The Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket in October is two days of top-class racing with the emphasis on the two-year-old races.
The Fillies’ Mile is the highlight of the opening day with the colts taking centre stage on day 2 in the Dewhurst Stakes.
There are seven Group races during the meeting, held on the Rowley Mile course, which also features some very competitive handicaps including the Cesarewitch Handicap. Prize money across the meeting tops £2 million.
- 1 Dubai Future Champions Festival History & Famous winners
- 2 Dubai Future Champions Festival Day 1
- 3 Future Champions Festival Day 2
- 4 Best Trainers & Jockeys at Future Champions Festival
- 5 Betting on Dubai Future Champions Festival 2021
- 6 Summary
Dubai Future Champions Festival History & Famous winners
The Dubai Future Champions Festival was created as a result of the launch of the British Champions Series in 2011. Several end-of-season major races were shared between Ascot and Newmarket, with the Fillies’ Mile and the Dewhurst Stakes being the highlights of the re-vamped Cesarewitch meeting.
Dubai Future Champions Festival Day 1
The opening day races are as below:
The Fillies’ Mile
The Fillies’ Mile was first run in 1973 at Ascot and was given Group 1 status in 1990.
The race was transferred to Newmarket and the Rowley Mile course in 2011, originally part of the Cambridgeshire meeting but moved to the Future Champions meeting three years’ later.
The Oh So Sharp Stakes
The Oh So Sharp Stakes is a Group 3 race for two-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.
It is named after the 1985 fillies’ Triple Crown winner and has produced some high-class winners.
Miss France won this race in 2013 and returned to Newmarket the following spring to win the 1000 Guineas. She had beaten Lightning Thunder by a head in the Oh So Sharp and held the same rival by a neck in the Guineas.
The Cornwallis Stakes is a Group 3 race for two-year-olds over five furlongs.
Like the Fillies’ Mile, the Cornwallis was originally held at Ascot but became part of this fixture in 2014. Notable speedsters to win here include Hallgate (1985), Argentum (1989), Danehurst (2000) and Quiet Reflection (2015). The latter went on to claim top sprint honours including the Commonwealth Cup and the Haydock Sprint Cup in 2016.
The Group 2 Challenge Stakes is open to three-year-olds and upwards over seven furlongs.
There have been eleven dual winners of this race, the latest being Limato in 2017 and 2018. Henry Candy’s stable star was retired in 2020 after winning 14 of his 33 starts and more than £1.4 million in prize money.
Future Champions Festival Day 2
Day two looks like this:
The Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes is widely regarded as the most prestigious two-year-old race of the season.
Lester Piggott rode the winner of the Dewhurst Stakes on ten occasions, his victories including Crepello (1956), Nijinsky (1969) and The Minstrel (1976).
Other subsequent Classic winners include Mill Reef (1970), Grundy (1974), El Gran Senor (1983), Generous (1990) and Zafonic (1992). The great Frankel added his name to the list in 2010 while Churchill (2016) was the most recent winner to go on to Classic success.
The Autumn Stakes is a Group 3 for two-year-olds over a mile which was transferred from Ascot to Newmarket in 2011.
The race was first run in 1988 with victory going to subsequent 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Nashwan.
Other high-class winners include Nayef (2000), Trading Leather (2012), Kingston Hill (2013), Ghaiyyath (2017) and Persian King (2018).
The Cesarewitch is the big betting race of the meeting over two and a quarter miles.
It forms the second leg of the Autumn Double after the Cambridgeshire.
The Cesarewitch was first run in 1839 with victory going to Cruiskeen.
Aaim To Prosper became the first horse to win the race twice with victories in 2010 and 2012.
Vintage Crop landed a gamble here in 1992 and later won the 1993 Melbourne Cup and the Irish St Leger in 1993 and 1994. 2005 winner Sergeant Cecil completed a big handicap treble after taking the Northumberland Plate and the Ebor Handicap.
National Hunt trainers have a tremendous recent record in the Cesarewitch, winning the last three renewals with Low Sun (2018), Stratum (2019) and Great White Shark (2020).
Best Trainers & Jockeys at Future Champions Festival
The top stables are always well represented at the Future Champions Festival.
Aidan O’Brien sends a strong team of juveniles.
The victory of his St Mark’s Basilica in the 2020 Dewhurst Stakes took him within one of equalling the record of eight winners in the race.
O’Brien also has a fine record in the Fillies’ Mile and his son Joseph has captured two of the last three renewals with Iridessa (2018) and Pretty Gorgeous (2020).
Godolphin have dominated the Autumn Stakes with four victories in the past five seasons, Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby training two apiece.
Willie Mullins is the trainer to follow in the Cesarewitch after three successive victories. William Buick and Frankie Dettori are usually among the winners at this meeting.
Betting on Dubai Future Champions Festival 2021
The big ante-post race of the meeting is the Cesarewitch with betting available several weeks in advance of the staying handicap.
There have been some very long-priced winners in recent years including Aaim To Prosper (2012) and Scatter Dice (2013), both returned at 66-1. Grumeti won at 50-1 in 2015 and Stratum was a 25-1 shot when scoring in 2019.
Great White Shark (2020) provided some relief for punters when winning as a well-backed 9-2 favourite.
Bookmakers will usually offer enhanced place terms on the Cesarewitch, down to fifth or sixth place.
Favourites have a much better record in the Dewhurst, winning seven of the last twelve renewals.
Look out for special prices for the big race favourites for new customers during the Future Champions Festival.
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:
The Future Champions Festival, part of the British Champions Series, is still in its infancy but there is no doubting the pedigree of the top two-year-old races.
The Dewhurst and the Fillies’ Mile are invaluable guides to next season’s Classics.
The Cesarewitch Handicap provides variety for punters on the second day, one of the most popular staying races of the season.