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Newbury report: Buick shines on Jumby in Hungerford

Sat 13 Aug 2022

William Buick delivered Jumby with a perfectly-timed challenge to take the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

Trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, the 9-1 shot appeared to have plenty to find with the likes of favourite Pogo having failed to strike in five outings so far this term but he had been running well in competitive handicaps.

However, after racing into the final furlong on the heels of the pace-setting Dubai Poet, Buick steered Jumby between horses and the New Bay colt took off.

He pulled clear in a matter of strides, coming home a length and three-quarters to the good.

Eve Johnson Houghton can't hide her satisfaction after Group Two success

The minor places were hard fought, with Dubai Poet hanging on for second by a short head from Wings Of War, with Primo Bacio, who also raced to the fore, a further neck back in fourth.

Johnson Houghton said: “I have always believed in this horse – and it is great to get it right. And funnily enough, William has also always believed in him and he rides Godolphin horses, so if he believes in him, then everyone can.

“He got it right today. He always rides him if he can. He is in the City of York next Saturday and while he probably won’t run, all options are open, because he loves firm ground and I don’t want to wait until it goes soft. I don’t want to miss the ground with him.

“We’ll see how he comes out of it, but he is full of himself.

“The Prix Foret closes next week, so we will probably go there – at least we will enter him. I haven’t told the lads yet, but that’s where we’ll go.”

Victory Dance looks exciting in Denford

Victory Dance justifies favouritism in grand style

William Buick feels Victory Dance could develop into a Classic prospect after taking the Listed Denford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The Godolphin-owned son of Dubawi gained compensation for a head defeat in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on his second start as he made no mistake in the seven-furlong contest.

Dropped out by Buick in the early stages, he tracked the slightly free-going Ferrari Queen, one of three fillies in the five-strong field, drawing readily alongside approaching the furlong marker.

Victory Dance then showed his rivals a clean pair of heels, justifying 8-15 favouritism with a conclusive length-and-a-quarter victory, looking better the further he went.

Ferrari Queen stayed on gamely for second, with The Queen’s Candle Of Hope sticking on well on the stands’ rail for third.

The Dewhurst Stakes and UAE 2000 Guineas may well be on the agenda for the Charlie Appleby-trained winner, although Buick felt he will have plenty of scope to develop as a three-year-old.

“He is quite an unfurnished type and is going to be a lovely three-year-old and he is going to get a mile,” he said.

“That was a lovely confidence-booster today. He went down narrowly in the Superlative and that was only his second start, so to come here today and do it how he did was very pleasing. He is still learning.”

Buick talks to Nick Luck about Victory Dance - as well Coroebus ahead of the Prix Jacques le Marois and Native Trail in next week's Juddmonte International

The best medicine is often a winner and after suffering a horror spill at Wolverhampton on Friday, Derby-winning jockey Richard Kingscote showed no ill effects, timing his run brilliantly on Postwick in the 10-furlong Download The BetVictor App Handicap.

Though 7lb claimer Mohammed Tabti poached a long lead aboard General Lee, he was eventually reeled in as the Harry Eustace-trained Postwick (17-2) came with a withering run to take the spoils by two and a half lengths.

Eustance said: “For whatever reason it didn’t go right last week at Brighton, so we went back to a trip over which he had run well. They went very hard, which helped, as he is quite tough on himself.

“He deserved this. He has run some good races without being a winner, so it is nice to see him get his head back in front. We’ll look for another mile-and-two-furlong handicap after this.”

Zechariah advertises Leger chance

Full replay: See how Zechariah lands Group Three honours

Zechariah staked his St Leger claims with an all-the-way victory in the BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Sent off the 6-4 favourite for trainers Martyn and Freddie Meade, despite disappointing at Newmarket last time out, Zechariah broke sharply for Tom Marquand, who was eager to push on in front.

Outbox and Hollie Doyle sat on his heels for most of the extended one-mile-five-furlong trip and looked likely to mount a strong challenge at the top of the straight.

However, Zechariah kept finding for pressure and while Universal Order made a late bid for glory, the winner had flown, coming home three and a half lengths clear.

Paddy Power clipped the Nathaniel colt to 16-1 from 20s for the Cazoo St Leger on September 10, with Doncaster Classic in connections’ sights.

Freddie Meade said: “I think the St Leger is on the cards. That is what we had in the back of our minds before this, so we will talk to everybody and make a plan.

“Tom gave him a great ride and knew him from winning here last year and he sat on him before Ascot, so we are thrilled to get him on board and get the job done.

“He is a nice colt and it was trainer error at Newmarket and he has got us off the hook today. It was my fault actually – the young, gung-ho approach!

“I think he is very versatile in terms of ground as he won on good to soft here last year and he has performed at Ascot on quick ground. To have a horse that versatile is brilliant.”

Meade admits to relief after a first Group success for Zechariah

Marquand was similarly impressed with Zechariah, who was only narrowly beaten in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

He added: “It was really straightforward. That run back after Ascot probably came just a bit quick for him in reality. He has done nothing wrong.

“It is a class jump to the St Leger but as I said to Freddie, you can’t put him off on what he has done there. He stays really well and he has handled that ground fine, but arguably you’d say he does handle a little bit of cut.

“So, the backend of the season shouldn’t be the end of the world for him. He is a stayer that is moving forward and the size of him now would suggest that whatever he does this season, he will improve upon next season and beyond.

“It is great for (part owner) Aquis Farm to have a nice stayer as they have the really long-term views. They have plenty going on in Australia and I’m sure they will have that in the back of their minds.

“I’m looking forward to getting back there at some point.”

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