MICHAEL PROSSER: Exciting line-up put together for new festival

Robert Cowell.
Robert Cowell.

Newmarket Racecourses is proud to be staging the new £2 million two-day Dubai Future Champions Festival at the Rowley Mile during the heart of the Gold Season.

The new festival is being staged on Friday and Saturday with the Group One feature races showcasing fillies on the Friday and the colts on the Saturday.

Newmarket trainers, John Gosden, Robert Cowell and Hugo Palmer enjoyed a fantastic day at Longchamp on Sunday, winning three Group One races including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Can the town’s stables carry on with even more successes on the Rowley Mile?

The two Group Ones - the Dubai Fillies’ Mile and the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes - are each worth £500,000 in prize-money, making them the joint most valuable Group One two-year-old races in Europe.

One year ago, they were worth a combined £600,000, so the total prize fund has been increased substantially, thanks to the investment in the festival by Dubai and by the continuing commitment of The Jockey Club which reinvests every penny it makes back into the sport.

Accompanying the Dubai Fillies’ Mile on Friday in a seven-race card are the Group Two Vision.ae Challenge Stakes (£150,000), the Dubai Old Rowley Cup Heritage Handicap (£140,000), the Group Three Dubai Cornwallis Stakes (£80,000), the Group Three Dubai Oh So Sharp Stakes (£80,000), the Listed Dubai Pride Stakes (£50,000) and the Dubai Maiden Fillies Stakes (£25,000).

Festival Saturday includes the famous £250,000 Betfred Cesarewitch, the second part of the Autumn Double, inaugurated in 1839 and the only horse race run across two counties – Cambridgeshire into Suffolk. Up to 34 horses will contest this flat marathon over two-and-a-quarter miles, including quite a number trained in jump racing stables. Indeed, the record of National Hunt trainers in the race, particularly since the turn of the millennium, is excellent.

Joining the Dubai Dewhurst and Betfred Cesarewitch on an eight-race card on the Saturday are the Group Three Darley Stakes (£80,000), the Group Three Dubai Autumn Stakes (£80,000), the Dubai European Breeders’ Fund Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Stakes (£60,000), the Listed Dubai Zetland Stakes (£50,000) and the Listed Dubai EBF Stallions Boadicea Fillies’ Stakes (£50,000).

The second running of the Vision Varsity Race will take place ahead of the high quality card on the Saturday at 1.30pm. The historic sporting rivals Oxford and Cambridge Universities will battle it out again to see who can claim this year’s crown.

As well as the superb quality of racing, there is plenty for visitors to the Rowley Mile to see, do and take part in over the two days.

Friday is Autumn Ladies’ Day, featuring a Best Dressed Ladies’ competition sponsored by The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel, with £10,000 in prizes for the winner. There is a range of free on-course entertainment, including a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and a bucking bronco as well as music throughout the day with an opera singer and harpist.

There will be a Retraining of Racehorses parade at 1pm on Saturday, including two Dubai World Cup winners, African Story and Prince Bishop.

An après racing party will be held on both days, along with the Race for Excellence free exhibition, showcasing the shared development story of Dubai and its racing heritage. For tickets, visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk or call 01638 675500 option 4. Accompanied under-18s and students free; adults priced from £16.