We’re set for a fantastic day of Flat Racing at Newbury on Saturday, featuring the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at 15:40. The action is competitive from start to finish, with what’s sure to be an informative two-year-old contest before a very exciting looking Listed Fillies Trial Stakes. You’d usually find me writing about Newton Abbot this time of year, but Flat Racing has really got me hooked this Spring – thus meaning my first Flat Racing article! I’m heading up to the Berkshire track and will provide live tweets from the racecourse over @JakePriceTips. Good luck with your selections!
13:50 – Carnarvon Stakes (Listed Race) 3yo – 6f
We start off Lockinge Day with the Listed Carnarvon Stakes, ran over six-furlongs on the straight course. The stars look to have aligned here for Khaadem, who is a full-brother to Log Out Island – whom won this race in 2016 under today’s jockey James Doyle (Although later disqualified…). Conditions for this sprint look perfect for our Son of Dark Angel; with good ground and no penalties to carry. Third to Calyx last season on debut, this Charles Hills charge showed his class when comfortably winning a Newmarket Novice event by three-and-three-quarter lengths in August – showing a great turn of foot when asked for an effort by Dane O’Neill. Khaadem was next seen at Doncaster in September when contesting a Class 2 Conditions Stakes race, where again he showed good pace to power away from his rivals, this time winning by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Hamdan Al Maktoum seemingly has another smart sprinter on his hands here, and his three-year-old comes into this race as the second highest rated in the field – earning himself a mark of 105 for last season’s exploits. Charles Hills features in the top five Trainers at Newbury (on the Flat) over the last five seasons, and James Doyle is second on the Jockeys list for the same period. On Jockey’s caps our selection might be second string for the owners, however I am confident this horse can follow in the footsteps of his older brother. Connections have been talking this horse up, and he holds a Commonwealth Cup entry for Royal Ascot.
From an each/way prospective, one horse who appeals to me here is Space Traveller. Winner of a Novice event in July 2018 at Doncaster before bolting up by three-and-a-half lengths at Hamilton in a similar contest just 13 days later, this Richard Fahey charge put in his best performance of the season when finishing second to Sporting Chance in the Group 3 Prix Eclipse at Maisons-Laffitte in September. Two below-par efforts followed however with the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket a stretch too far, before looking laboured at York when perhaps the long season took its toll. This Clipper Logistics Colt returned to the track last month on Nell Gwyn Day at Newmarket, contesting the Listed Free Handicap. Sent off 10/1 under Daniel Tudhope, Space Traveller went through the race well but couldn’t go on with ready winner Shine So Bright (now rated 111). Despite going down one-and-three-quarter lengths, connections will have been very pleased with his return as he stuck to his task well, finishing three-and-a-half lengths ahead of the favourite Azano back in third. With this good run under his belt, I feel Space Traveller could be a decent each/way play here.
Away from this pair, favourite Moyassar is obviously a good horse having won a Class 2 Handicap at Newmarket twelve days ago. He did however hang right that day, and a quirk like that won’t do him any favours on a track like Newbury. Konchek is interesting having finished second in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket last year, however he hasn’t been able to back up that form since – although he did stay on well to take third place behind Calyx in the Group 3 Commonwealth Cup Trial at Ascot on seasonal reappearance fifteen days ago. Red Impression has never raced on turf so wouldn’t be on my mind here against more experienced types.
Khaadem @ 9/2 1st
Space Traveller Each/Way @ 10/1 3rd
14:25 – Al Rayyan Stakes (Group 3) 4yo+ – 1m4f
I’m not going to bother wasting anyone’s time here talking about the runners of this 1m4f Al Rayyan Stakes. As a rating of 125 would suggest, Crystal Ocean is much the best horse in this race. After making a winning return to the track at Sandown last month in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes, this classy Sir Michael Stoute charge will take some beating in a race he won 12 months ago.
Crystal Ocean (No Bet) 1st
15:00 – London Gold Cup Handicap (Class 2) 3yo – 1m2f
The London Gold Cup is an intriguing Handicap for three-year-olds, which normally works out as strong form going forward for the rest of the season. Last year’s renewal was won by Communique from a mark of 84 – with that Horse finishing the season rated 109 (now 114). A horse who looks interesting to me here is Good Birthday, running in the colours of King Power Racing. Seventh on debut when very much learning his trade, this Andrew Balding charge ran much better on his second start at Windsor last Autumn. Once again running green, Good Birthday came from a long way back under David Probert to only finish a head second to Surrey Thunder – a horse who is now rated 104.
Our selection was next seen running in a Novice Stakes here at Newbury in October, keeping on well under pressure to ensure he scored by a neck in an extremely close three-way finish. He showed a good attitude to win that day, despite looking like he needed a step-up in trip – but it is always useful when a horse has course form to his name. The best performance to date from this Son of Dabirsim came at Doncaster in March, where he returned to the track in a Class 3 Handicap. Stepped up to one-mile-two-furlongs for the first time under Silvestre De Sousa, Good Birthday came right from the back of the field entering the home-straight to pass all his rivals on the outside. This certainly isn’t the ideal route at Doncaster, however he made light work of going on to score by one-and-three-quarter lengths. Considering he won that race from a mark of 82 in impressive fashion, an 8lbs rise is unlikely to mean this horse has reached his ceiling – especially as that was his first attempt at this trip. Andrew Balding features in the top five trainers at Newbury in the past five seasons, and I am confident this three-year-old has more improvement in him yet. Silvestre De Sousa retains the ride, from a nice racing weight of 9-2.
Of the remainder, War Tiger is interesting from an each/way perspective having finished half-a-length second to the market leader here in Solid Stone. This Richard Fahey charge is 1lbs better off for that previous encounter, and at 12/1 the price discrepancy is too big. This well-bred horse is a half-brother to Diamondsandrubies, whom won the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh over this trip in 2015. Already twice a winner on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton, Tony Hamilton should get a good spin on this unexposed type if continuing his progression on turf. Forest Of Dean is well represented by John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, and he is another who is open to improvement having beaten Ritchie Valens by three-and-half lengths at Doncaster last month.
Good Birthday Each/Way @ 9/1 3rd
15:40 – Lockinge Stakes (Group 1) 4yo+ – 1m
Today’s feature race is of course the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, ran over a mile. Won in the past by the likes of Frankel and Ribchester, one set of connections have increasingly stamped their authority in recent times; Godolphin. Winners of this race in four of the last six renewals, this year they are solely represented by Charlie Appleby’s Mythical Magic. This four-year-old is extremely lightly raced, only running twice last season – finishing second in two Listed French events. Given a break of 111 days, Mythical Magic returned to the track at Meydan in January when running on well in the final furlong to finish second behind stablemate D’bai in a Group 2. That run came over 7f, and he shaped as if a step-up to a mile would really suit. This theory became reality a month later, as Mythical Magic landed the Group 2 Zabeel Mile in impressive fashion, easily seeing off Century Dream (116) by three-lengths. Whilst that rival might not be a world beater, the manner of victory clearly gives him a chance here in an open looking renewal of the Lockinge. Given a break of 86 days since that run in Dubai, this Gelding looks a very interesting and unexposed contender under top Jockey James Doyle.
My second selection for the race will be Le Brivido, especially when you consider that the favourite has won this race in five of the last six renewals. Another unexposed type, this five-year-old joined Aidan O’Brien over the Winter having previously been with Andre Fabre in France. It was with that trainer that Le Brivido enjoyed a successful three-year-old campaign, finishing second in the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas over a mile at Deauville before winning the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. This Horse only had one run last season, contesting the Group 3 Albernant Stakes at Newmarket. He pulled hard that day and made no impression to finish three-lengths back in sixth place. Six furlongs is probably on the short side now for this Son of Siyouni, who finally made his comeback in the Group 3 Gladness Stakes at Naas last month. Le Brivido clearly needed the run that day, getting slowly away from the stalls before staying on strongly in the final 100 yards to finish third. Considering one of his best performances to date came over a mile, a return to that trip here should see him at his best. Aidan O’Brien’s horses notoriously come on a bundle from their first run of the season, and Le Brivido looks to have a fantastic chance here under Ryan Moore. This horse really does have the potential to take the mile division by storm, and holds a Queen Anne entry for Royal Ascot.
Sharja Bridge and Beat The Bank are closely matched on form, with only half-a-length between the pair at Sandown last month. Laurens is a fascinating runner having already won five Group 1s, but she needs to prove she can be as effective against the boys here – something which she didn’t do in the QEII Stakes at Ascot in October. Lord Glitters is a consistent performer, and returns to the UK here having ran a stormer when third to Almond Eye in Meydan – finishing ahead of Without Parole that day. I Can Fly beat many of these when second at Ascot in October, but was way behind the two aforementioned in the Group 1 Dubai Turf.
Le Brivido @ 4/1 5th
Mythical Magic Each/Way @ 16/1 12th
16:15 – Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes (Class 2) 2yo – 6f
Whilst it is extremely hard to gauge how these two-year-olds stack up at such an early stage in their careers, I’m going to take a chance on the smartly bred Well Of Wisdom for the Godolphin team. A winner on debut at Newmarket last month, this Juvenile stuck to his task to lead near the finish that day and will definitely appreciate the step-up from five-furlongs to six. He beat fellow Godolphin owned Electrical Storm on the Rowley Mile, and that rival has since ran with credit when finishing behind the very exciting Threat earlier this month. In fact, the fourth behind Well Of Wisdom on debut has won since, with Strong Power scoring at Lingfield to boost the form somewhat. This Charlie Appleby charge is a half-brother to the smart Saint Baudolino, who recorded a rating of 115 for the same ownership having won a Group 2 at Deauville in 2012. Charlie Appleby’s stable could hardly be in better form at the moment, operating at a 36% strike rate in the last two weeks, and this previous winner can claim a second victory in succession here despite a competitive field.
Away from my selection, Joker On Jack is obviously a very interesting runner here for Wesley Ward. This Declaration Of War Colt won a four-and-a-half furlong Maiden on the Dirt at Keeneland last month, and comes over from America to contest this conditions race. Whilst he clearly could be anything having easily won by two-and-a-half lengths, there are likely bigger targets down the line being eyed up by the trainer responsible for Lady Aurelia et all. Firepower beat Dark Optimist at Salisbury last month, whilst Temple Of Heaven won a seemingly modest Novice event at Nottingham. Fort Myers is another interesting runner, hailing from the Aidan O’Brien yard having won a Maiden event on the all-weather at Dundalk last month. United Front is another making the trip over the Irish sea for that stable, but the market will be your best guide on expectations.
Well Of Wisdom @ 5/2 3rd
16:50 – Fillies’ Trial Stakes (Listed Race) 3yo – 1m2f
One of the most competitive races of the day comes in the form of this three-year-old Listed Fillies’ Trial Stakes, ran over 1m2f. Nine fascinating prospects head to post, including last month’s impressive Newmarket Fillies’ Maiden winner Lavender’s Blue. Despite making her debut that day, this Filly showed a very professional attitude, breaking well from the gates to take up a position tracking the leaders. She travelled brilliantly through the race, with Jockey Robert Havlin affording a quick look around before the two-furlong pole to find the rest of the field off the bridle. Being sent on to win her race shortly after, Lavender’s Blue came between the two leaders and quickened away well, only doing her best work in the final furlong as she scored by two-and-a-half lengths. The second that day was the well backed favourite Maamora, who gave some substance to the form at Chelmsford earlier this month when finishing a short-head second to Duckett’s Grove. With any amount of improvement in hand for the extra two-furlongs she will encounter at Newbury, trainer Amanda Perrett must be hopeful that this Epsom Oaks entry can go close. Top Jockey Jim Crowley has been booked to ride, and he features third on the list of top Jockey’s at this track in the past five seasons.
Another impressive Maiden winner last month was Star Catcher, who recorded a course and distance victory by four-and-a-half lengths. Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori in the famous Cracksman colours, this Filly stayed on strongly from the front to go clear of her rivals in the final furlong. The ground was Soft that day however – completely different to that we will get on Saturday. Although she did win the contest well, it is also worth noting that every single horse which has come out of that race since has been well beaten. Sea Of Faith represents last year’s winning connections (Sea Of Class), and she does have a similar profile in that this Filly comes into the race as a Maiden. Her fourth behind Sparkle Roll at Sandown last month looked like a great starting point shortly after the race, however the form has been let down since with the second King Power only third at Lingfield’s Oaks Trial, and the winner seventh in the Musidora at York on Wednesday. William Haggas will need to work his magic on this Filly to find the necessary improvement to be winning such a strong looking contest. Lastochka and Kimblewick have both won all-weather events at Kempton, whilst Queen Power ran with credit to finish a short-head second on Royal Ascot Trials Day. Star Terms is the highest rated of these having already had eight runs under rules – but she is yet to race beyond a mile.
Lavender’s Blue Each/Way @ 6/1 2nd
17:25 – Toronado Handicap (Class 2) 4yo+ – 1m
We finish a fantastic day of racing with a classic mile Handicap, where Clive Cox looks to have an outstanding chance of landing the spoils. Salute The Solider racked up a couple of wins on the all-weather at the back-end of last year, readily scoring in Handicaps from 79 and 85 by two-and-three-quarter lengths on each occasion. He found one slightly too strong in a Class 2 Handicap in December, before making a winning return to the track at Wolverhampton in March – where he was demoted to second due to interference. His best performance to date however came in a Class 2 Handicap at Bath on Easter Friday, where our selection was denied on the nod by Petrus. The pair obviously re-oppose here, however this time Salute The Soldier is 1lb better off at the weights. With such a narrow margin between the pair at Bath, the weight swing here should be enough to see this four-year-old reverse form with the Spring Mile winner. Top Jockey James Doyle takes over from regular rider Adam Kirby, which should increase our chances even more considering he is the second winning-most rider at Newbury over the last five seasons.
Away from the aforementioned pair, top weight Robin Of Navan is a bit of a cliff horse for many, having won at Group 3 level in France previously. This six-year-old ran well in the Listed Paradise Stakes at Ascot on the 1st May when finishing third, so a mark of 105 down from a highest rating of 114 could mean he is well handicapped. This will be a tough assignment from 9-7 however. Wahash finished third behind Petrus and Salute The Soldier at Bath, but he has ran poorly since on Soft ground at Haydock – which likely will have taken a bit out of him. Breden finished third in Doncaster’s Lincoln Handicap at the beginning of the season but has been on the go since a 52-day break in November – running seven times since then. Thrave finished ahead of Breden at Newmarket last month and is still unexposed having only ran five times in his career – including when fourth in the Listed Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield 12 months ago. From a mark of 91, he would be my each/way suggestion after an encouraging drop back to a mile last time.
Salute The Soldier @ 9/2 13th
Good luck! – Jake Price
All prices correct at the time of writing.