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Dubai Future Champions Festival 2021

Dubai Future Champions Festival

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Dubai Future Champions Festival 2021

Friday October 8th - Saturday October 9th

Sean Trivass
By Sean Trivass  
Updated: 5 October 2021 7:00 pm






Racing returns to the Newmarket Rowley Mile Course for the last time in 2021, with a two-day festival where the emphasis is on the two-year-olds. Seven races a day await racing fans, with distances ranging from five furlongs for the sprinters, all the way up to two-and-a-quarter miles for the Cesarewitch handicap. The race was first run way back in 1839 and has remained a popular betting heat ever since. The two-day meeting as a festival was first conceived in 2011, bringing together the end of season highlights, and adding important races such as the Old Rowley Cup (named after a horse owned by King Charles II back in the 17th century), to the Group races for juveniles that pepper the two days. There’s plenty of prize money up for grabs but, more importantly, breeding and bragging rights from the better contests. We can be certain the racing will be both competitive and of the highest class, and well worth tuning in to.


Form versus potential, gallop rumours versus fact – all the fun of working out just who will be the best two-year-olds of 2021. We have picked out some tips for the weekend to help you find a winner.


Native Trail, Darley Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Saturday 9th October, 2:55pm

In a race taken by multiple Group One winner St Mark’s Basilica last season, all eyes will be on the Charlie Appleby trained NATIVE TRAIL in the Dewhurst Stakes here as he looks to extend his unbeaten record to four on Champions Day. The stable won this in 2019 with Pinatubo so they will know exactly the sort needed, and the son of Oasis Dream is already as short as 4/1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas and will go even shorter if he wins here.

A four-length maiden win at Salisbury didn’t really tell us very much, but he was then thrown into the Group Two Superlative Stakes here on the July course, where he failed to impress with a short head success from Masekela. Maturing with every start, he was then sent to The Curragh to lock horns with the odds-on Point Lonsdale, who he beat by three and a half lengths. Reports of spectacular gallops since won’t help the price, but he looks a class act though be warned, on breeding he won’t be at his best on softer ground, and this is England, after all.


Siskany, Old Rowley Cup 4.10pm Newmarket Friday 8th October

Seven runnings of this race to date have seen just two winning favourites. Last year we had a 14/1 success in Kingbrook, and we had a 40/1 winner in 2014 – so all things seem possible. Six of the seven winners came home in the front four on their previous start which is a small help, and re-enforces my liking for SISKANY (below), who was second at Goodwood in July, and has been gelded since. Trainer Charlie Appleby has had one winner and one place from two runners in this race, while William Buick, who may well be riding, has won this twice and placed three times – from just the six mounts. A double figure price looks on the cards and he should at least give us a decent run for our money.


Dancing King, The Cesarewitch Handicap, 3.35pm Newmarket Saturday 9th October

Irish trainer Willie Mullins, possibly better known for his Cheltenham winners, has won the Cesarewitch for the last three years and has the early favourite for 2021 too, in the shape of M C Muldoon, last seen winning over hurdles at Galway. No three-year-old has won this since 2009 but if there has ever been a trainer who excels with staying youngsters, then Mark Johnston is your man. With five early entries, all things are possible, but the betting suggests he will rely on DANCING KING, who has won five of his 11 starts and placed in three others. His last win was in the Group Three March Stakes at Goodwood where he held off the odds-on Nagao by a head after making the running, and although we don’t know for certain he will stay this far, if his trainer thinks he does, then that may be all the proof we need.


No surprise to see a meeting that includes the Old Rowley Cup, the Dewhurst Stakes, and all the other great contests on Champions Day being televised on ITV4, but this is the 21st century and there are numerous other options we can use if you cannot get in front of a television. Racing TV will be showing every race, while most top bookmakers will allow you to watch an event online as long as you have placed a bet on the race. For the old-school among us, you can still walk into your high street bookmakers and watch in there, of course, while some pubs have taken to showing the racing as it continues to grow in popularity.

Dubai Future Champions Festival FAQs

When is the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket?

The Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket takes place over two days on October 9th and the 10th. The Old Rowley Cup and the Fillies’ Mile are the standouts on the Friday, while the Darley Dewhurst Stakes and The Cesarewitch are two of the top races on Saturday. Under 18s get in for free if accompanied by an adult.

Where is Newmarket Racecourse?

Pretty much on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border. Horse racing is the lifeblood of the town so don’t worry, there are signs for the track everywhere you look - but do be careful, there are two courses in Newmarket and if you are going to Champions Day you want the Newmarket Rowley Mile track – not the July course.

What should I wear to wear to the races at Newmarket?

Dress code is far more relaxed than it used to be at most if not all racecourses, and Newmarket is no different. Smart is the order of the day in the Premier enclosure though the Grandstand and Paddock are more laid back. Friday includes the Autumn Style Awards so dress up as much as you like, and you might even win a prize with hats and fascinators to complement your outfit if you fancy being in a with a chance.

What time is the first race at Newmarket?

On Friday the first race is due off at 1.15pm (gates open 11.15am) and the last race is at 4.40pm, while on Saturday it all starts at 1.10pm (gates open 11.10am) and the last race is at 4.45pm