Preview of Newbury ahead of Hackwood Stakes

Our man takes a first look at one of Saturday’s star races at Newbury.

Anyone lucky enough to have read the “sprinters to follow” feature on these pages a little less than a fortnight ago will already be fully aware of its merits, thanks to the subsequent victories of Raasel in the Coral Charge at Sandown and Royal Aclaim in the City Walls at York.

Considering there were only three unexposed sprinters mentioned in said article, Sense Of Duty’s win this Saturday bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury will bring a rather impressive hat-trick for his esteemed colleague Andrew Asquith.

Victory is also widely expected, given it’s no bigger than 5/2 with the handful of companies that have already priced the six-stage Group Three contest, but a slight note of caution should be issued at this stage as we cannot be 100% sure that it will show up on the same day.

The race appears to be on schedule, 21 days after his truly impressive Chipchase victory at Newcastle, although Haggas was recorded after Gosforth Park suggesting his next initial stop – the Summer Stakes at York – was likely off the agenda.” now it has won a Group 3”.

Something en route to the Betfair Sprint Cup (she beat Flotus at Haydock on her penultimate outing) makes a lot of sense and it might be the Hackwood although it’s another group three ( Tom Marquand is jocked), but she has now been given a Group Two option over seven furlongs at the Ebor Festival as well, so there is that caveat again.

Gotta have a dart elsewhere as the bets will be very different if the antepost favorite isn’t involved after Thursday’s statements, and I’m drawn to last year’s winner HAPPY ROMANCE for the Hannon team which traditionally does exceptionally well at its local site on Super Sprint day.

The first thing to consider is that she obviously competed in the July Cup at Newmarket last Saturday and to compete again seven days later – let alone win – might be asking too much, at least under normal circumstances .

However, looking at the profile of this particular filly I would say that a return to Hackwood may have been the main target from the start and if so she looks to be coming back to a boil beautifully after some very creditable runs in Compagnie Group One at Royal Ascot and July Festival.

And here’s what the crux looks like: happy romanceThe record from when backing up within a fortnight of a previous race reads remarkably well producing form figures of 15111 so rather than being negative she ran last Saturday the opposite would appear to be true in this case.

This ability to handle – and improve for – a busy schedule dates back to her youthful days when she first raced the Newmarket track on June 4, 2020, winning her maiden nine days later and then running a handsome fifth behind Campanelle in the Queen Mary at the royal meeting just seven days after that.

It’s clearly something that Relations have looked to use to their advantage over the years and having won two of his three career starts at Newbury, this event clearly suits him.

She doesn’t have the three-year-old allowance this time around, of course, but she also doesn’t have a penalty for group race winners (Sense Of Duty gets an extra 3 lbs for stalling the Chipchase) and the dip in the class will certainly help given that Happy Romance was also very competitive in the premier sprints in the Middle East at the start of the year.

Group two second behind A Case Of You, with Man Of Promise and platinum jubilee winner Naval Crown right behind, reads particularly well, although it also ran a belter in Riyadh (Naval Crown again late, with Pogo, Happy Power and Rohaan who could oppose it this Saturday).

Last weekend she rode a very solid run from what turned out to be arguably the worst of the July Cup draw (stall one) (replay below), eventually splitting the Commonwealth Cup one-two Perfect Power and Flaming Rib in eighth.

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It was 25/1 that day and although it’s barely missed on the market as a 7/1 hit here, the price seems more than fair given that the 17 five-day entries could quite quickly become seven or eight.

The Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes itself is not an attractive outpost race and I will sit for the last field and the draw when there is no real desire to get stuck in the Neither does Unibet Summer Plate Handicap Chase or Unibet 15 To Go Summer Handicap Hurdle from Market Rasen.

Posted 4:55 PM BST on 7/11/22

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