The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes sees a field of nine go to post for the Group One contest at Newbury on Saturday afternoon.
Horses that have run in the previous season’s Prix du Moulin, QEII Stakes, St James Palace, Greenham Stakes and Prince Of Wales Stakes are certainly the ones to watch as they either win or place in this contest.
Here are some trends and statistics to bear in mind over the past ten years followed by a runner-by-runner summary of all the participants.
As you can see the last ten winners have been aged either four or five. This year that trend would rule out two of the nine runners, those being Lightning Spear & Breton Rock.
Fillies & Mares
Only three females have won since 2004. Somehow is the only filly in the field this year.
Six of the last ten winners had won at Newbury before. This is a positive sign for anyone wanting to back: Aclaim, Breton Rock & Mitchum Swagger.
The last ten winners were all officially rated 113 or high. This is not a good trend for anyone planning to follow: Breton Rock, Mitchum Swagger & Toscanini.
Six out of the last ten winners were having their first run of the season. First timers in this race are: Aclaim, Breton Rock, Dutch Connection, Galileo Gold & Lightning Spear.
Charles Hills has run three previous runners in this race and all of them have finished unplaced.
Aidan O’Brien won this race in 2003 with Hawk Wing but has only gained two places in the last ten years.
The starting price trends have been absolutely on the button over the last ten years. The winner has always been 9/1 or less and has come from the first four in the betting. The most likely top four in Saturday’s betting are: Ribchester, Galileo Gold, Somehow & Lightning Spear.
Six outright favourites have won from the last ten renewals.
Aclaim (Martin Meade/Jamie Spencer)
Aclaim will be making his first start since winning the Group Two Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket in October.
“If you look at his last race there was no stopping him. This was a horse who was improving and on the up. It was no fluke and I think there’s more to come. There’s no reason why he can’t keep progressing. Once we took him down and got his confidence going and allowed him time to mature he has just kept on progressing,” Meade said.
Breton Rock (David Simcock/Andrea Atzeni)
Breton Rock has twice triumphed in Group Two company including the 2014 Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury. At the age of seven he looks to have it all to do here on his first start of the season.
Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills/Adam Kirby)
The Godolphin silks were successfully carried by Dutch Connection in the seven-furlong Group Two Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last season.
He was not disgraced when coming fifth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, but finished well-beaten in both the Prix du Moulin at Chantilly and in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
Galileo Gold (Hugo Palmer/Frankie Dettori)
Owned by Al Shaqab Racing, Galileo Gold took both the mile Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and the Group One St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016 and is having his first start since finishing fifth in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October. He is clearly the horse they have to beat.
Lightning Spear (David Simcock/Oisin Murphy)
The David Simcock-trained six-year-old was placed in two QIPCO British Champions Series races last year – finishing third in the Queen Anne Stakes and QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Sandwiched in between, he landed the Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Mitchum Swagger (David Lanigan/Tom Queally)
It is interesting that Mitchum Swagger was pulled out of Monday’s Listed race at Windsor before the meeting was abandoned for a crack at this instead. The five-year-old was fifth in the Group Two Sandown Mile last month.
Ribchester (Richard Fahey/William Buick)
Ribchester is making his second appearance of 2017, having finished a close third in the Group One Dubai Turf at Meydan at the end of March. The Godolphin colt recorded his greatest triumph in August last year, when winning the Group Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville and was also the half-length runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Ribchester also won the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury as a two-year-old.
Toscanini (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan)
The five-year-old is on pacemaking duties here. In an attempt to help Ribchester settle in his races, owners Godolphin transferred Toscanini from Mick Halford's yard to Fahey's Musley Bank stables in Malton to act as his pacemaker.
Somehow (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore)
Somehow looked as good as ever in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on May 7th. Before that she won a Listed race at Gowran Park. The step back in trip to 1m should not be a problem for this filly who is clearly thriving on her racing at the moment and she must be on any shortlists here.
888sport’s Lockinge Stakes prediction 1-2-3
1. Galileo Gold 2. Ribchester 3. Somehow