Lockinge Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Newbury, Saturday 18th May 2019

Newbury hosts its richest day of racing this Saturday with prize money totalling £750,000 across seven scheduled races. The main bulk of this purse is thanks to the Lockinge Stakes which will be the star of the show during Newbury’s biggest social occasion.

Many fine horses have won this race during its 60-year history and there are several strong contenders in the running this year. It was an Irish filly who swept all before her here 12 months ago, and we are hoping it will be a similar story this time around.

Top Tips

I Can Fly each way @ 20/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

You will struggle to find a fairer one-mile test anywhere else in the UK than at Newbury. The straight track has next to no draw bias and its galloping nature allows horses to stretch their legs across the slight undulations. Only eight horses competed in this race last year, but we have a decent sized field of 14 set to go to post this time around.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good 1m Group 1 £350,000 14 Runners 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Godolphin have been responsible for four of the last five winners of this. The boys in blue send Mythical Magic in pursuit of the prize this time around.

The youngest runners in the field have proven tough to beat in this in recent years, with eight of the past 10 editions falling to a four year old.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Rhododendron 10/3 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2017 Ribchester 7/4 Richard Fahey William Buick
2016 Belardo 8/1 Roger Varian Andrea Atzeni
2015 Night of Thunder 11/4 Richard Hannon James Doyle
2014 Olympic Glory 11/8 Richard Hannon Frankie Dettori

Analysis: O'Brien Can Claim Prize Again

Always one of the premier mile contests of the season, this year’s renewal looks to be no exception, with the majority of the top British and Irish yards represented. Amongst those is the most successful trainer in the history of the race, Sir Michael Stoute, who sends Mustashry into battle.

Aidan At It Again?

Having first won this in 2003 with Hawk Wing, Aidan O’Brien had to wait 15 years for his second win, which came when saddling the filly Rhododendron to victory twelve months ago. O’Brien will be hoping he doesn’t have to wait quite so long for his third triumph, and it is his Le Brivido who heads the betting this time around.

Formerly with legendary French trainer Andre Fabre, this Siyouni colt was an impressive winner of the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017, but has been sighted only twice at the track since. There was however plenty of promise in his debut for O’Brien last time out at Naas when a close third in a Group 3. This clearly demands more, but considering that was his first run in close to a year, and that he already has a win in Group 1 company to his name, he is tough to dismiss.

Laurens To Dance To Victory

If the prize is to fall to a filly once again this year, then the market would suggest that the one most likely to do it is the Karl Burke runner, Laurens. Also by Siyouni, this filly became one of the most popular horses in training last season, thanks both to her efforts at the track and the resulting victory dances of her owner John Dance.

Will John be dancing again at the end of this one? He might well be. Second in last season’s 1000 Guineas, Laurens is already proven at the top level having landed the bet365 Fillies’ Mile, the Prix Saint-Alary, the Prix de Diane, the Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes and the Sun Chariot. A perfect three from three on good ground, conditions are in her favour and she seems likely to run a big race.

Fly In The Ointment?

The most interesting runner amongst the outsiders is Aidan O’Brien’s apparent second string, I Can Fly. This one’s form does have a slightly inconsistent look to it, but her only two really poor runs have come when heading to Meydan and Churchill Downs – and some horses simply don’t appreciate the exertions of travelling so far from home.

If we stick to her British and Irish form, she would look to boast every chance here and – typically for a filly from this yard – she also looks to be steadily improving. Beaten by five and half lengths by Laurens in the Sun Chariot, she then reversed that form when finding only the brilliant Roaring Lion too good in the QEII. That neck second to the John Gosden star is amongst the very best form on offer here and it would be no surprise to see her run a big race.

Final Verdict: I Can Fly each way

As much as we rate Le Brivido, there are simply too many question marks for us to back him at a short price here. Firstly, we aren’t yet sure he has truly trained on from the age of three, and secondly this will be his first run at the mile trip. Laurens makes more appeal, but at a bigger price the one to back is the filly to have finished four lengths in front of her in their most recent meeting.

An easy winner on her comeback at Dundalk on her seasonal return, I Can Fly has been given a nice break having bombed out at Meydan last time out and is fancied to outrun her odds and at least hit the frame.

About

Horse Race at Newbury Racecourse
gabriellaksz, flickr (Image Cropped)

The Classic generation always gets a large proportion of the coverage during the flat racing season. Not every high class horse reaches their potential at three however and there are several top level races for older horses during the season of which the Lockinge Stakes is right up there.

The very best trainers regularly target their best older milers for the Lockinge Stakes which takes place every May at Newbury. Although open to horses aged four and older it’s the youngest horses who have the best record in the Lockinge, which is a race packed with prestige and history.

A Worthy Part of the British Champions Series

When the Lockinge Stakes was initially introduced it was open to members of the Classic generation. In fact, the first winner, Pall Mall, added the Lockinge to his 2000 Guineas win of just a few weeks earlier. Three-year-olds were permitted to compete all the way through the introduction of the new grading system in 1971, the Lockinge’s demotion to Group 3 status in 1983 and eventual promotion to Group 1 level in 1995, when the doors were shut to younger horses.

The Lockinge took another step up in terms of the prestige with which it is held when it became part of the new British Champions Series in 2011. It now provides a clear path through to British Champions Day and sits alongside the other races in the milers division as seen in the table below.

Qipco British Champions Series: The Mile

Race Date Course
2000 Guineas May Newmarket
Lockinge Stakes May Newbury
Queen Anne Stakes June Ascot
St. James’s Palace Stakes June Ascot
Sussex Stakes July Goodwood
Sun Chariot Stakes October Newmarket
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes October Ascot

Multiple Winners to Remain Rare

When Pall Mall won the first two editions of the Lockinge Stakes few people thought that it would prove to be such an impressive feat. He is one of just three horses to have successfully defended the race as of the 2018 renewal though, the other two being Welsh Pageant (1970, 1971) and Soviet Line (1995, 1996).

Given the propensity to retire truly top class horses after their four-year-old season we are unlikely to see too many horses win the Lockinge multiple times in the future. Frankel, for example, would almost certainly have defended the Lockinge in 2013 but his appearance in 2012 was the only crack the wonder horse had at it before being sent off to an incredibly lucrative career at stud.

Not a Race for the Bookies

Betting Ring at Newbury Racecourse
gabriellaksz, flickr (Image Cropped)

Punters have tended to have the beating of the bookies in recent renewals of the Lockinge Stakes. Frankel was incredibly easy to pick in 2012 when he went off at 2/7 and whilst nothing has been quite so short since, several firm favourites have won including Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs, who were both odds on in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Rhododendron continued the trend of favourites running well in 2018 when she became the seventh winning favourite in 10 years. Moreover, two second favourites won in that time and the biggest priced winner was Belardo who had an SP of 8/1 in 2016. This really is one where the head of the market is the only place to look.

Although Rhododendron bucked the trends in as much as she was the first mare to win since 2007, she had crucially already proven herself at the top level. The vast majority of recent Lockinge Stakes winners had previously won a Grade 1, with most of those victors getting the job done over 1 mile. In terms of the closest prep races, it can pay to keep an eye on impressive performances from the Sandown Mile, which Belardo won before his 2016 win at Newbury.

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