Hungerford Stakes preview: Hey Gaman has lots going for him at Newbury

Published on: August 15, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Hungerford Stakes preview says Hey Gaman (right) can go one better at Newbury

Hey Gaman looks decent value at 4/1 with Boylesports to gain a deserved Group 2 success in the feature race at Newbury on Saturday, the 7f Hungerford Stakes (15:35).

This James Tate trained four-year-old is a tough and consistent sort who has won five of his 17 starts and also made the frame on six occasions

The son Of New Approach was a smart juvenile, winning a Listed contest over course and distance before being beaten just a neck in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Although Hey Gaman failed to get his head in front last season, he did run a screamer in the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas when again going down by a neck to Olmedo.

Connections decided drop him back in grade on seasonal reappearance at Leicester in April.

Hey Gaman duly took advantage and got back to winning ways when making all to easily land the Listed 7f King Richard III Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.

He then followed-up in game fashion when beating King Malpic by a length in a Group 3 in France and, following a break, has looked better than ever in finishing runner-up in two Group 2 contests.

In the first of those at The Curragh, he was beaten just a length by Romanised who has since landed the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois to give the form a boost.

Hey Gaman then went down all guns blazing when collared close home and beaten a length by Sir Dancelot, whom he now meets on 3lb better terms. He also comes out top on adjusted official ratings, so thus appeals most.

Sir Dancelot bidding to make history

This year’s eight-runner line-up features the aforementioned Sir Dancealot, who is bidding to become the first horse to land back-to-back runnings of the Hungerford Stakes.

Trained by David Elsworth, this five-year-old enjoyed a tremendous time last season when winning on four occasions.

The last of those came in this, where Sir Dancealot was held-up as usual by regular pilot Gerald Mosse before bursting through and showing a smart turn of foot to beat Dream Of Dreams by 1 3/4 lengths.

He was then campaigned at the highest level and posted a really solid effort when a 2 1/4 lengths fifth of 16 to One Master in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc day in October.

The son of Sir Prancealot was not at his best in his first two starts this season, but bounced back in no uncertain fashion last time out when landing the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood by a length from Hey Gaman to retain his crown in that Group 2.

Sir Dancealot won a shade cosily, but the race was run to suit and he faces no easy task giving the runner-up 3lb on this occasion.

Another worry is that the ground is currently good-to-soft at the time of writing with further rain expected.

As Sir Dancealot’s best form has all come on a sound surface, he is highly unlikely to get his ideal underfoot conditions. So, at a top-price 7/2 with Betfred, he looks worth opposing.

Safe Voyage looks plenty short enough for Hungerford Stakes

Yorkshire handler John Quinn saddles the progressive Safe Voyage who revels in soft going and looks sure to go well.

This six-year-old won his first three starts this season at Haydock in impressive fashion, taking his form to a new level on each occasion.

In the last of those, Safe Voyage travelled strongly on the heels of the leaders before showing a smart turn of foot to burst to the front a furlong from home and readily beat Suedios by 1 3/4 lengths in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes.

It was a most taking display and the son of Fast Company has since run very well in defeat when a 1 1/2 lengths third of 12 to Romanised in the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at The Curragh.

Safe Voyage stuck to the task well and finished just half-a-length behind the second home Hey Gaman, so there is little between the pair.

That race was also run on good ground, so the return to a softer surface will play to his strengths. The same, however, can be said of Hey Gaman – so whether Safe Voyage is entitled to be favourite for this is debatable.

Odds of 2/1 with Unibet look plenty short enough, especially in relation to Hey Gaman who can be backed at double that price. For that reason alone he looks worth taking on.

Glorious Journey the each-way angle

Now dropped back in class and back over 7f, Glorious Journey can’t be totally discounted and appeals as the each-way value in the Hungerford Stakes at the 10/1 on offer with Bethard.

This Charlie Appleby trained four-year-old was unbeaten in two runs as a juvenile and posted some smart efforts last year.

They included when ninth of 21 to Expert Eye in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over this distance at Royal Ascot and when fourth to Regal Reality in a similar grade affair at Goodwood.

Glorious Journey went on to land success at this level over in France when quickening clear two furlongs from home and keeping on strongly to beat Sacred Life by a cosy two lengths.

The son of Dubawi has had just four starts this season and ran very well on the third of those when beaten just a length by Dream Of Dreams in the Listed 6f Hamilton Stakes.

Glorious Journey backed that up with a solid neck second to Limato in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes over 7f at Newmarket.

He was far from disgraced last time out when a 5 3/4 lengths eighth of 12 to Ten Sovereigns in the July Cup over 6f at headquarters when going off far too hard and fading badly after being four lengths clear at halfway.

This represents a return to calmer waters and he is unlikely to be ridden so aggressively now back over a far more suitable trip.

If that does prove to be the case, then Glorious Journey ought to be able to make his presence felt in this judged on his run behind Limato.