Newbury takes centre stage on Saturday afternoon as the Lockinge Stakes is the key race on a typically hectic May days’ racing.
The Group 1 mile event has attracted a cracking line-up this year and in-form trainer Roger Varian might have an improver lurking to snare the pot.
This is a fine race and the standard-bearer is the Karl Burke-trained filly Laurens, a multiple scorer at the highest level last summer that continues to thwart her detractors. She’s on her seasonal bow here and it might be a good time to take her on (if there’s such a thing!).
Aidan O’Brien fires French import Le Brivido, once trained by Andre Fabre, though he faces a tough exam compared to Naas last time. Beat The Bank and Without Parole add to the mixture, the first-named having won last month’s bet365 Mile at Sandown.
He fended off Sharja Bridge in that Group 2 but there might be reason to turn the tables. Varian’s charge was impressive at Doncaster on his reappearance and is still learning his trade. He should have learned plenty from engaging Beat The Bank and is fancied to win a big pot over a mile this summer. It could be here at Newbury and he’s an each-way contender in an open Lockinge.
Earlier on the Newbury card, look out for Oisin Murphy on board the William Haggas-trained Sinjaari in the London Gold Cup. He’s making his handicap debut here off a mark of 89, which may be underestimating his ability.
He finishes his races off strongly, as we saw last time out when he powered home to win a 1m2f Windsor maiden in pleasing style. This seems certain to be run at a decent clip and that will suit Murphy’s mount, which ought to be in the frame at worst if he’s as good as that Windsor win looked.
Crystal Ocean is a rock-solid option in the Al Rayyan Stakes, a race he won last year. Sir Michael Stoute is following a familiar path, having won the Gordon Richard Stakes last month on his reappearance. The fiercely consistent middle-distance performer has only been bested by the likes of Poet’s Word, Enable and Cracksman over the last 15 months and should have these rivals covered.
Over at Newmarket, Jash can collect the King Charles II Stakes for trainer Simon Crisford. He was a course winner last year before chasing home Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park Stakes. He’s reappearing here and looks to have been found a glaring chance to start his three-year-old campaign on a winning note.
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