Saturday Racing Preview: Hungerford Stakes Day
There's an excellent card at Newbury to look forward to on Saturday with Group race action in the Geoffrey Freer and Hungerford Stakes. Here we preview the key contests...
Lots of promising types on show with John Gosden’s Guru the current market leader. The son of Kingman won first time up at this course, beating a well-bred and highly regarded Sir Michael Stoute runner. The form has a strong look with the likes of Legend of Dubai and Calcutta Cup in behind and he’s a worthy favourite - not to mention the yard have a 32% strike rate with their juveniles here.
Charlie Appleby’s Dhahabi just got home in front at Newmarket but he was fairly slowly away and many of the trainer’s two-year-olds have been needing the run this season so his performance can be upgraded with more likely to come on Saturday.
At a slightly bigger price, Francesco Guardi finished his debut well at Salisbury to beat Gosden’s Lost In Space by a head. He’s another who will come on bundles for that given how green he ran in the early stages of the race and can put it up to the market principals.
- Francesco Guardi
Runner-up in the race last year, Morando heads our market at around 3.0. He enjoyed a productive season in 2019, racing in top company but he’s clearly more at home in a Group 3. His reappearance in the Hardwicke was not devoid of promise with the two in behind finishing first and second in the John Smith’s Silver Cup next time out. There just has to be a question mark as to whether he’s vulnerable to an improver in this field.
Alignak has been brought along slowly as Stoute often does and was just out-battled at Haydock last time. While he drew three lengths clear with the winner from the rest of the field, he’ll have to improve again to get the better of Morando.
Of the rest of the field, the favourite has the beating of Communique and Sextant, Tritonic still needs to prove he’s up to this level, even with the three-year-old allowance, and on a line through Subjectivist, preference would be for Hukum.
Owen Burrows’ runner will be having only his fourth start on Saturday and he was really impressive when winning at Ascot last time - a performance that can likely be upgraded given he lost a shoe during the race. The form has a strong look to it with the aforementioned Subjectivist winning a Listed contest next time out and the fifth bolting in at Sandown.
Glorious Journey won this contest last year but finds himself in much deeper water here. Dream of Dreams is our current favourite at 3.5, having finished second in the Diamond Jubilee last time and while he does have to give 6lb to the three-year-olds, he’s very much the class act in the race.
Of the three-year-olds, Surf Dancer and Threat look the main dangers to the favourite with Pierre Lapin still to live up to his lofty reputation this season. The former readily dispatched Boccaccio at York last time who disappointed subsequently in France but is very highly regarded. It would come as no surprise if William Haggas’ runner improved again to have a real say in this contest.
The drop back to 6f in the July Cup should’ve seen Threat in a much better light but he found little in the closing stages of the race, for all that he was slightly hampered. The step back up to 7f may eke out some more improvement but after two runs there have to be question marks over whether he’s trained on.
Breathtaking Look is worth a mention given his record over this trip and he’s run some excellent races this season, finishing a close second to July Cup winner Oxted and more recently his fourth in the Oak Tree at Goodwood where he would’ve certainly finished closer had he not dwelt at the start.
- Dream of Dreams
- Surf Dancer
- Breathtaking Look
*Odds correct at time of publication