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Hey Gaman hoping it is a case of third time lucky in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury

Newmarket trainer James Tate is hoping that soft ground could hold the key to Hey Gaman breaking his Group 2 duck on Saturday.

The four-year-old has gone off as favourite in both of his outings at that level so far in 2019, but on both occasions at The Curragh and Goodwood he finished runner-up.

However, ahead of the Unibet Hungerford Stakes at Newbury this weekend, Tate believes the forecast rain could work to the son of New Approach’s favour.

James Tate with Hey Gaman
James Tate with Hey Gaman

“He is a Group 3 winner, was second in the French Guineas last year and has been runner-up a couple of times recently, so it would be lovely if he could go one better on Saturday,” said Hamilton Road-based Tate.

“It looks a competitive race on paper but there seems as though there will be a lot of rain around, and some of the horses might not like that.

“Hey Gaman goes on any ground. Last year we thought he needed soft ground and it has surprised how well he has done without this year.

“Space Blues (Charlie Appleby) recently ran in Deauville and it will be interesting to see how he deals with soft ground and I think David Elsworth has said before that Sir Dancealot would not be keen.

“But it holds no fear for us. He is a real stable favourite and rarely throws in a bad run.”

Victory for Hey Gaman would continue a year to remember for Tate, who with 50 winners from 196 runners at the time the Journal went to print, is operating with a strike rate of 26 per cent.

“It has been our best year so far,” added the Jamesfield Place trainer. “We have had some great wins, a great strike rate and are well on target for breaking our record of most winners.

“We have had all different types of winners as well and that is the most pleasing thing.

“You always want to keep things ticking over though so it would be nice to add to that with Hey Gaman on Saturday ­– he really deserves a win at that level.”