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Jebel Ali patron donates framed silks to Newbury

Author: Derek Thompson

07/12/2017
1

It WAS wonderful to see the famous yellow and black racing silks of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum displayed in a very prominent position at Newbury Racecourse and many of the 25,000 crowd who were there last Saturday would have admired them. The framed colours were a present given by HH Sheikh Ahmed to Newbury Racecourse to recognise the special relationship between Newbury and Jebel Ali. Indeed, Jebel Ali Racecourse, which is owned by HH Sheikh Ahmed, always plays a prominent role in Dubai Day which is held at Newbury every summer and next year’s meeting, which features four Group One races for Purebred Arabians, will be held on Sunday July 29th.

The principal sponsor is, of course, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and it is the only Arabian raceday in the world that boasts four Group One races. And what makes the day so special, apart from the top class racing, is the fact that all racegoers are allowed free admission and it has become the biggest ‘free day’ in UK racing. It cannot be easy for any children to follow in the footsteps of famous fathers but Alex Ferguson and Bryony Frost are doing pretty well judging by their riding performances at Newbury on Saturday. Alex is the 19yo son of John Ferguson who for many years was the CEO of HH Sheikh Mohammed’s racing empire and dad was in the winner’s enclosure to welcome his son after he won the Class 1 Ladbrokes Hurdle on High Bridge.

Considering Alex is an amateur and was taking on some of the best jump jockeys in the world it was an outstanding performance and no wonder he punched the air in delight after passing the winning post. And this win followed on from the victory of 22yo Bryony Frost, daughter of Grand National winning jockey Jimmy, on Old Guard in a handicap hurdle. Bryony, who won last seasons Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as an amateur, turned professional at the beginning of this season and is riding big winner after big winner in a style that suggests she is going right to the top.

The big race on Saturday, a £200,000 chase formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, turned out to be a real thriller with the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall getting up on the line to beat Whisper in a photo finish. It was a first Irish win in this race since Bright Highway back in 1980 and, although he will have to improve after carrying only 10 stone 8lbs in this handicap, Total Recall is quoted only around 16-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Buveur D’Air, the reigning Champion Hurdler, made a winning reappearance when he cast aside the opposition with contemptuous ease in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle up at Newcastle.

Barry Geraghty, wearing the famous green and yellow hoops of JP Mcmanus, never had to move a muscle as he sauntered home on the 6yo and the clash between him and Faugheen ‘the machine’ in the Champion Hurdle in March will be one of the most eagerly awaited races of the season. The two week long December Sales at the world famous Tattersalls Sales ring here in Newmarket is drawing to a close and when the last horse leaves the sale ring late on Thursday evening over 2,000 horses will have been sold. There was stacks of money changing hands at the top end of the market but the one thing that always amazes me is the money paid for foals and last Friday one fetched 750,000gns.

She is beautifully bred, being by the great Dubawi who stands at Dalham Hall Stud and is a half-sister to the dual Group One winner Jack Hobbs. She was bought by John Gosden acting for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He had to fight off plenty of fierce opposition but had the final nod much to the delight of former Champion Jockey Willie Carson who bred the filly at his Minster Stud. “We asked Tattersalls in the autumn how many Dubawis they had catalogued and was told none. So I said ‘well you do now’ and here she is, ”said an animated Carson. She could well turn out to be a Group One winner of the future and if that happens her purchase price will pale into insignificance!

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