Get to Know the Dubai Future Champions Festival

As one of the most anticipated events on the Newmarket racing calendar, the 2020 Dubai Future Champions Festival will round off the season in spectacular fashion, featuring seven Group races over two days. Scheduled to be held on Friday 9th October and Saturday 10th October, this event also marks the conclusion of the flat racing season at the famous racecourse.

Festival Day

Previously known as Autumn Ladies Day at Newmarket Racecourse, although now marked on calendars as Festival Friday, the first day of proceedings features two headline races.

The bet365 Fillies’ Mile is a horse racing betting favourite, since first being run in 1973, with a purse of more than £500,000 in 2020 and over £320,000 for the winner. Henry Cecil remains the leading trainer with six winners between 1978 and 1996, while the leading jockey is Frankie Dettori, who rode six winners between 1990 and 2011.

Another prestigious race held on Festival Friday is the Old Rowley Cup, named after a famous stallion which belonged to King Charles II, and also lends its name to the Rowley Mile at Newmarket Racecourse.

Amusingly, Old Rowley is actually a nickname earned by the king himself, who apparently proved to be somewhat of a stallion of sorts, siring numerous illegitimate children during his reign from dalliances with his many mistresses.

Champions Day

Packed with plenty of thrilling action, Future Champions Saturday features seven races on the card. These include a handicap race (Cesarewitch Handicap), two Group 3 races (Autumn Stakes and Darley Stakes), two Group 2 races (Challenge Stakes and Rockfel Stakes), and two Group 1 races.

The two Group 1 races are undoubtedly the headline events of Future Champions Saturday. The Middle Park Stakes enjoys a purse of £275,000 and has been run consistently since 1866. Meanwhile, the Dewhurst Stakes offers more than £300,000 for the winner and champions of the past include many iconic horses, with this race considered to be a springboard for success by many of the leading trainers.

Perhaps the most famous winner of the Dewhurst Stakes was Frankel in 2010, who many horseracing fans regard as one of the greatest horses of all time. Owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and trained by Henry Cecil, this magnificent stallion only participated in 14 races between 2010 and 2012, yet ridden by Tom Queally, he won each and every one of them.

Over the years, the most successful jockey in the Dewhurst Stakes was legendary Lester Piggott, who rode 10 winners over his illustrious and lengthy career. The first was Crepello in 1956, while the final triumph in this race at Newmarket was riding Diesis in 1982. Nobody has yet to match that impressive record, although many other famous jockeys will inevitably try.

Two Days of Quality Horseracing

Overall, the two-day Dubai Future Champions Festival is an event that every racing fan looks forward to, unmissable if you can attend in person and if not, there’s always plenty of live coverage on television or live streams via the internet.