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2019 Future Champions Festival preview – The races and horses to look our for at Newmarket this weekend

A view from the stands as Withhold wins the 2017 Cesarewitch during the Future Champions Festival.

We take a look through the cards on both days of the Future Champions Festival, highlighting the races and certain horses punters can look forward to watching at Newmarket.

Newmarket’s amazing autumn of action continues this weekend, as flat racing HQ throws their gates open again for the Future Champions Festival. Starting on Friday and finishing on Saturday afternoon, ten pattern race titles will be put up for grabs, along with historic handicap prizes like the Old Rowley Cup and the hugely-lucrative Cesarewitch Handicap.

Each of the two days is headlined by a historic Group One for juveniles. First, on Friday, the finest fillies in the business do battle in the Fillies’ Mile. Colts then take center-stage on Saturday afternoon, as Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten juvenile, Pinatubo looks to continue his march towards next year’s 2000 Guineas by claiming victory in the Dewhurst Stakes.

The card on day one kicks off in style as some of the fastest juveniles in the sport do battle over five furlongs in the Cornwallis Stakes. Final Song and Under The Stars could then clash in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, before the first Group Two prize of the meeting is handed out in the Godolphin Stakes, where experienced duo Limato and Mustashry will be out to repel their younger rivals.

We then reach the first Group One of the weekend and, where the Dewhurst may look like a straight-forward assignment for Pinatubo, this year’s Fillies’ Mile looks decidedly open. Roger Charlton has decided to supplement Quadrilateral – current favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas - into the mix after impressing on both her starts to date. Cayenne Pepper will be out to continue Jessica Harrington’s superb run of form with her juvenile fillies, while Aidan O’Brien’s Moyglare winner, Love could also make her debut on the Rowley Mile.

Iridessa (centre) beating dual-Guineas winner Hermosa (left) in last year's Fillies' Mile.

John Gosden may not hold an entry in Friday’s Group One, but he will fancy his chances of success in the last two major races on day one’s card. Before Fanny Logan is given her chance to shine in the card-closing Darley Pride Stakes, First In Line will lead the field into battle in the Old Rowley Cup, where he looks likely to face stiff competition from Sinjaari, Apparate and Hamish, who defeated the favourite when they clashed earlier in the season at Haydock.

A sensational Saturday of racing gets off to a flying start with the Dubai Nursery Handicap, before Mythical and Volkan Star clash in the Flying Zetland Stakes. The Autumn Stakes has thrown up many a Classic contender down the years, so punters will need their notebooks at the ready as some talented colts battle it out for the £35k first prize.

Once the victor in that Group Three has finished lapping up the applause the winners’ enclosure, Pinatubo will step foot on the Rowley Mile for the first time ahead of the Dewhurst. Wichita, who won the Sommerville Stakes by seven lengths during last month’s Cambridgeshire Meeting, has been supplemented into the Dewhurst by Aidan O’Brien. Whether he, or any of the other entrants in this Group One have what it takes to serve it up to the best juvenile in the sport, however, seems highly unlikely. 

Up next is the Cesarewitch, a two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap which has been won by several National Hunt trainers down the years. Willie Mullins scored with Low Sun 12 months ago and he’s pointed Galway Festival winner, Buildmeupbuttercup at this bountiful contest. The favourite will likely be challenged at the head of the market by stablemate Great White Shark, along with British rivals Timoshenko, Ranch Hand and Land Of Oz.

The curtain comes down on this year’s Future Champions Festival after the final Group race of the weekend, the Darley Stakes. Ralph Beckett’s ten-year-old, Air Pilot could be challenged by many highly-rated rivals, including Matterhorn, Indeed and last year’s runner-up, Forest Ranger.

2019 Future Champions Festival Full Schedule

Day One - Friday 11th October
1:50pm Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 5f (ITV4)
2:25pm Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 7f (ITV4)
3:00pm Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f (ITV4)
3:35pm bet365 Fillies' Mile (Group 1) Cl1 (2yo) 1m (ITV4)
4:10pm bet365 Old Rowley Cup Handicap (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo) 1m4f (ITV4)
4:45pm Godolphin Under Starters Orders Maiden Fillies' Stakes (Plus 10 Race) Cl3 (2yo) 7f
5:20pm Darley Pride Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f

Day Two - Saturday 12th October
1:45pm Dubai Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 7f
2:20pm Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 1m2f (ITV)
2:55pm Dubai Autumn Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (2yo) 1m (ITV)
3:30pm Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 7f (ITV)
4:10pm Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo+) 2m2f (ITV)
4:45pm Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f
5:20pm Darley Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m1f

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2019 Future Champions Festival preview – The races and horses to look our for at Newmarket this weekend

We take a look through the cards on both days of the Future Champions Festival, highlighting the races and certain horses punters can look forward to watching at Newmarket from Friday 11th October.

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