Humphrey bids to upset Kings
View from connections ahead of the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Humphrey Bogart is on trial for the St Leger
Richard Hannon's Humphrey Bogart puts his St Leger credentials on the line in the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Hannon trained the last three-year-old to win the Group Three when Census was successful in 2011 and he went on to finish fifth in the Doncaster Classic behind Masked Marvel.
Humphrey Bogart has been busy this season since making his debut at Kempton in April, after which he ran the unbeaten So Mi Dar close at Epsom.
He then won the Lingfield Derby Trial, was fifth in the Derby itself and was beaten just over three lengths in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot.
Humphrey Bogart then finished ninth in the Belmont Derby but was only beaten two and a half lengths by Deauville.
"This is is trial for the St Leger, I suppose," said James Ramsden, of owners Chelsea Thoroughbreds.
"He was a bit unlucky in America. The winner was drawn wide and I suppose that makes you come up with a plan and they were up with the pace all the way.
"We'd done a lot of work out there on getting him to jump quickly. In practice, he had been, but come the race he did what he did in the Lingfield Derby Trial and the Derby itself and was slowly away.
"There were two lengths between second and 10th and he came ninth so you could say he was a little unlucky.
"We were going to stay out there for a few targets but for one reason or another he came back.
"He's in the St Leger and after spending rather a lot on entry fees this season, this is his chance to prove he deserves his place in the field.
"Kings Fete looks like being one of those Sir Michael Stoute types who ends up globetrotting going for all sorts of races but we get plenty of weight from him.
"We're convinced he'll stay but he owes us nothing.
"He's had a busy season but has had a month off since America so has had time to freshen up.
"We think Newbury and Doncaster should really suit him – galloping tracks with long straights – as he does take a bit of winding up.
"He's never let us down and didn't disgrace himself in America. He's easy to train and he's on his toes a lot so doesn't need much work."
Another horse with possible Classic aspirations is the Andrew Balding-trained Ormito, second to Ventura Storm in the Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton last time out.
Balding said: "His form of his last race has worked out really well with Richard Hannon's horse Ventura Storm winning at Deauville.
"He is a horse that we've always likes and the step back up in trip should help.
"It looks a competitive race but hopefully he should run well.
"He is entered in the St Leger but he would need to step up to be competitive in that."
Battersea won on his seasonal return and he was not disgraced behind Big Orange in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket last time out.
The Newmarket handler told www.rogervarian.com: "I have been very pleased with Battersea.
"His work has been good and he looks to be in great condition.
"The trip and fast ground should be ideal and we hope he can be very competitive."
The Stoute-trained Kings Fete was a relatively easy winner at Goodwood and now looks like delivering on the promise of his younger days after having made a complete recovery from injury.
David Simcock's Red Cardinal, who is on a four-timer, is the only other runner but faces a marked step up in class.