Hungerford Stakes: Jumby camp eyeing repeat success at Newbury
Defending champion Jumby is 11/4 favourite to become only the second two-time winner of the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury after 1968 and 1969 scorer Jimmy Reppin.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s five-year-old ran on strongly to down Dubai Poet in the Group Two contest 12 months ago and will return to the Berkshire track in good order following some pleasing efforts of late.
“After Scared was not declared for Saturday’s feature, Jumby has been made the new favourite to land the Group Two contest at Newbury,” said Coral’s John Hill.
Although a tilt at Group One level for the Lockinge Stakes was ultimately a step too far, he returned to winning ways in the John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock before hitting the frame when second to Audience in the Criterion Stakes.
“He’s in great form, he just wants firm ground, which seems to be missing at the moment,” said Johnson Houghton.
“Hopefully there is no more rain forecast, so the ground should quicken up a bit. The faster the ground, the better he goes.”
Richard Hannon expects Chindit to thrive for dropping back to seven furlongs in Saturday’s Hungerford Stakes and he is a 3/1 chance with Coral.
The five-year-old has had three starts over a mile so far this term, winning the Paradise Stakes at Ascot before pushing Modern Games close when second in the Group One Lockinge Stakes at the Berkshire venue in May.
A subsequent spin in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot ended in disappointment and Hannon took him out of the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on account of the testing conditions earlier this month.
The handler is anticipating better ground at Newbury though, and is backing the son of Wootton Bassett to put last year’s eighth place in the race well behind him.
Hannon said: “He’s only had three races this year, this will be the first for his new owner (Villoo Poonawalla Greenfield Farms).
“I’m delighted with the form he is in – he loves Newbury, he’s won the Greenham and finished second in the Lockinge. It looks like coming back to seven furlongs will be ideal for him and hopefully he has an excellent chance.
“He worked very well on the grass on Sunday. The forecast is looking dry leading into the weekend, so we are hopeful it will be quick ground.”
Charlie Fellowes is also keeping an eye on the weather as he seeks decent ground for his challenger Marbaan, who is available at 8/1.
The three-year-old bounced back to form when coming home third in the Lennox Stakes over this trip at Goodwood, with Fellowes giving him extra credit as the good to soft ground did not play to the colt’s strengths.
The handler said: “He ran a cracker at Goodwood in a strong race, the first two horses are clearly Group One horses. We decided to ride him with a bit of patience and he finished well on ground that was probably softer than ideal.
“I think the seven furlongs at Newbury will suit him; we are on weather watch though, I wouldn’t want the ground to be getting too soft. He is definitely better on better ground.
“He looks a picture and is in really good order, his Goodwood run has done him the world of good and I would think he would be very competitive if conditions are in his favour.”
15/2 Misty Grey
8/1 Marbaan, Mostabshir
10/1 New Endeavour
All odds and market correct at date of publication