Stoute’s Filly Fired Up For Lockinge
At first glance, Saturday’s 18-runner Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury (3.45) has the look of a major handicap, having attracted its largest field ever, although Night Of Thunder still remains a solid 9/4 favourite.
Night To Thunder Home?
Last year’s 2,000 Guineas winner was subsequently placed in two more Group 1 races over a mile last autumn, and a repeat of those performances would put him bang in there on Saturday.
While his class cannot be questioned, some punters may be concerned that both the aforementioned placed efforts came when finishing strongly from off the pace – in other words, Night Of Thunder may need things to drop – while he was also below-par on his reappearance outing at Newbury last spring.
The odds and official ratings (4lb clear) suggest Night Of Thunder is the most likely winner, but there will be plenty looking elsewhere in such a big field – step forward Sir Michael Stoute’s Integral (9/2).
Integral A Key Player
Already a dual Group 1 winner over a mile, Integral will fear nothing in this line-up, and the fact she can go well first time out is another bonus. She failed to handle heavy ground when last seen in October, but copes with all other surfaces, and the fact she can be ridden up with the pace may see her get first run on Night Of Thunder.
Rated just 4lb below that rival, Integral gets a valuable 3lb sex allowance here, which worked the oracle for Stoute’s filly, Peeress, who won the 2006 Lockinge.
Integral is also a 5yo, which hails from the favoured based on recent 10-year trends…
Of the last 10 Lockinge winners…
10 were 4-5 year olds
10 returned 8/1 or shorter
9 were officially rated 113 or higher
The Hannon’s: three winners, S bin Suroor: two
Fancied Runners To Strike Again?
The above trends also show that fancied runners came out well in the Lockinge, which points up the likes of Richard Hannon’s Toormore (8/1).
This 4yo was a Group 1 winning juvenile who ran some mighty races in defeat last term, including a 1l third in the QEII when last seen in October (1m, heavy). It’s possible he may come up short again, but has won first time out the last two years and is each-way material with Richard Hughes in the saddle.
Cat On The Prowl
Of the bigger priced runners, David O’Meara’s 6yo, Custom Cat (10/1) may have been shorter in the betting had he been trained by a more fashionable yard, especially as this 6yo won six of his last seven races.
The last of those races was a Group 2 at Sandown last month (1m, good), when beating Here Comes When by almost 2l, and he deserves another crack at Group 1 company having flopped on heavy ground in the aforementioned QEII last term.
Others with each-way potential include Marco Botti’s 4yo, Moohaarib (14/1), an improving Listed winner last month who enjoys a straight, galloping mile, while Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Arod (25/1), was fourth in last year’s Derby, and showed plenty of speed dropped to 1m1f in Listed company last time. A more-truly run mile could see him step up.
Richard Hannon’s pair are respected, but Sir Michael Stoute knows what it takes to win this with a filly, and has a talented individual in Integral, who offers each-way value against the favourite.
*Prices correct at time of publication