HUKUM 2.20 Newbury at evens
BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3) 1m5f61y
Trainer Form: 2-5 for 40 % (10) National average: 19% (10) Course Strike Rate: 7% (7) OR & RPR: 114 & 123 (10) Optimum Ground: Good/Soft (10) Distance: 1m4f+ (10) Jockey: Jim Crowley (10) National Average: 19% (10) Course Strike Rate: 14% (9) Trainer & Jockey Combo: 23% (10) Total: (96) Danger: Golden Pass Alt: Red Verdon
The Racing Horse was surprised Owen Burrows strike rate was only 7% at Newbury and Jim Crowley 14%. Compared to their national averages the figures would normally be considered a negative but we have set the numbers aside. Hukum however, has ran twice at the course and was third on his racecourse debut before winning this race last year, so a course and distance winner!
In great form - Owen Burrows
Owen Burrows is expecting Hukum to retain his Geoffrey Freer Stakes crown tomorrow at Newbury. The 4yo successfully stepped up to Group 3 level in this race last year and now returns in great form. This season he won the Tapster Stakes at Goodwood and the Silver Cup at York with another good run behind Wonderful Tonight at Royal Ascot (Hardwicke, beaten only 3l) in between. He does have to concede weight to his rivals but Burrows is expecting a bold showing, he told us: "His run in the Hardwicke was probably the best run of his life with two Group 1 winners in front of him. He obviously won well at York, and we've waited for this race and, touch wood, he is in great form!"
We’ve been very pleased with him since he won at York. The ground and track suit, but the 3lb penalty makes things a bit harder. There are no excuses. He’s in top shape - Owen Burrows
Burrows has finally had a clear run after a troubled beginning to Hukum's career and the staying star has proved his ability to handle tougher opposition, albeit without notching further successes at higher levels. He should be good enough to win this sub-par heat – that theory is backed up by an official rating of 114, 8lb higher than any of his rivals, and back-to-back RPRs of 117. Of the trends he is the only horse that meets ALL of the criteria:
12/12: Previous winner that season (100%)
12/12: At least 2 previous flat win (100%)
11/12: Rated 103 or higher (92%)
17/19: Won over 1m4f or further before (89%)
10/12: Ran within the last 37 days (83%)
15/19: Aged 3-5yo (79%)
14/19: Finished 1 or 2 last time out (74%)
14/19: Shorter than 4/1 (74%)
12/19: Rated 110 or higher (63%)
10/19: Winning favourites (53%)
4yo+ winning favourites in non-handicaps at Newbury last 5 years: 20-38 for 53% (+16.84)
The biggest threat to Hukum is Hugo Palmer's progressive filly Golden Pass. Should the Pacafi disappoint, Golden Pass could be the filly to take advantage. Stepping up to 1m5½f could bring about extra improvement – she was at her best when she met with rising ground at Newmarket last time over 1m4f. No filly or mare has won this race since Phantom Gold's 1996 triumph for Lord Huntingdon.
Hugo Palmer said: "We really wanted to run at Goodwood, but the soft ground went against her. This is the right spot for her, and the drying ground will help. She’s in top order. She’s a very consistent and tough filly, and I think she’ll stay."
Hard to see any of the others winning but Red Verdon, who is in the twilight stages of his career might take third place with the brilliant Hollie Doyle to help.
HUKUM continues to go from strength to strength and can defy a penalty for his York success and win this Group 3 for the second year running. Recovery Run didn't get much luck at Goodwood and could go well back up in grade if he stays. Golden Pass and Rodrigo Diaz could also be in the money.
The even money looks to be north of perceived value, we had hoped for a little of 5/4 but that probably looked optimistic given the conditions of this race.
Hukum traded at a high of 4.20 and BSP of 3.95 when winning last time, a race in which it raced in mid-field and travelled strongly early on.
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