Richard Hannon expecting bold Hungerford show from Yafta

Three-year-old switches up to seven furlongs in Newbury feature

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Richard Hannon feels Yafta is ready for the next step in his career when he tackles Group Two company in the Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The progressive three-year-old colt successfully stepped out of handicap grade when winning the Group Three Hackwood Stakes over six furlongs on this track.

Hannon is happy to see the son of Dark Angel go back up in distance.

“I think seven furlongs is his trip. He is in great form and if the ground becomes softer, it should suit him,” said the Herridge trainer.

“He has never run a bad race in his life and when he got chinned in a couple of handicaps, I was gutted. It was a fantastic performance to win his Group Three and I’ve always felt he would be better at seven furlongs.”

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, is also expecting further improvement over this distance.

“He is a very progressive horse, who has a lovely attitude to racing,” he said.

“We have decided to go for the Hungerford as the race fits nicely into the calendar, but we also think there is more to come from him over seven furlongs.

“Yafta was very tough in the Hackwood Stakes. I was slightly surprised he had the speed to win over six furlongs and the step back up to seven furlongs will suit him ideally on Saturday.

“We are looking forward to the race and hopefully he runs well.”

Librisa Breeze was runner-up in this race 12 months ago and ran his best race of 2018 so far when fourth in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville two weeks ago.

The six-year-old is showing trainer Dean Ivory he is coming back to his best.

“Hopefully we’ll get the ground and he comes into himself at this time of year,” said the Radlett handler.

“He ran well enough abroad last time. This race might come a bit quick, I don’t know, and we won’t know until we run him.

“We’ve got the ground so we’ve got to have a crack at it and give it a go.

“He got a bit boxed-in when second here last year and the ground wasn’t perfect. We’d be hoping for a better run this year.”

Dan’s Dream returns to the scene of her personal best to date when she took the Fred Darling Stakes in April.

Trainer Mick Channon reports the filly to be in tip-top shape.

“Dan’s Dream is in great form,” said the West Ilsley handler.

“I thought she was very unlucky in the Group Three at Goodwood last time. She looked to be coming with a good run before getting hampered.

“We have had a nice drop of rain this morning and that will help. I am very sweet on her.”

The other three-year-old in the line-up is Aidan O’Brien’s Gustav Klimt, who was fourth to Lightning Spear in the Sussex Stakes last time on his fifth successive appearance at the top level.

David Elsworth’s Sir Dancealot took the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood and renews rivalry with Breton Rock, who was only a neck behind in third place.

The latter, trained by David Simcock, won this race in 2014 and has also finished third and fourth.

Roger Varian’s Tomyris fell short in the Group One Prix Rothschild at Deauville last time while Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams, who was third to Yafta in the Hackwood, makes up the field.

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