THE Group 2 Unibet Hungerford Stakes is the feature race on a cracking afternoon at Newbury this Saturday. We’ve got a tidy race-by-race prev
THE Group 2 Unibet Hungerford Stakes is the feature race on a cracking afternoon at Newbury this Saturday.
We’ve got a tidy race-by-race preview for you with my bets for the afternoon and a lowdown on each race.
Race 1 – 1.15 Energy Check Handicap (Div I)
A tricky but competitive handicap to get us underway in typical Newbury style.
A number of the big yards are represented here and I’m willing to give QARASU another chance after his Newmarket no show last time out.
He clearly ran no race that day and a combination of the track and the ground looked to catch him cold on handicap debut.
Now back on soft ground at a galloping track, a mark of 85 should prove generous. Form behind the likes of Pondus should give him a big shout in this.
Murray River remains completely unexposed up 7lbs for his win at Lingfield last time out. He’s clearly come on as a three-year old and absolutely hosed up last time out. He’s the danger.
Monoxide cannot be ignored but he has to give plenty of weight away to some unexposed horses.
DANGER: Murray River
Race 2 – 1.50 Denford Stakes (Listed Race)
Only six go to post for this juvenile heat and SUN POWER is the one to beat in my book for the King Power team.
He’s had the four runs and has only got one win to his name. However, he’s run into two smart horses on his most recent runs.
He was a good fourth to Pinatubo before a narrow second to Al Dabaran. The second of those was arguably a big bunch of improvement too.
Juan Elcano will likely head the market but I’m not convinced his Newmarket run was as good as it may look on paper.
There’s been a few racecourse whispers for Willie Muir’s Pyledriver. But I’d be a tad surprised if he was up to winning this on just his second start.
SELECTION: Sun Power
Race 3 – 2.25 Unibet Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3)
This is about as trappy a race as you could hope for. Just the five runners and a warm favourite that has the form in the book against a number of unexposed rivals that could yet be a bit better than a Group 3 horse.
I’m going to take on the jolly Morando and have a nibble on the supposed outsider TECHNICIAN.
Martyn Meade’s horse can be forgiven his Goodwood run and this track will suit much better. The trip is the question mark, but I think this horse has had a tough time of things and has a decent race in him.
Sextant will love the galloping track but connections will be on weather watch as he won’t want it bottomless.
It’s a real head-scratcher this one. I wouldn’t be putting much on, if anything at all here to be honest.
TENTATIVE NOD: Technician
Race 4 – 3.00 Unibet Handicap
This is far from the strongest handicap to feature on a Saturday prime time afternoon and I’m inclined to throw up PIECE OF HISTORY here for the Godolphin gang.
Saeed bin Suroor has a knack with these older horses coming back for races such as this and form behind Auxerre is red-hot at this level.
He has to confirm he can go as well on the grass as his all weather performances, but he is lightly-raced and firmly falls into the ‘could be anything’ category still.
He’s worth a shot in my book and the market could be a giveaway as to what is expected.
Ripp Orf can’t be ignored however – as mentioned plenty of times – David Elsworth has not had the happiest of summers.
He’s dropped to an attractive mark and is due a big run. If he goes well you can bet your bottom dollar Sir Dancealot will be backed in the feature.
George William deserves respect for the Ed Walker team and Breath Of Air is interesting off bottom weight with Ryan Moore in the saddle.
LEAP OF FAITH: Piece Of History
DANGER: Ripp Orf
Race 5 – 3.35 Unibet Hungerford Stakes (Group 2)
The feature is all about SAFE VOYAGE. He’s been well found in the betting as you would expect but this should suit him down to the ground.
The long straight is perfect for him, the rain has fallen and he comes into this fresher than most of his rivals.
Whether I can back him at 2-1 is debatable, but I’ll leave that up to you…
The one I like at a bigger price is Space Traveller. However, I’ll be on weather watch with him.
He’s definitely been ignored off the back of his Goodwood flop and if eight stay in this field he will be a big each-way player.
I’m not convinced by Sir Dancealot, while Hey Gaman is unlikely to get his ground.
BIG RACE BANKER: Safe Voyage
EACH-WAY THREAT: Space Traveller
Race 6 – 4.10 Frontier British EBF Maiden Stakes
I’m all over HIGH COMMISSIONER in this. I backed him in a hot handicap at Goodwood last time out and would be surprised if he was not up to winning a maiden such as this.
Paul Cole has had a good season and while there are a few dangers in here, they think a lot of this well-bred horse and the galloping track will suit.
Adonijah is the big threat. His debut second behind a smart horse is form not to be sniffed at, but I’m siding with the more experienced runner here.
Arabist is interesting for the John Gosden yard. The betting will give a clue to what is expected there.
BET: High Commissioner
Race 7 – 4.45 Energy Check Handicap (Div II)
POUR ME A DRINK gets the nod here for the in-form Clive Cox and Adam Kirby duo.
He’s bumped into a pair of useful horses on his most recent starts and looks more than capable of being a factor in a race such as this off a mark of 79.
As a three-year-old he gets a further 7lbs off the older horses and looks attractively weighted towards the bottom of the card.
At the top of the weights Ocala can’t be ruled out for Andrew Balding but Zzoro definitely has a race in him off his current mark.
SELECTION: POUR ME A DRINK
Race 8 – 5.20 Racing TV Handicap (for Lady Amateur Riders)
I’m never keen to get involved with these amateur races, but Newbury specialist Rake’s Progress is the one I’m tempted by in the lucky last.
Soft ground is no issue and Brodie Hampson has already banged in a winner since her return.
Landa Beach is completely unexposed and worth a check in the market.
BET: Rake’s Progress
MARKET WATCH: Landa Beach