The Lockinge Stakes run over a mile is the first Group 1 race of the season for older horses but often attracts runners just short of true Group 1 class trying to catch their more illustrious rivals at their most vulnerable (3.45pm Saturday at Newbury).
That ploy doesn’t appear to be working very well, with six winning favourites and two winning second favourites in the last 10 years.
Last year’s shock 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder (5/2) was overshadowed by subsequent Cartier Horse of the Year Kingman for most of last season, but ran creditably in defeat, at the highest level, on three of his four starts after winning at Newmarket. The son of Dubawi won on his racecourse debut and on his reappearance last season so, with 2lb and upwards in hand of his rivals, he must have every chance of making a winning start for his new connections.
Richard Hannon’s other entry, Toormore (10/1), is officially rated just 2lb inferior to his stable companion. While Night Of Thunder may have more in hand than the half a length he did when the pair met in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last October, he could be the one to take advantage if the favourite fails to fire. All four of his career wins have come on good or softer going, but he blossomed late on last season and fully deserves his place in the line-up.
Integral (5/1), trained by Michael Stoute (pictured), won the Falmouth Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last season but, despite being rated 2lb inferior to Toormoore (and having finished miles behind Richard Hannon’s charge in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), is half the price in the betting. She clearly has the ability to go well, but whether she represents any value at her current odds is another question altogether.
Custom Cut (10/1) has officially improved 9lb since joining David O’Meara from George Kent last March. Although he holds Here Comes When and Top Notch Tonto on their running in the Bet365 Mile at Sandown last month, he weakened quickly to finish eight, beaten 16½ lengths, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and appears to have work to do to beat the Hannon pair. He has plenty of form on soft and heavy going, so there’s no guarantee that faster underfoot conditions will allow him to finish any closer this time.
Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Arod (25/1) drops back in trip to a mile for the first time since his debut and could go well at his big price.
Surprises have been few and far between in the Lockinge Stakes in recent years, but if there is to be one, Tullius (25/1) could be the one to cause it. In three attempts over a straight mile in Group 1 company, Andrew Balding’s seven-year-old has finished second in this race, fourth in the Queen Anne Stakes and fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He is 3lb better off for a length and half a length, respectively, with Night Of Thunder and Toormore on their running in the latter race and should be suited by dropping back to a mile after failing to stay a mile and a quarter at Sandown last time.
Lockinge Betting Tips Conclusion
- Night Of Thunder is the obvious one for win purposes but, at the odds on offer, it’s difficult to resist an each-way burgle on TULLIUS at 25/1 with Bet365, who are offering a quarter the odds a place for the first three.