More Group 1 action today at Newbury, when the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes takes place at 3.30, with 8 thoroughbreds going to post.
The sponsors are giving it a good go to keep the £198,485 prize ‘in house’ in the shape of the second favourite, Galileo Gold, whose sire is, of course, er, Paco Boy.
After winning the Guineas and the St James’s Palace last season, Hugo Palmer’s colt’s form tailed off somewhat and he was firmly put in his place twice by today’s favourite Ribchester.
Richard Fahey’s charge won the Group 1 Jacques de Malois at Deauville (GG 8th) before running a fine second to Minding in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in October (GG 5th) and proved his well-being as a 4-y-o with a close up 3rd in the Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan, a race worth a measly £2,926,829.27p to the winner.
So, with a perceived fitness advantage and boasting the best form on offer, what’s not to like? Well, nothing, actually and although odds of 6-4 may seem skinny, one and a half times your money for less than two minutes perspiration is the recommendation.
The Newbury card opens with the Al Rayyan Stakes, a Group 3 contest over a mile and a half and it’s 3-1 the field, with Sir Michael’s Midterm leading the way. Frankly, this is not a horse I trust and, with the visor going on for the first time, it looks like connections don’t trust him either.
The two horses with the best form in this are My Dream Boat and Hawkbill, both of which look as if they are crying out for this trip, but have yet to prove it. Indeed, Clive Cox’s charge MDB will be trying 12 furlongs for the first time, but his run style, including in two Group 1s last season suggests this likeable horse will find it right up his strasse.
Hawkbill, for the Boys in Blue, has tried the trip once, in a German Group 1last November, and, insofar as you can take German form as a guide, appeared to get it really well.
So what to do? Well, we suggest a reasonable lump on My Dream Boat at 4-1 and a tad of a saver on Hawkbill at the same price. As for the forecast, I couldn’t possibly comment.
The Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes at 4.05 is the other race at Newbury worthy of mention. None of the main participants in this juvenile event has encountered ‘cut’ on a racecourse before, so it’s an unknown to factor in, but the best form is held by the Braveheart trained Kit Marlowe. Happily, the bookmakers are making it only third in, so have a reasonable bash at 11-4 and watch Will Buick sluice up.