Dubai Future Champions Festival 2017 Preview

On October 13 & 14, Newmarket will play host to the 2017 Dubai Future Champions Festival. It is another major highlight of the Flat racing calendar as the best young horses in UK racing compete in an event that casts light on some potential superstars of the future.

In what is a festival of phenomenal quality, there will be eight Class 1 events over the two days, including three Group races and one Listed event. The showcase event is the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday and in this guide, I will be previewing that event plus two other Group 1 races.

With the best racing bookmakers beginning to take odds on each race in the event, it is time to look ahead at the top prospects, analyse past betting trends and start looking for the best spots to get in our money.


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Challenge Stakes

Friday, 13 October

This Group 2 race is open to horses aged 3yo+ and takes place over 7 furlongs. It was inaugurated in 1878, and it became a Group 3 event in 1971. The race was originally held over 6 furlongs but was increased to its existing distance in 1977 and 2yos were no longer able to compete from 1985 onward.

It was upgraded to Group 2 status in 1987 and became part of the Future Champions Festival in 2011. With a first prize of over £92,000, you can expect to see some of the best 3yos in Britain at this event.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerSP
2012Fulbright15/2
2013Fiesolana3/1
2014Here Comes When8/1
2015Cable Bay8/1
2016Aclaim6/1

Betting Trends and Information

At the time of writing, there were 11 confirmed runners with Limato as the 9/4 favourite. Massatt is up next at 5/1 while Dutch Connection is at 11/2; the rest of the field is 6/1 bar.

  • 14/20 winners last ran 16-60 days before the race.
  • 17/20 winners had 3+ season runs.
  • 15/20 winners had exactly one career win over the same distance.
  • 18/20 winners had an SP of 9/2+
  • Only 4/20 favourites have won the Challenge Stakes.

Limato is the star attraction and his trainer, Henry Candy, will be encouraged by the news that the ground is likely to be good. However, if Limato is to win, he will have to defy history as only four favourites have landed the Challenge Cup in the last 20 years. Rehana might interest some as an outside bet at 25/1 but be warned; only one mare/filly has won the race in the last 14 years.

Outright Betting Odds

 Racebets.comBet365William Hill
Limato6/49/42/1
Dabyah11/25/16/1
Massaat11/211/25/1
Dutch Connection15/26/111/2
Gifted Master8/113/213/2
True Valour28/114/114/1
Absolutely So33/116/114/1
Cougar Mountain14/116/116/1
Mix and Mingle28/120/120/1
Gordon Lord Byron50/125/133/1
Rehana33/125/120/1
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The Dewhurst Stakes

Saturday, 14 October

The main event of the festival is a Group 1 race for all horses aged 2yo+ (except geldings) that takes place over 7 furlongs. The Dewhurst Stakes is one of the UK’s most prestigious races for juvenile horses, and it was inaugurated in 1875.

It is common for the top performers in this race to become major players in the following season’s Classics. The legendary Frankel won this event in 2010 and Churchill won the 2016 race before winning the 2,000 Guineas in 2017. The total purse of £500,000 makes it one of the most lucrative fixtures on the calendar.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerSP
2012Dawn Approach30/100
2013War Command10/11
2014Belardo10/1
2015Air Force Blue4/6
2016Churchill8/11

Betting Trends and Information

There are 15 confirmed runners at the time of writing, and Expert Eye is the clear favourite at 4/6, and his odds are shortening rapidly. Verbal Dexterity is the second favourite at 9/2 followed by Emaraaty at 5/1. The rest of the field are 8/1 bar.

  • 11/20 favourites have won the race; including five odds-on favourites in the last seven years.
  • 12/20 winners also won their previous race.
  • 16/20 winners last ran 16-60 days before the race.
  • 16/20 winners had 3+ season runs.

All eyes will be on Expert Eye as his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, looks to end his 31-year drought in the Dewhurst Stakes. Verbal Dexterity should contend, but a few experts are tipping Emaraaty who could be excellent value at 5/1. The talented colt faces a big step up in class but potentially can pull off an upset.

Outright Betting Odds

 Racebets.comBet365William Hill
Expert Eye8/134/64/6
Verbal Dexterity4/14/19/2
Emaraaty6/14/15/1
Seahenge11/19/110/1
US Navy Flag10/110/110/1
Happily11/112/110/1
Fleet Review25/120/120/1
Hey Gaman16/125/120/1
Nebo33/133/133/1
Threeandfourpence25/133/133/1
Cardsharp33/133/133/1
Great Prospector33/140/140/1
Coat of Arms33/140/150/1
Mendelssohn33/140/150/1
Theobald33/140/140/1
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Darley Club Stakes

Saturday, 14 October

This Group 3 event is a fitting end to a marvelous festival and features 3yo+ horses racing over a distance of 1m 1f. Although the race was established in 1987, the inaugural meeting was cancelled due to high winds! It was a Listed race until 2003 when it achieved its current Group 3 status.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerSP
2012Mull of Killough8/1
2013Highland Knight25/1
2014Berkshire20/1
2015Energia Davos40/1
2016MuffriHa8/1

Betting Trends and Information

No odds are available yet.

  • Only 10/20 winners have been in the top 3 in the betting market; this includes just 4/20 favourites.
  • 16/20 winners have previously raced over a distance of 1m 2f (longer than the Darley Club Stakes distance).
  • 16/20 winners had 4+ season runs.
  • 16/20 winners had an SP of 9/2+ including nine winners at odds of 10/1.

Outright Betting Odds

The 2017 Darley Club Stakes odds have not been published as of today, but we’ll be checking back each day and will post those odds as soon as they go live.

In the meantime, here are the runners:

Runners
Sovereign Debt
Air Pilot
Fabricate
First Sitting
Robin of Navan
Fidaawy
Spark Plug
Intimation
Muffri'ha
Promising Run
Forest Ranger
Monarchs Glen