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A strong field remains for G2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury Racecourse

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A total of 11 have remained in contention for the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, in front of the first larger crowd at Newbury since the return of racegoers.

2019 winning trainer Charlie Appleby holds a strong hand with his Godolphin-owned horses, Al Suhail and D’bai, whilst there is good representation from local trainers, including Dreamloper for the Ed Walker team, Nando Parrado for two-time winning trainer Clive Cox, and the Owen Burrows trained Danyah.

Clive Cox is hoping his Royal Ascot winning Nando Parrado will get back on track in this year’s renewal.

There is expected to be around 15,000 fans in attendance at Newbury on Saturday
There is expected to be around 15,000 fans in attendance at Newbury on Saturday

Cox commented, “Nando Parrado is in good form, I’m very happy with him. He had an excellent season last year, and I’m hoping to get him back to that topflight level again this year.

“He was a very good two-year-old, and has come a bit more relaxed at home, so I will stick a pair of blinkers on him.

“I think it should keep his mind fully on the job, and they should keep him focused, but he has been pleasing me at home and making good progress.

“He didn’t like the ground at all at Ascot last time out which was bottomless, but he’s come out of it well. The ground should be beautiful at Newbury this Saturday, so that should be in his favour.”

“I’m always keen to win the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes, of course it’s local but it’s also a high-class race and Lethal Force did well to win it for us as a four-year-old, and Balthazar’s Gift was another good winner so it would be fantastic to win it again with this horse.”

Another Lambourn based trainer hoping for a big run is Ed Walker, who’s enjoying a fantastic season, including a first win at Group 1 level.

His runner Dreamloper impressed last time out, and he said, “We are really looking forward to seeing her back on the track again after winning the Group 3 Valiant Stakes at Ascot at the end of July.

“She is a progressive filly and that race backed up what she has always shown us at home.

“Molly, who rides her every day at home, has done a fantastic job with her and we believe there is still more to come. The BetVictor Hungerford Stakes is a deep race, but this would be a good next step for her.”

There will be four races shown live on ITV4, including the Listed Denford Stakes, which sees Masekala trying to get his head back in front for the Andrew Balding team following a short head second in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last time out.

Massaat won the Hungerford Stakes in 2017 Pic: Francesca Altoft
Massaat won the Hungerford Stakes in 2017 Pic: Francesca Altoft

Hukum, the winner of last year’s BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes, looks set to return to Newbury to defend his crown, and is in great form following a Group 3 success at York in July.

Clerk of the course at Newbury, Keith Ottesen, added, “The going on Tuesday was Good to Soft after some showers on Monday and through the weekend.

“We are expecting it to be mainly dry and warming up for the rest of the week so would expect Good, fast ground by Saturday.

“We were delighted with the entries and are looking forward to a fantastic day of racing, and to welcoming back a large crowd to enjoy it.

“We are grateful to BetVictor for their generous support of this meeting, along with Denford Stud, Education for Everyone, Mettal UK and Academy Insurance.”

Following the exciting day of racing, Olly Murs will take to the Party in the Paddock stage to perform a live music set, on his return to Newbury having played to a sell-out crowd in 2017.

Grandstand tickets will be available to purchase on the gate.

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