Hungerford Stakes Tips

Mid-August each year sees Newbury racecourse stage one of its top flat cards of the season, with the seven race card lit up by a double helping of Group class races. Topping the bill is the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes. Read on for betting tips, offers and the best odds for this classy contest.

Hungerford Stakes Tips

We have 13 standing their ground for this race at the four-day stage, with the field including last year’s winner Sir Dancealot. David Elsworth’s charge will become only the second dual winner in the history of the contest if able to successfully defend his crown. He’s towards the head of the betting to do just that but, at five years of age now, does have a pretty strong trend to defy – each of the past nine editions of this having fallen to a runner aged four or younger. Another key factor this year is the going at the track. There’s a fair amount of rain forecast in the build-up to the race, and it can get pretty soft pretty quickly around here.

A Safe Bet?

Of those towards the head of the market, Space Blues would make plenty of appeal if showing up but, coming less than a fortnight after his second in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, we fancy he may be kept back for another target over in France. With Sir Dancealot not certain to go on the ground, by far the most solid option at this stage looks to be the John Quinn runner Safe Voyage. As a six year old he isn’t the ideal fit from a trends perspective, but that negative is more than offset by his record over this trip on soft or worse ground. Boasting overall form figures under these conditions of 11U1, his only defeat has come courtesy of an unfortunate unseat. A staying on third in a good ground Group 2 at the distance last time out, he is fancied to get on top late here.

Tap Top Each Way Value?

That bias towards the younger runners is simply to strong to ignore completely though, and we will be backing up our main selection with an each way wager on William Haggas’s Tapisserie. Already a winner on soft, she put in a quite remarkable performance when winning in Listed company at Carlisle last time out. Looking to hate the good to firm ground that day, she was all at sea rounding the final bend before picking up in great style to mow them all down, despite losing a good few lengths when drifting right across the track. There should be plenty more to come from this one on what will be just her fifth career start and, as one of only two three year old fillies in the race, she receives weight from all bar Angel’s Hideaway.

Hungerford Stakes Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Sir Dancealot – jockey Gerald Mosse, trainer David Elsworth
  • 2017 – Massaat – jockey Jim Crowley, trainer Owen Burrows
  • 2016 – Richard Pankhurst – jockey Robert Havlin, trainer John Gosden
  • 2015 – Adaay – jockey Paul Hanagan, trainer William Haggas
  • 2014 – Breton Rock – jockey Martin Lane, trainer David Simcock
  • 2013 – Gregorian – jockey Robert Havlin, trainer John Gosden
  • 2012 – Lethal Force – jockey Adam Kirby, trainer Clive Cox
  • 2011 – Excelebration – jockey Adam Kirby, trainer Marco Botti
  • 2010 – Shakespearean – jockey Frankie Dettori, trainer Saeed bin Suroor
  • 2009 – Balthazaar’s Gift – jockey Philip Robinson, trainer Clive Cox

Hungerford Stakes History

First run in 1949, Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes is one of the most targeted events of the season for those runners who excel over the 7f trip. Named after the nearby town of Hungerford, the race hasn’t missed a year since that 1949 debut, but has undergone a number of changes over time.

As in 1949, the race is open to all runners aged three and older, be they colts, geldings, fillies or mares. The distance over which the race takes place has altered since its first running though, with that inaugural edition having been a 1m½f affair.

The two other major changes to the event have come since the turn of the century. Having always taken place on the left-handed course – and so featured a turn during the race – the race was switched to the straight track in 2002. Four years after that move, the contest benefited from an increase in it status, being elevated from a Group 3 to a Group 2 for the first time in 2006.

The event certainly made a promising start in terms of quality of winner. Counting the Richmond Stakes, Gimcrack Stakes, Greenham Stakes and Jersey Stakes on his resumé, 1949 champ Star King (later renamed Star Kingdom) also went on to make his presence felt at stud – being crowned leading sire in Australia on five separate occasions.

Other stars to have scorched the turf on the way to victory include crack sprinter Lethal Force (2012), 1000 Guineas heroine Harayir (1995) and the multiple Group 1 winning Paco Boy (2008).

Leading the way in the trainers table is Newmarket handler John Gosden. First successful when dead-heating with Pollen Count in 1994 – the only dead heat in the race’s history – Gosden landed the prize for a benchmark sixth time with Richard Pankhurst in 2016.

Looking at the jockeys to have come home in front here, the likes of all-time greats Steve Cauthen, Pat Eddery and Walter Swinburn are all multiple winners of the race, but none have fared quite so well as the irrepressible Italian, Frankie Dettori. Aboard both Pollen Count and Decorated Hero for John Gosden, Dettori also has two wins for Saeed bin Suroor and one apiece for David Loder and Roger Charlton, putting him atop the jockeys table with six triumphs in all.