’s been working very well at home.
“I was just conscious not to light him up early on in the race. He switched off nicely and did everything correct today.”
Al Aasy may well be bound for Epsom Downs in June with the Coronation Cup over the same trip a likely target.
Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free endorsed her 1,000 Guineas prospects in a thrilling renewal of the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes, a recognised trial for next month’s Newmarket fillies’ Classic,
Fiercely challenged in the closing stages by the Martyn Mead-trained Statement, her short-head victory delighted her trainer who was winning the race for the first time.
He said, “We’d been saying in the last week if she ran a nice race and finished third we’d be happy.
“We expect her to improve a whole load as she’s backward in her coat and hasn’t done a huge amount of work at home. It’s really encouraging that she’s got it.
“She stayed the seven furlongs well there and it wasn’t easy for her. She was down the wing but showed really good acceleration. She settled well and Oisin Murphy is in no doubt that she’d stay an extra furlong.”
In the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes which completed the day’s trio of Group 3 contests, Richard Hannon’s Chindit booked his place in the 2,000 Guineas scoring a narrow victory under Pat Dobbs and now heads for the colts’ Classic at Newmarket in just under two week’s time.
Dubai Duty Free were responsible for eight of the 16 races over the two-day fixture which was run on Friday and Sunday as British racing took a pause on Saturday afternoon as a mark of respect for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said, “We are delighted that Newbury were able to stage a full programme for the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend and that it produced such exciting racing.
“We congratulate all the winning owners and thank them and the British trainers for continuing to support the races we sponsor. We look forward to returning to Newbury in September for the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend by which time hopefully it will be safe to do so once again.”
Flags on top of Newbury’s Berkshire Stand, where Dubai Duty Free would have been entertaining guests but for Covid 19 pandemic restrictions forcing the meeting to be run behind closed doors, were flown at half mast and a minutes silence was observed each day.
William Buik and Hurricane Lane provided the highlight on Friday’s card when the three-year-old Charlie Appleby colt carried the Godolphin colours into the winner’s enclosure after victory in the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup British EBF Conditions Stakes initiating a double for the rider who also won the concluding Coln Valley Stud Maiden Filles Stakes with Far Hope.
In the 5f Dubai Duty Free Handicap racing’s golden girl Hollie Doyle denied the opportunity for a poignant Royal victory beating The Queen’s King’s Lynn into third place aboard Came From The Dark for trainer Ed Walker.
There was also a double on the day for Frankie Dettori who took the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Handicap with Mithras John and Thady Gosden before scoring in the second division of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Maiden Fillies’ Stakes aboard Gloria Mundi for the same partnership.