The Lockinge Stakes (Saturday 20 May, 15:30 Newbury) was first run in 1958, but was limited to horses aged four and older, and granted Group-1 status, in 1995. A very prestigious race in its own right, it also forms part of the Qipco Champions Series for milers, which culminates with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. It is also seen as a stepping-stone to Royal Ascot, with 12 winners also going on to win the Queen Anne Stakes.
8 of the last 10 winners have been 4-year-olds
Only 3 of the last 10 winners had won last time out
Only 4 of the last 10 winners had a prep race
SPs ranged from 2/7 to 8/1
Frankie Dettori has ridden 2 of the last 9 winners
Godolphin have owned 4 of the last 9 winners
Progressed very quickly at the end of last season, winning a handicap, a Listed Race and a Group-2. That improvement coincided with a step-up in trip to 7 and 8 furlongs, and he could easily find further improvement this season.
Solid Group-2 and Group-3 performer who has so far proven best at 7-furlongs. Likely to come up short in this company, unless he suddenly finds extra-improvement and stamina at the age of 7.
Another 7-furlong specialist, but this one is usually at his best on fast ground.
The 2016 2,000 Guineas winner beat Ribchester 3½-lengths in last season’s first classic, and by a neck in the Sussex Stakes, but was beaten twice by that rival later in the season. Shouldn’t be far away, and handles the ground.
Third-best horse in the field on official ratings, and can run off level-weights this season with the likes of Ribchester and Galileo Gold, having had to concede them both 3lb when dividing them in last season’s QEII.
Course winner, but was well-beaten by the three principles in last season’s QEII. Plenty to find.
Continued to improve throughout last season, and his second to Minding in the QEII is the best piece of form on offer. Had 8 weeks to get over a trip to Meydan, and should like the straight mile here at Newbury on soft ground.
Best form all came at 6-furlongs for former trainer Mick Halford, but new trainer Richard Fahey has run him twice at a mile so far. Unlikely winner, but could be in here as a pacemaker for Ribchester.
Form has taken a giant step forward this season, be it over a slightly longer distance than todays. In form and fit, and could give the boys something to think about if they’re not fully wound-up.
On ratings, this should be between Ribchester, Galileo Gold and Lightning Spear though, with none of their trainers absolutely flying at the moment, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if either the improving Acclaim or Somehow pushed them close. However, Ribchester was the horse that was on an upward curve at the end of last season and he looks the most likely winner.
Tip : Ribchester @ 13/8 Bet365, SkyBet, WilliamHill