Horse Racing: Hungerford Stakes Preview & Betting Tips

Charlie ApplebyThe Hungerford Stakes, run over the straight seven furlongs at Newbury, is competitive enough as it stands this year without all the rain the track has had (3.45 Saturday). It’s safe to assume that the going will be on the soft side and that’s reflected in the betting.

At the time of writing, Home Of The Brave (11/2) is just about hanging on to favouritism after making all to win the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes, over seven furlongs on good to yielding going, at the Curragh last month.

The son of Starspangledbanner had previously run creditably in defeat in the 2,000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket and the Commonwealth Cup, over 6 furlongs, at Ascot. However, as he demonstrated when winning the European Free Handicap at Newmarket on his seasonal debut, this trip appears to be his optimum and he must have every chance of recording his third win of the season.

Trainer Charlie Appleby’s (pictured) Safety Check (13/2) completed a hat-trick in Dubai at the start of the year, including an easy four-length victory in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over seven furlongs. He was only beaten three-quarters of a length and a head by Toormore and Dutch Connection in the Lennox Stakes, again over seven furlongs, at Goodwood last month. He is entitled to improve for that run, his first since February, and is another who fully deserves his position towards the head of the market.

Here Comes When (7/1) has recorded three of his five career wins on properly soft going and, understandably, has been well backed in the week leading up to the Hungerford Stakes in anticipation of conditions being testing. On ground that suits, he may be able to return to the form that saw him win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes, over seven furlongs, at Newmarket last October and is one to take very seriously indeed.

Limato (9/1) couldn’t cope with Muharrar in the Commonwealth Cup over 6 furlongs at Royal Ascot but, with the winner going on to win the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket and the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, the form looks substantially better than it did before. Limato has raced exclusively at six furlongs but his sire, Tagula, stayed seven furlongs as a three-year-old and, although he’s unraced on ground slower than good, he shouldn’t be underestimated.

Of those at longer odds, Heaven’s Guest (16/1) has failed to trouble the judge in two previous attempts in Group company, but won the Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes over seven furlongs at Naas in June. He looked better than ever when just holding on to win the International Stakes, over the same distance, on soft going at Ascot three weeks ago. With the ground in his favour, he could go well at a decent price.

Hungerford Stakes Betting Tips Verdict

  • Much depends how soft the ground is come race time and, with a question mark over Limato on such a surface, Charlie Appleby’s progressive four-year-old SAFETY CHECK could be the safest play. Our Hungerford Stakes betting tips advice is to back Safety Check each-way at best odds of 13/2 with Paddy Power.