Rock solid in the Hungerford
Breton Rock just got the better of the warm favourite Gregorian to take the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury for trainer David Simcock and jockey Martin Lane. Greogorian had been backed as if defeat was out of the question beforehand but the 13/8 favourite would have to settle for second best as 3/1 chance Breton Rock got his head in front when it mattered in a thrilling finish.
Simcock’s charge, beaten by just a head in the Jury Stakes at Haydock last time was returning from a 77 day break and looked as fresh as a daisy on his ideal ground. The 4yo has a very taking way of going about things, sticking his head down and trying with all his might and that was evident again today as when he became embroiled in a do or die battle with Gregorian, he showed that he was the one that wanted it more.
Gregorian, in fairness, had also battled hard but it just seemed as if John Gosden’s charge felt the affects of a tough race in France just six days ago in the closing stages. Outsider of the field Brazos ran a big race to finish third for Clive Brittain and Andrea Atzeni.
After getting up by just a short head, winning jockey Lane was unsure of the result in the immediate aftermath: “I was very unsure. Myself and Will looked at each other but it was too close to call.
“The one thing he has is real heart – he really, really tries. He has been progressive in the last few years and he has been a very good horse to me. He really tries and that is his main attribute.
“The softer the better for him and he has that real nice action. He is a really game horse and in a battle, you would back him all day long.”
Simcock added: “I was a little concerned. He has come back from a break. The plan was always to give him June and July off but I shouldn’t have been worried as he has won first time for the last two years.
“He probably deserves that after the race at Haydock. We thought he should have won at Haydock. He got his conditions today, which is important to him and he always battles hard.
“He is better since we gelded him. He was always a little colty and used to get upset in the stalls. He has been very good since then but we wouldn’t chance him on anything better than the soft side of good.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
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