It’s not just the price tag: Glorious Journey bags biggest win in Unibet Hungerford Stakes
Glorious Journey, a horse who never quite lived up to his seven figure price tag, belatedly showed himself to be a leading performer at the specialist seven furlong trip with the biggest victory of his career in Newbury's Group 2 Unibet Hungerford Stakes (August 17).
At 2.6 million guineas Glorious Journey was the joint highest sale-topper at Book 1 of the 2016 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and began his career with an unbeaten two-year-old campaign under Charlie Appleby.
But he had added only one more victory to his record and had been gelded by the time he confirmed his prowess over a shorter trip by seeing off Librisa Breeze by half a length in Newbury’s £100,000 prize under jockey James Doyle.
“We thought quite a bit of him as a two-year-old,” said Doyle. “He obviously has a fantastic pedigree but we just lost him a little bit."
“Dropping back in trip was Charlie’s idea and it’s been the making of him. We have dabbled at six but the seven furlongs is perfect for him. I hit the front too soon after Donjuan Triumphant didn’t take me far enough.
“I was a little nervous late on as to whether he would have the tenacity to hold of Librisa Breeze but it was a sure sign of him growing up. There is lots more to look forward to. He can perform at a fair level but needs a little bit of ease in the ground.”
Back on St Leger day
Manton trained Technician looks set to become the latest three-year-old winner of the Unibet Geoffrey Freer Stakes to tackle the St Leger after wearing down Morando to capture the Group 3 prize.
The grey put a disappointing run at Goodwood behind him to secure a three quarters of a length victory over his three years older rival, after which he was cut to 16-1 from 25-1 by Unibet for the Doncaster Classic.
The very first winner of the Geoffrey Freer Ridge Wood remains the only horse to win the St Leger in the same season while Kite Wood (second in 2009) was the last to finish placed.
Freddie Meade, son of winning trainer Martyn, said: “You have a short amount of time to work these horses out. He’s only had six runs but on a galloping track with a bit of juice in the ground he just keeps giving and giving. Rob Hornby said he was always confident of getting there."
“These sort of trips are going to be his sort of distance. The St Leger has been on our radar for a while and the extra trip and ground the way it could be might make it a logical step.”
Three in a row for Thunderous
Mark Johnston drew level with Barry Hills as the most successful trainer in the Denford Stakes when Thunderous extended his unbeaten record to three to give his handler a fourth success in the Listed prize.
The Middleham trainer had previously struck with Dubai Touch (2006), Cry Of Freedom (2008) and Somewhat (2013) in a race whose roll of honour includes future Group 1 winners Just The Judge (2012) and Belardo (2014).
Thunderous, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and entered in the Champagne Stakes, Royal Lodge Stakes and 2020 Derby, earned a step up to Group company when proving a length too good for Sesame Birah.
Jock Bennett is Mark Johnston's assistant trainer: “If you look at his form there are horses winning from his maiden so he has a good profile. After winning a Listed race like this you can now plan your next attack.”
Watson strikes again
Newbury racecourse ambassador Jason Watson continued his rich vein of form when steering the Roger Charlton-trained Qarasu to an emphatic win in The Energy Check Handicap Stakes, the jockey’s 12th victory in ten days and his tenth at the track this year.
Watson could not quite follow up on Ripp Orf as they went down by a head to the Mick Channon trained and owned Pattie in the Unibet Handicap.
The attendance for the day saw an increase on last year, with just over 22,000 people enjoying the sunny spells. Newbury's next meeting is the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend - 20 & 21 September 2019.
All four photos courtesy of Newbury Racecourse.