Home Of The Brave and Limato set for exciting clash in Betfred Hungerford Stakes
In-form trainer Hugo Palmer is hoping Home Of The Brave can build on his latest sparkling performance to gain victory in the seven-furlong £150,000 Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, August 15.
The three-year-old recorded an impressive front-running victory in the Group Three Minstrel Stakes, also over seven furlongs, at the Curragh, Ireland, on July 19, when he comprehensively defeated multiple Group One scorer Gordon Lord Byron by three and a half lengths.
Home Of The Brave finished sixth in the Newmarket Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile in early May and took the same position the Group One Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs at Royal Ascot in mid-June.
Palmer, based in Newmarket, commented: “The intention is to run Home Of The Brave in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes.
“He has taken his trip to Ireland remarkably well. He is a horse who needs a little bit of time between his races and the one day under four weeks between Ireland and Newbury is perfect for him.
“It has allowed him to have a week at grass and he will work at the end of the week. He is a very clear-winded horse who does not need a vast amount of work in between runs and I am as happy with him now as I was 10 days before Ireland
“He has always shown us huge potential at home, but weakness and immaturity prevented him from really producing his best. He still ran well in the Guineas and Commonwealth Cup, having won a Guineas trial, but he is stronger now and he will continue to produce better form.
“I think next year as four-year-old you will see an even better horse.
“We are rated one pound higher than Limato now. The handicapper believes we have achieved more and we will have to try and prove it. We are proven over seven furlongs, whereas Limato isn’t and we will not be running scared of anyone.
“As long as our horse goes to Newbury in great form, I hope he will be able to continue his upward trajectory.”
Trainer Henry Candy is intrigued to see how Limato gets on over the seven furlongs. The three-year-old has raced exclusively at six furlongs and was last seen out finishing second to Muharaar in the Group One Commonwealth Cup over a furlong shorter at Royal Ascot.
Candy, who trains at Kingston Warren in Oxfordshire, reported: “The plan is for Limato to run in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes.
“He has been in very good form since Ascot and it will be an interesting experiment stepping up to seven furlongs. It may go pear-shaped but he is bred to get seven furlongs and a mile.
“We are not having to step up. I thought he would be a pure sprinter at the end of last year and he might well still be, but it is worth a try.”
There are 48 horses in total engaged in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes, including last year’s winner Breton Rock (David Simcock), plus the Godolphin trio of Toormore (Richard Hannon) who recently won the Group Two Lennox Stakes at Goodwood and finished the neck second in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, Richard Pankhurst (John Gosden) and Safety Check (Charlie Appleby).
Champion trainer Hannon is also represented by high-class three-year-olds Estidhkaar and Ivawood, who were dual Group Two scorers last season.
The seven-race card at Newbury on August 15 also features the £60,000 Group Three Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes,, a recognised trial for Britain’s final Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster in September, and the £25,500 Listed Denford Stud Stakes over seven furlongs for two-year-olds. Past winners of the Denford Stud Stakes include subsequent Group One winners Rodrigo de Triano, Lammtarra, Haafhd, Just The Judge and Belardo.
Entries for the £75,000 Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, which takes place at Newbury on Saturday, September 19, closed last week. There are 62 two-year-olds engaged in the six-furlong contest including dual Group Two victor Shalaa (John Gosden), Coventry Stakes victor Buratino (Mark Johnston) and Air Force Blue, one of seven entries for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien.