Saturday 21 April 2018

Lyons duo set for Hungerford raid

Ger Lyons
Ger Lyons

Ger Lyons is responsible for two of the Irish-trained possibles in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.with Ainippe and Convergence standing their ground.

The progressive three-year-old filly Ainippe is on a hat-trick having notched up Group Three successes in the Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh and the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse on her last two starts.

Convergence is also a winner at that level thanks to his Ballycorus Stakes triumph at Leopardstown in June.

The three-year-old's only defeat in three outings this term came in the Irish 2,000 Guineas when he was seventh to Gleneagles.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained War Envoy completes the Irish party. Since being beaten a length by Convergence at Dundalk in April, the War Front colt struggled in both the French 2000 Guineas and Prix du Jockey Club.

Dropped in class at Royal Ascot, War Envoy lifted the Britannia Handicap but was only fourth to Sovereign Debt when meeting his elders in the Celebration Stakes at the Curragh in late June.

Hugo Palmer is happy to put Home Of The Brave back into battle after his emphatic success at the Curragh.

The Newmarket handler reports his classy three-year-old to have taken his victory over proven Group One campaigner Gordon Lord Byron in the Minstrel Stakes in his stride.

All roads now lead to the Group Two over seven furlongs at the Berkshire track after 24 horses were left in at the confirmation stage.

"The intention is to run Home Of The Brave in the Hungerford Stakes. He has taken his trip to Ireland remarkably well," said Palmer.

"He is a horse who needs a little bit of time between his races and the one day under four weeks between Ireland and Newbury is perfect for him.

"He is a very clear-winded horse who does not need a vast amount of work in between runs and I am as happy with him now as I was 10 days before Ireland."

One-time Classic hope Richard Pankhurst could return to action following an absence of 420 days.

The son of Raven's Pass looked a colt full of potential when winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June 2014 and was subsequently bought by Godolphin but has not run since.

After missing the Qipco 2000 Guineas and this summer's Royal meeting, connections of the John Gosden-trained three-year-old now have their eyes on a campaign for the second half of the season.

Godolphin also could run Safety Check and Toormore, who is generally favourite with bookmakers at around 7-2. His trainer Richard Hannon could also look to Coulsty, Emell, Estidhkaar and Tupi.

Breton Rock is on course to try to repeat last year's victory for trainer David Simcock.

"He's a good horse when he gets his conditions. He's very beatable on ground good or faster. On soft ground he takes a bit of beating," Simcock told At The Races.

The Rod Collet-trained Majestic Mount may fly the flag for France.

The five-year-old captured a Listed race at Deauville in December and was last seen out when fourth in the Group Three Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs at Longchamp last month.

Collet is no stranger to big race success in Britain, having sent out Sahpresa to a hat-trick of wins in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, but will not make up his mind for a couple of days.

"There is a 95% chance Majestic Mount will run at Newbury, although I am not going to make a final decision until Wednesday.

"The two options for him in France around this time are the Maurice de Gheest and Jacques le Marois, which both would have been too tough in my opinion.

"The Newbury race looks a better option for him. It is still a Group Two but Majestic Mount is a nice horse and always gives his all.

"The British style of racing should suit him better and I am told Newbury is a real nice track. It will be my first runner there so it will be a good experience for me as well."

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