Saturday brings the 2017 renewal of the G2 Hungerford Stakes, at Newbury (3:35pm), a race won by John Gosden’s Richard Pankhurst last year. Both Daban and Nathra should run for him this year, although the seasonal reappearance of Owen Burrows’ Massaat is what many racing fans will be intrigued to see.
Runner-up in both the Dewhurst Stakes and the 2000 Guineas, the Teofilo colt didn’t see out the trip in the Epsom Derby and then went to pieces in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury. Many assumed that would be the last we would see of him, on the track, but Burrows has been bullish about his recent work.
“Touch-wood, he is showing all the right signs at home. I hope it doesn’t dry up too much for him as I think he does want a little bit of juice in the ground.
“I’ve been very pleased with him. I’m going to give him an away day shortly and give him a racecourse gallop. He will be a bit rusty as it will be a year since he ran. From what I am seeing at home, though, he still retains all his enthusiasm.”
The field looks strong and the likes of Breton Rock, Librisa Breeze, Kaspersky and Roger Varian’s Spangled are all attracting plenty of bets. Massaat could show them all a clean pair of heels if back to his very best though and this is a horse that looked far too good to finish his career, without a black-type victory of some kind.
This 7f sprint was introduced in 1949 and is named after a local town. It is open to runners aged three years or more and the purse is £150,000. It has produced many very-good winners, over the years.
Lethal Force was the 2012 champion. Bred by Declan Johnson, owned by Alan Craddock and trained by Clive Cox, this grey Irish stallion was out of a dam named Land Army and was sired by Dark Angel. Lethal Force proved to be top-class and went on to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup in 2013. Later that year, Lethal Force was named Cartier Champion Sprinter.
The Dick Hern-trained Harayir was the winner in 1995. Willie Carson was given the ride on this terrific American bay mare. Bred by Shadwell Farm and owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, she is from a dam known as Saffaanh and was sired by Gulch. Other famous winners include Paco Boy, Chic, Reel Buddy and Barry Hills’ Distant Relative.
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