Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Betting Tips

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Group1 1m (Str) Newbury Saturday

Since the race was elevated to the top level in 1995 some strong trends have been evident, not least the dominance of four year olds. They have won thirteen of the twenty renewals, with five year old’s collecting five times, and six year olds twice. Winning form at the top level has also been most significant, with sixteen of the twenty victors boasting a Group1 victory. Considering how few fillies or mares have contested the race their record is quite impressive, with three wins in the last twelve years, so their two representatives Amazing Maria, and Euro Charline are of interest.

12 months ago the Oddsguru tipped Integral to win the Newbury showpiece.

Amazing Maria won a Group3 at Goodwood for previous trainer Ed Dunlop, but since her owner, Sir Robert Ogden, transferred her to David O’Meara at the end of her three year old career, her progress has been phenomenal. Having won the Group2 Prince of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot, in June last year, she became her hugely talented trainer’s first Group1 success the following month at Newmarket. She followed up three weeks later with further top level success at Deauville. Her last race of the season was disappointing, finishing 10L seventh, on yielding ground at Leopardstown, but she seemed to be back on track on her reappearance at Newmarket three weeks ago. She finished third over 9f, probably not aided by the extended trip, so given good ground or better at the weekend she must have a serious chance.

Euro Charline has been enjoying the Dubai sunshine, and collected some very nice prize money in her last race there, when finishing 1/2L behind Real Steel in a Group1 contest over 9f, worth nearly two and a half million pounds. She was running on strongly at Meydan and probably now, needs further than Saturday’s mile to show her best.

Limato is one of the current market leaders, but was slightly disappointing in his last race, a 7f Group1 contest at Longchamp on October 4th. Slow to break, he was held up by Ryan Moore, but when asked to close couldn’t get to the winner, hanging left under pressure inside the final furlong. He had previously looked at Doncaster, when winning easily over 7f, as if the step up to a mile would suit, but to this observer the jury is still out.

Roger Varian’s (pictured above) 4yo Belardo looked a really impressive animal when winning the 2014 Dewhurst as a 2yo, but was most disappointing in his 3yo campaign, until getting his act together in the Group1 Queen Elizabeth11 stakes last October, where he finished second, 3/4L behind the winner Solow. He won a listed race easily on reappearing at the beginning of April, and was sent off the favourite for a Group2 at Sandown three weeks later, but could only finish 4th, behind Toormore, Dutch Connection, and Breton Rocks. “3lbs worse off with Toormore on Saturday he does seem to have a mountain to climb now. However the Sandown race may not be that reliable as the pacemaker Barchan didn’t set fast enough a pace, and James Doyle gave Belardo too much to do. He was at least a dozen lengths off the winner turning in. The memory of his scintillating victory in the Dewhurst still lingers, and if in that form is going to make them all go.

Following a recent sale, the 4yo Dutch Connection is now racing, like Belardo, under the Godolphin banner, and he did seem to get the mile well enough at Sandown. However he has now had four attempts at the trip without hitting the back of the net and I suspect is likely to be found wanting again at the weekend.

According to handler Clive Cox his 4yo Kodi Bear is lucky to have survived a horrendous infection, acquired after a knee injury sustained last Spring. He was a revelation, only weeks after this traumatic illness, when winning a Windsor listed race in June, (1m1/2f) followed by a Group3 at Salisbury in August, and a Group2 the same month at Goodwood. He disappointed in the Queen Elizabeth11, where he ran too freely, but after his trials and tribulations earlier in the season, is easily forgiven. His talented trainer reports him in fine fettle for his reappearance and is shortlisted.

Richard Hannon’s Toormore is towards the head of the market and showed his wellbeing with that win at Sandown. However the 5yo’s lack of success at the top level, since his Group1 victory at The Curragh in 2013 is a concern, and I feel that he may come up short again.

There has been some support for his stable companion, Estidhkaar, and it would be no surprise to see him play a prominent role. He looked top class when winning the 7f Group2 Champagne stakes at Doncaster in September 2014, and was sent off favourite for the Dewhurst five weeks later. He finished a well beaten 4th behind Belardo but was found to be suffering from a hairline fracture, probably sustained before the race. He only ran three times as a 3yo, finishing second in the Greenham at Newbury in April, but disappointed in the 2000Guineas,and later in a Group1 at Deauville. If recapturing his top class 2yo form he would certainly be a player.

Selection : Belardo (if abs Amazing Maria)

E.W. : Kodi bear.

Lockinge Stakes Betting Tips 1m Group1 Newbury Saturday

Integral

Integral is a beautifully bred 5yo mare by Dalakhani out of the Group1 winning mare, Echelon and we fancy her to go very close.

I hope you were on when Jamie Spencer, brought home the bacon on our selection, Speculative Bid, in last weeks Victoria Cup, at the very rewarding odds of 10/1. On paper at least, Saturday’s Newbury Group1 does seem a slightly easier contest to solve, so here’s hoping we can keep the ball rolling. Since the race was elevated to the top tier in 1995, some strong trends have been evident, not least that fifteen of the last nineteen winners, boasted winning form at Group1 level coming into the contest.

Four year olds have had the best of it in the same period, winning twelve times, with five five year olds, and two six year olds obliging. Considering how few females have contested the race over the past decade, their record has been outstanding. They have won three of the last ten renewals, and significantly , two of them have been trained by Sir. Michael Stoute. Perhaps even more significantly, they have all run in the same colours as Saturday’s entrant, Integral, the red white and blue of Chevely Park Stud.

Integral is a beautifully bred 5yo mare (by Dalakhani out of the Group1 winning mare, Echelon). She had already won two Group1 races against her own sex in a highly successful campaign as a four year old, when coming up short in the Group1 Queen Elizabeth II stakes against the colts. Excuses can be made, as she was unsuited by the testing ground,and may have been over the top anyway. It is very significant that Chevley Park have kept her in training as a 5yo, and considering Sir Michael’s skill with older horses this mare looks the one to beat at the weekend.

Richard Hannon’s 4yo Night of Thunder, the shock winner of last years controversial 2000gns, when coming home 1/2L in front of the brilliant miler, Kingman, failed to hit the back of the net in any of his subsequent four races, but did post some very good efforts. His last run was particularly noteworthy, finishing a slightly unlucky second to the high class Charm Spirit, in the Q.E11 stakes last October. He hasn’t been seen since, but this need not be a problem, as only three of the last ten winners had had a previous run. Top rated, and coming from a yard that has provided three of the last five winners, Night of Thunder must have every chance of getting involved on Saturday.

The highly talented David O’Meara, saddles the 6yo gelding Custom Cut, and like his sire Notnowcato, appears to be improving with age. First off,winning a modest Cork handicap three years ago from a lowly mark of 75, He was rated 117 when comfortably disposing of Here Comes When in a Group2 at Sandown on his reappearance in April. He had that good yardstick Top Notch Tonto, 4 1/2L further back at Sandown, strongly suggesting that further progress had been made over the winter, so his odds of 12/1 at the time of writing represent some value.

Whatever ailed the 4yo Oasis Dream colt, Mooharib who hung so badly when finishing third in this years Lincoln handicap, his very capable trainer Marco Botti ironed out before his next appearance. He absoloutly hosed up in a listed race at Ascot, four weeks after Doncaster, cruising up to the leaders, quickening clear, and then eased back to beat Hors de Combat with consummate ease. Another rapidly improving animal, it isn’t too difficult to see him being involved at the weekend.

One of the few winners at Group1 level in Saturday’s contest, the 4yo Toormore, the second Hannon runner, needs considering. His Group1 success came as a two year old in the 7f National stakes at the Curragh which He won easily and ended the season crowned Europe’s top two year old. His 3yo career started very promisingly with a facile win in the Craven stakes from the top class The Great Gadsby, but was subsequently most disappointing until showing signs of a revival in the Q.E.11 at the end of the season. Here,starting at 25/1, He took a fierce hold, and still fighting Kieran Fallon for his head was dropped to last two furlongs out. He ran on and despite having too much to do finished a very respectable third, beaten 1/2L and 1/2L by Charm Spirit, and his stable companion Night of Thunder. He has clearly had his problems, but coming from this yard it would be no surprise to see a reformed character on Saturday.

Selection: Integral

E.W. : Toormore