Balding hoping rain comes for When as 16 declared for Betfred Hungerford Stakes
A field of 16 is set to go to post for the £150,000 Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes (3.45pm), the highlight of the seven-race programme at Newbury on Saturday, August 15.
The 5/1 favourite with Betfred is Home Of The Brave (Hugo Palmer/Wayne Lordan), who comes into Saturday’s contest on the back of a convincing victory in the Group Three Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, on July 19, when he came home three and a half lengths clear of multiple Group One scorer Gordon Lord Byron.
Godolphin’s Safety Check (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) and Here Comes When (Andrew Balding/Jim Crowley) are the 6/1 joint second favourites with the sponsor. Safety Check was a dual Group Two winner at Meydan, Dubai, over the winter and was a good third on his return to action in the Group Two Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on July 28. Here Comes When was fourth in the Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and races over seven furlongs for the first time since he won the Group Two Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October.
Kingsclere-based Andrew Balding said today: “Here Comes When came out of Goodwood in good form and is an intended runner as long as Newbury gets the forecast rain.
“It was a good run in the Sussex Stakes last time over the mile. I think he is just as effective over a mile or seven furlongs, but he is a Group Two winner over seven and hopefully he will have every chance on Saturday.”
The blue silks of Godolphin will also be carried by Richard Pankhurst (John Gosden/Robert Havlin). The three-year-old son of Raven’s Pass won the Listed Chesham Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot in 2014 and is making a belated seasonal reappearance following a setback.
Another exciting three-year-old is Limato (Henry Candy/Graham Lee), runner-up to Muhaarar in the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but yet to tackle seven furlongs.
Owner Hamdan Al Maktoum has two interesting contenders in Adaay (William Haggas/Paul Hanagan), a staying-on seventh in the Commonwealth Cup, and Markaz (Barry Hills/Dane O’Neill), who landed the seven-furlong Group Three Criterion Stakes at Newmarket last time out on June 27.
Cable Bay (Charlie Hills/George Baker) was a close fifth in Newbury’s Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes on May 16 and was subsequently successful over seven furlongs at Haydock on May 30.
Breton Rock (David Simcock/Martin Lane) won the Betfred Hungerford Stakes in 2014 and if successful would be only the second dual winner of the race after Jimmy Reppin, who scored in 1968 and 1969.
Windfast (Brian Meehan/Jimmy Fortune) scored over the course and distance when taking a competitive handicap under top weight on July 18, while Heaven’s Guest (Richard Fahey/David Nolan) also steps up from handicap company, having landed the ultra-competitive Gigaset International over seven furlongs at Ascot on July 25.
There is one challenger from France in Majestic Mount (Rodolphe Collet/Ted Durcan), a Listed winner over seven furlongs on the all-weather at Deauville.
Betfred Hungerford Stakes – Betfred bet: 5/1 Home Of The Brave; 6/1 Safety Check, Here Comes When; 8/1 Richard Pankhurst; 9/1 Limato; 10/1 Adaay, Cable Bay; 12/1 Breton Rock, Windfast; 14/1 Heaven’s Guest; 16/1 Markaz; 20/1 Tupi; 25/1 Coulsty; 33/1 Majestic Mount, That Is The Spirit; 66/1 Lincoln
Newbury’s seven-race card on Saturday also features the £60,000 Group Three Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2.35pm, nine runners) over an extended mile and five furlongs. The field includes Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes third Romsdal (John Gosden/James Doyle) as well the globetrotting Red Cadeaux (Ed Dunlop/George Baker), who has earned just shy of £5 million in prize money and finished runner-up in the Melbourne Cup three times. Other leading contenders include Agent Murphy (Brian Meehan/Jimmy Fortune), Ayrad (Roger Varian/Graham Lee) and Gospel Choir (Sir Michael Stoute/Frankie Dettori), who have all scored at Listed level in 2015.
The £25,500 Listed Denford Stud Stakes (2.00pm, 7 contenders) for two-year-olds, has been won by the likes of future Classic winners Rodrigo de Triano, Lammtarra and Haafhd. This year’s field includes Palawan (Richard Hannon/Pat Dobbs) and Twin Sails (Dean Ivory/Pat Cosgrave) who were third and fourth respectively in the Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on July 28
The seven-race thoroughbred programme, which is preceded by an Arab race at 12:55pm, runs from 1.25pm through to 4.50pm on Betfred Ladies Day, which is being held for the first time this year in support of Breast Cancer Care. There will be a chance to win a luxury holiday for two to Florida in the ‘Most Stylish Racegoer’ competition, and a live performance from world famous ABBA show Björn Again after racing. Gates open at 11:30am and tickets are available via www.newburyracecourse.co.uk
Newbury also races tomorrow, Friday, August 14, with an eight-race programme running from 1.45pm to 5.35pm. The highlight is the £25,500 Listed Bathwick Tyres St Hugh’s Stakes (3.55pm, 14 runners), run over five furlongs for two-year-old fillies.