Jumby up for Hungerford defence at Newbury

Defending champion Jumby is one of 13 confirmed for the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Eve Johnson Houghton’s five-year-old ran on strongly to down Dubai Poet in the Group Two contest 12 months ago and will return to the Berkshire track in good order following some pleasing efforts of late.

Although a tilt at Group One level for the Lockinge Stakes was ultimately a step too far, he returned to winning ways in the John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock before again hitting the frame when second to Audience in the Criterion Stakes.

“He’s in great form, he just wants firm ground which seems to be missing at the moment,” said Johnson Houghton.

“Hopefully there is no more rain forecast so the ground should quicken up a bit. The faster the ground, the better he goes.”

A strong-cast could be in opposition and William Haggas’ 2021 winner Sacred could provide the sternest test having last been seen rattling the crossbar in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Witch Hunter also got on the scoresheet at the Royal meeting and is one of three in the mix for Richard Hannon who could also saddle Lockinge second Chindit and recent Goodwood scorer Magical Sunset

Roger Varian could be doubly represented by both New Endeavour and Olivia Maralda, while John and Thady Gosden’s Mostabshir is another notable name among those still in contention to make the final line-up.

In the supporting BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes, beaten Derby favourite Arrest is the star name in the 11 entries, with William Haggas’ Klondike also catching the eye.

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