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Newmarket raider targets Hungerford Stakes

Impressive field set for 2015 renewal while Geoffrey Freer Stakes add to top card

Malcolm Howe



Newmarket raider targets Hungerford Stakes

Back a year: Martin Lane takes Breton Rock in front of Gregorian and William Buick to win last year's Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and the £56,000 purse

TRAINER Hugo Palmer is hoping to make Newbury his Home Of The Brave conquest as he targets next week’s £150,000 Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes.

The three-year-old recorded an impressive front-running victory in the Group Three Minstrel Stakes over the same seven furlongs distance at the Curragh last month, comprehensively defeating multiple Group One scorer Gordon Lord Byron by three and a half lengths.

Home Of The Brave finished sixth in Newmarket’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile in early May and took the same position in the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June and now the Newmarket trainer says: “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."

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.

The Kingston Warren Candy trainer confirmed his plans to run Limato on August 15 and said: “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 so far declared for the race, including last year's winner Breton Rock plus the Godolphin trio of Toormore, second in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, Richard Pankhurst and Safety Check.

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 also features the £60,000 Group Three Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes, a recognised trial for the St Leger at Doncaster in September, and the £25,500 Listed Denford Stud Stakes over seven furlongs for two-year-olds.

Entries for the £75,000 Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, September 19, closed last week with 62 two-year-olds up for the six-furlong contest, including dual Group Two victor Shalaa, Coventry Stakes winner Buratino and Air Force Blue, one of seven entries for Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.



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