The Hungerford Stakes at Newbury is the feature race on Saturday afternoon and it looks worth paying attention to the fact that Aidan O’Brien only has one runner on the entire card!
Gustav Klimt must defy a 36-year trend if he’s to become the first Irish-trained Hungerford Stakes winner since Pat Eddery steered Pas de Seul home in 1982. That is somewhat misleading, as the raiding party haven’t exactly targeted this Group 2 in stellar numbers down the years.
This time, however, the all-conquering Ballydoyle maestro is coming to town. Gustav Klimt scored in Listed company on his reappearance at Leopardstown in April. He handles any ground and is 3-3 over this 7f trip. Since that reappearance success he’s raced only in Group 1 company, placing three times before a fine fourth in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last time out.
He can extend the excellent record of three-year-olds in this race (5-10) by scoring under Moore.
The Great St Wilfrid Handicap is one of the highlights of season at Ripon and trainer David O’Meara has enjoyed terrific recent success, winning the 6f contest in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Al Qahwa has been a bit frustrating since joining the yard from Mick Halford for the 2017 season. He started with a win at York but hasn’t got his head in front in 11 further outings.
He made a very promising reappearance over this C&D at Ripon in April, before a luckless effort at Epsom in June and then he caught the eye with some late headway in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot.
He has won on good to firm in the past but any rain that hits Yorkshire is likely going to be in his favour.
He goes well fresh so the short absence has to be a plus-factor while the 5lb Conor McGovern claims ensures he’s potentially well-handicapped here and a decent each-way shout as such for a yard that does well in the race.
Mick Channon’s charge produced a career-best effort on Sunday when scoring decisively at Windsor over this sort of trip.
Having travelled in the rear, he made smooth progress to lead and won readily under claiming rider Scott McCullagh, who was on board for the first time.
A 6lb penalty for that success might not be enough to floor his ambitions of the quick double as they stick to low-grade company at Chepstow on Saturday evening.
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