It’s Safety first for Newbury’s big prize

Safety Check, left, can land the Hungerford Stakes today. Picture: Getty
Safety Check, left, can land the Hungerford Stakes today. Picture: Getty
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SAFETY Check is expected to thrive in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

A big field has been declared for the Group Two over seven furlongs, but much will depend upon how much rain they get in Berkshire.

This would be a big negative for many, but not so for the Godolphin colt, who did so well on a rain-softened surface at Goodwood a few weeks ago.

Safety Check was having a first start in Britain since having had a whale of a time in Dubai in the winter.

As such, little was expected of him in the Group Two Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs, but he turned in an absolute blinding effort.

Despite being burdened with a penalty, the son of Dubawi went down only by a length to the street-smart Toormore, with runner-up Dutch Connection providing the form with added credence. Charlie Appleby’s inmate was also doing his best work at the finish, giving a firm indication there is much more to come with that run in safe-keeping.

It was also reassuring that connections were quick to point towards the Hungerford as a target in the immediate aftermath of his great run in the Lennox.

Gospel Choir should be supported in the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes.

Last season’s Yorkshire Cup winner has already had a pretty good campaign, winning on his return at Newmarket before finishing a close second behind subsequent Goodwood hero Big Orange in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

But what should set him apart from his rivals at Newbury is the step back up in trip to a mile and three-quarters, allied to the likelihood of slightly more forgiving terrain compared to his last two outings at Headquarters.

Dessertoflife looks well up to the task in the Denford Stud Stakes.

Mark Johnston’s youngster has already shown a capable level of form at Listed level, when second to stablemate Fireglow at Sandown – a run that deserves to be upgraded after she overcame a spot of trouble in-running.

The daughter of Mastercraftsman has a little to find on the ratings with a few of these, but this looks the right race for her at this stage of her career.

Everything went right for Weardiditallgorong at Brighton a week and a half ago and trainer Des Donovan can manipulate his much lower all-weather rating in the This Is The Ladbrokes Life Handicap at Lingfield.

Reliable yardstick Fattsota should be far happier with his lot back at a slightly lower grade in the Betway Handicap at Newmarket, while Top Boy’s time might finally have arrived in the Betfred Membership “Play Your Way” Handicap at Doncaster.

Good old Australia Day bumped into one at Market Rasen a fortnight ago but should not be taken lightly back at the Lincolnshire circuit for the Geoff And Andy Manterfield Handicap Hurdle.