Rhododendron To Flower At Newbury

Between England and Ireland this weekend Aidan O’Brien will have 20 runners and a number of those could well develop into Royal Ascot contenders.

At Newbury on Saturday afternoon he aims to bridge a 15 year gap between wins in the Lockinge Stakes and he may just do that.

Ballydoyle smelling the roses
There hasn’t been a bigger field this century for the Lockinge Stakes and the only filly in the 16 runner field is O’Brien’s Rhododendron and she looks the part here.

The four-year-old daughter of Galileo has already etched her name among the Group 1 winning fraternity last season and although she was well beaten behind Cracksman on her seasonal debut, it is very interesting to see Aidan O’Brien drop Rhododendron back in trip for this assignment over a mile.

It just might not be a vintage renewal of the Lockinge with Addeybb a progressive sort but this is a big leap to overturn a proven Group 1 performer, while Beat The Bank seemed to hit his ceiling at the end of last season and failed to make his mark at the top level after moving up through the ranks.

Limato is a doubtful miler and while Rhododendron is dropping back in trip,

her run behind Winter in the 1000 Guineas over a mile last season was a very creditable one and she looks a worthy favourite.

Ballydoyle to get ball rolling early
The first race of the day at Newbury is a listed contest over six furlongs and the drop in class and trip should see Murillo back to winning ways.

Murillo stepped up to a mile for the 2000 Guineas where he finished ninth behind Saxon Warrior and given how good that stable companion of his is and the fact that it was probably run over two furlongs further than his most favourable trip, Murillo didn’t actually run too bad in Newmarket.

He takes on some highly rated performers here including Shabaaby, Cardsharp and Eqtidaar but Murillo could actually be a horse that picks up his fair of decent prizes this season and he would be a confident selection to start off the day.

Snow can help McCreery Star
We heard enough about snow at the start of the year but the quick ground and brilliant form that Willie McCreery’s horses seem to be in this season should help Snowstar in the 5f handicap at Navan today.

There’s some really good but difficult racing at the Meath venue today but Snowstar stood out in this 11 runner field. The filly was a very game runner-up in a hot listed race at Tipperary last season.

Although that effort saw her rocket up through the ratings, the form of the race has worked out quite well and it is hopeful that Snowstar can give McCreery and Billy Lee another winner on what has been a good season so far.

Recommended Bets:
Murillo (10/3) – 1.50 Newbury
Rhododendron (3-1) – 3.40 Newbury

*Prices correct at time of publication.