BetVictor Hungerford Stakes Day at Newbury Racecourse

August 13, 2022

William Buick brought up a double on the day with victory in the feature race of the meeting at Newbury, the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes, aboard the Eve Johnson-Haughton trained Jumby.

Sent off 9/1 after being well held in the International at Ascot, it was a fine return to form for the 4-year-old son of New Bay, who swept between rivals to score by nearly 2 lengths from Dubai Poet and Wings Of War.

Primo Bacio and Pogo were up towards the lead at the early stages, Chindit switching as the field began to sort themselves out. In a truly run race, it was Pogo who began to wane just before a furlong out, Tiber Flow and Primo Bacio disputing the lead as the field headed towards the final furlong.

Dubai Poet was in there pitching with Wings Of War, but it was Buick aboard Jumby who would take the spoils, as he threaded the needle and burst through with a furlong to go, running away in decisive fashion with a terrific turn of foot to score by just shy of two lengths. Dubai Poet stayed on best for second, with Wings Of War coming home in third.

Post-race, William was full of praise for his mount, who was bouncing back after a disappointing run at Ascot last time out, albeit with cheekpieces being fitted for the first time there.

“He’s a strong traveller, and he’s in great shape”.

“It was a trappy race, but it fell together today, and he showed his true colours”.

On asked if the horse would benefit going up in trip to a mile, William was swift to reject that idea.

“No, 7 furlongs is perfect”.

After a shedload of handicaps in which the horse has finished placed or mid-division, it seems that trainer Eve Johnson-Haughton has finally found the right type of race, and level, for a horse that has hit the crossbar a fair few times recently, running valiant races in defeat.

Whilst he is entered in the City of York Stakes, the trainer stated that they will probably enter the horse for the Prix de la Foret, as entries for the race close next week, and give the race at York a miss.

Review of the rest of the meeting…

Zechariah takes the Group 3 BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

Zechariah put himself firmly in the picture for the leading staying races for next season when taking the Group 3 BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes with a scintillating performance under Tom Marquand.

Zechariah was sent straight into the lead by Tom Marquand from Outbox and Silence Please keen to sit a few lengths away in second and third respectively. Away He Goes and Universal Order brought up the rear in a race that was run at a generous pace. Universal Order, having dropped in at the back, did play up in the stalls briefly, his head being over the other side of the stall just before the off, but thankfully he settled down quickly.

Turning into the home straight Zechariah still held a handy lead as Away he Goes was sent around the outside by Sean Levey to get a better aim at the leader. However, at the 3-furlong marker, Tom sent the leader on again, in a manner of fashion that screamed “catch me if you can”. His pace quickened, and very soon all his rivals were in trouble. Away he Goes’ effort petered out very quickly, along with Silence Please, both of whom could not live with the relentless, furious injection of pace the leader had just produced.

Only Outbox and Universal Order could go with the leader, but they were always fighting for second as the leader turned up the heat in rapid fashion, maintaining the fierce gallop all the way to the line to score by 3 lengths. Universal Order sealed the runner-up spot from Outbox, with 5 lengths back to Silence Please and a further 1 and a half to the disappointing Away He Goes.

Post-race, winning jockey Tom Marquand was full of praise for the winner.

“He’s done nothing wrong.” “He handled the ground and class jump”, he stated, with a beaming smile almost akin to the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland.

Going ahead to the future plans for the son of Nathaniel, it appears leading staying races are in store for him.

“He is a stayer moving forward. He will improve for the future”. Long term, he seemed to reference Australia, perhaps a sign the connections will be thinking of a trip to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup, a race he is already entered in.

Reflecting on the immediate response and detonation of speed that was poured on from the three-furlong marker, the jockey was keen to state that it was his plan to stretch his rivals out as much as he could, using the stamina of his mount to take advantage of a weight allowance against his rivals.

“He stays well. Newbury is a nice track”.

“He has a lot of weight from the older horses, no point letting the others come” were his words regarding the progressive winner.

On future plans, the big one at Ascot in June seems to be on the radar, with a crack at the St Leger in more immediate sight, where he can be backed at 20/1 with the sponsors of the Geoffrey Freer Stakes, BetVictor.

“That’s the aim”.

Of the beaten horses, Hollie Doyle was full of praise for her mount Outbox, who finished third.

“It was a great run”, she enthused. “He enjoyed himself”, finishing with a note that ”he will be winning again soon”.

Victory Dance (blue) victorious in the Listed Denford Stakes, William Buick aboard (JTW Equine Images)

The double for William Buick began with victory aboard the well fancied Victory Dance, who took the Listed Denford Stakes in impressive style for trainer Charlie Appleby and owners Godolphin.

Sent off the 4/7F, he obliged by 1 ¼ lengths in a somewhat cosy fashion, beating long-time leader Ferrari Queen and the fast-finished Candle Of Hope.

Ferrari Queen took the field along, with the hot favourite settled in mid-division of the quintet. Bluelight Bay and Cite D’Or made up the mid part of the field with the favourite, with Candle Of Hope sitting on the coattails of them.

With 3 furlongs to go William Buick stoked the fire of his mount and started to move his way forward, putting pressure on the leader. Candle Of Hope was sent to go with the favourite, but the response was not as immediate as his main rival as he was found somewhat lacking for a turn of foot.

Ferrari Queen’s lead was soon diminished as the favourite asserted and went on to score, eased down, by a cosy 1 and a quarter lengths. Ferrari Queen was second, with Candle Of Home coming home fast at the end. Both would potentially benefit from the step up in trip to a mile.

Speaking afterward, William was delighted for his mount, who has earned quotes of 10/1 from BetVictor for the Dewhurst Stakes.

“It was a nice confidence boost”, referring to his close second in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket to Isaac Shelby last month.

“It’s only his 3rd start….. he will be a nice 3-year-old for the future”.

The winner can be backed at 20/1 with most bookmakers for the first Classic of the 2023 Flat season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, in May at Newmarket.

Postwick and Richard Kingscote steal the Download The BetVictor App Handicap Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

It was almost a case of daylight robbery from Mohammed Tabti and General Lee as they attempted to make all in the Download The BetVictor App Handicap Stakes, only to be collared in the final furlong by Postwick and Richard Kingscote.

In tactics their namesake General Robert E.Lee would have been happy of, they went more than 10, if not 15, lengths clear at halfway. Unfortunately, the post came too late for victory, but they did manage to hold on for second from Frantanck.

Postwick was restrained at the back as the field began their 10-furlong trip. General Lee went straight into the lead and attempted to burn the opposition into the ground, burn being an appropriate verb as the mercury began to climb towards 35 degrees at the Berkshire track.

First off the bridle entering the straight was Definite, the son of Kingman who was sent off 11/4 favourite. The favourite could never land a blow and dropped away to the rear, along with Highland Premiere who was never a factor.

Postwick, despite pulling early, made strong headway with Frantanck, and it was the former who was the only one of the field able to reel in the brave leader. Postwick pulled away in the end to score by two and a half lengths, with Frantanck taking third place.

Veteran runner, Documenting (orange silks), won the “Play Pick 6 At BetVictor” Handicap Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

Documenting, the veteran of the field, took the “Play Pick 6 At BetVictor” Handicap Stakes under Jack Mitchell, for trainer Kevin Frost and owners KF Racing, Humphreys, Orr, and Glover Priest.

The nine-year-old made sure the long trip back to Newark was a happy one as he scored by ¾ of a length to the favourite Dance Fever, showcasing his capabilities now back on a winning mark in good style.

Suzy’s Shoes strides away to win the Mettal UK British EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

Suzy’s Shoes made it a quickfire double for Eve Johnson-Houghton as she took the Mettal UK British EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes under Charles Bishop for owner Mr Marc Middleton-Heath.

On a day of doubles in which her sire Nathaniel was on the scoresheet twice, she quickened up smartly at the end of the 11-furlong trip to score by five and a half lengths from the favourite Rechercher, who again was sired by Nathaniel.

A stylish victory from Saratoga Gold in the Rangers Riding Ranch Amateur Jockeys Handicap Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

The final race of the day was the Rangers Riding Ranch Amateur Jockeys Handicap Stakes, taken in good style by Saratoga Gold under a confident Miss Kayleigh Stephens.

Trained by Charles Hills, the former course winner was sent to the lead inside the final furlong under a hands and heels ride from the jockey, pulling clear of another course winner in Frontispiece to score by a cosy 2 and a quarter lengths, the pair a further 4 and a half lengths ahead of Psyche.

Of the beaten runners, young riding sensation Miss Fern O’Brien stated that her mount, Castel Gandolfo, ran lairy, and requires a jockey “a bit stronger than her”. However, she gave the horse a good ride, and he can be one to keep an eye on when sent back hurdling.

Arabian filly Ekleel Athbah taking the Group 2 Royal Cavalry Of Oman International Stakes (JTW Equine Images)

There was a bonus race on the card to open proceedings, with the Royal Cavalry Of Oman International Stakes, a Group 2 for Arabian Horses. It was won by the Athbah Racing-owned Ekleel Athbah, who produced a fine late flourish to take the opener under Tadhg O’Shea for trainer Mr. Philip Collington.

Written by Jack and Tom Williams

Main photo: Jumby (red cap) winning the Hungerford (JTW Equine Images)

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