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2018 Lockinge Stakes tips - Star rating guide to Newbury’s main event

Jonathan Vine 19 May 2018
A wonderful view of Belardo winning the Lockinge in 2016.

Our expert has looked through the field set to line up in this year’s Lockinge and produced this star rating guide to Newbury’s main event on Saturday 19th May.

While three-year-olds stole the limelight in the opening Group One of the season, older horses have their first chance to claim a top level prize on Saturday, as Newbury stages the Lockinge Stakes.
Pall Mall won the first and second editions of the Lockinge in 1958 and ’59, and he’s since been joined on the illustrious roll of honour by Brigadier Gerard, Medicean, Farhh and Frankel.

Our expert has put together this star rating guide for the 2018 renewal of the Lockinge Stakes – taking a closer look at some of the key players at Newbury and rating their chances of winning out of five stars.

2018 Lockinge Star Rating Guide

After winning three of his final four starts in high-quality handicaps last year, many expected Addeybb to progress onto Grouped level in 2018. A sparkling five-length victory in the Lincoln resulted in William Haggas throwing his charge into the Group Two bet365 Mile, where James Doyle’s mount showed speed and class in abundance to see off Stormy Antarctic and claim his maiden black type title.

Group Ones are unknown territory for Addeybb, but he proved at Sandown that he’s certainly not phased by a step up in grade. Addeybb is clearly a horse on the up and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him win a big race this season. However, firm ground is a significant worry and his last visit to Newbury ended in a disappointing defeat.

Addeybb Star Rating ⭐ 4 ⭐

Andrew Balding rewarded his top miler with an outing on Champions Day at Ascot in October, following three hugely impressive victories. Three length triumphs in the Listed Henry Cecil Stakes and the Thoroughbred Stakes were followed by a stunning, five-length victory over Sir John Lavery in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Beat The Bank’s maiden appearance in Group One company didn’t go entirely to plan, with the 4/1 shot finishing a distant eleventh in the Queen Elizabeth II. That experience should stand Jim Crowley’s mount in excellent stead as he travels to Newbury for the first time and the slight undulations in the straight track could suit a horse who handles Newmarket so well.  The form of Andrew Balding’s stable is a slight negative, but I firmly believe Beat The Bank is a very good horse and he could be the best each-way bet in the Lockinge.

Beat The Bank Star Rating ⭐ 5 ⭐

Beat The Bank (right) storms to a superb victory in The Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket

Breton Rock ran a storming race 12 months ago to finish third behind Ribchester. He followed that result up with a surprise triumph in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood later in the summer. David Simcock’s experiences sprinter proved that day he shouldn’t be overlooked too quickly, but Breton Rock has failed to win any of his eight runs over a mile and won’t enjoy the word firm featuring in the going description.

Breton Rock Star Rating ⭐ 2.5 ⭐

Charlie Hills had to drop his charge down to Group Three company to break a run of five straight defeats last season, as Dutch Connection cruised to a comfortable victory in the Supreme Stakes at Goodwood. A couple of poor runs followed at Woodbine and Newmarket and the Godolphin flag-bearer’s reappearance record is pretty poor, so it would be a surprise if he managed to put himself in the frame.

Dutch Connection Star Rating ⭐ 2.5 ⭐

James Doyle and Addeybb scoring a comfortable victory in the Lincoln at Doncaster.

After spending the first half of his three-year-old season acting as a pacemaker for Churchill, Lancaster Bomber was given the opportunity to grab the headlines himself during the summer and winter months. Sadly, the former Dewhurst runner-up couldn’t find a victory, with two runner-up finishes to World Approval out in America his best results of the season.

While Lancaster Bomber has proven himself to be a contender at this sort of level, Aidan O’Brien could enlist his four-year-old’s pace-setter services once again and he travels to Newbury with slim each-way chances at best.

Lancaster Bomber Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐

Dean Ivory celebrated the biggest win of his training career on Champion Day, as Librisa Breeze stormed to a tremendous victory in the Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot. During his days with Jeremy Noseda, the Mount Nelson gelding won over both a mile and a mile-and-a-quarter, but his only forays into Group One company have come in sprints and it would be a big ask for Robert Winston’s mount to contend, having not stepped up over seven furlongs since June 2016.

Librisa Breeze Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐

Librisa Breeze (right) winning the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot .

Ribchester was a worthy winner of this historic race 12 months ago, but David Simcock will have been pleased to see Lightning Spear finish strongly to claim a convincing second. His only victory during the rest of the campaign came when dropping below the highest level, outstaying Zonderland to win the Celebration Mile Stakes at Goodwood.

Lightning Speak could only beat Zonderland by a nose, and Clive Cox’s charge is one of the outsiders in the ante-post betting for the Lockinge. Lightning Spear has shown strong Group One form in the past, but at the age of seven, it looks like his best days are behind him.

Lightning Spear Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐

A run of four straight defeats saw the former July Cup winners’ rating drop by seven pounds during 2017. Henry Candy’s stable star managed to right the sinking ship on his final start, comfortably winning a fairly average renewal of the Group Two Godolphin Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Limato has failed to win in two starts over a mile, finishing a four-length fourth as Belardo won the Lockinge in 2016. Harry Bentley’s mount is a horse of the highest calibre who cannot be ruled out and should enjoy the ground, but a mile seems to be beyond him.

Limato Star Rating ⭐ 3.5 ⭐

Seamie Heffernan riding Rhododendron to victory in The Prix de lOpera Longine during Prix de lArc de Triomphe meeting at Chantilly.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly entered last season as the favourite for the 1000 Guineas, but a run of three straight defeats saw her mystique shatter during the first half of the season. After returning from a burst blood vessel with a poor run in the Matron Stakes, Rhododendron produced a fantastic performance to win the Prix de l’Opera in Chantilly.

Ryan Moore’s mount was found a little wanting for pace behind Wuheida in the nine furlong Filly And Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup and couldn’t lay a glove on Cracksman on her reappearance in the Prix Ganay. Rhododendron is a Group One winner and Aidan O’Brien isn’t convinced she’s a stayer, but this eight-furlong sprint still seems a little on the sharp side.

Rhododendron Star Rating ⭐ 4.5 ⭐

After failing to find a victory in 12 starts for David O’Meara, Suedois scored a much-needed victory in the Group Two Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown in September. That win seemed to give O’Meara’s well-travelled seven-year-old a lift, as Daniel Tudhope guided his mount to a tremendous win in the Group One Shadwell Mile Stakes at Keeneland, before coming up less than two lengths short in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on his final sex-year-old start.

Older horses haven’t got the greatest record in the Lockinge, with only one horse over the age of five winning since Soviet Line’s second victory in 1996. Yet, Suedois is a Group One winner over this trip, with plenty of big stage experience under his belt. 

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest Suedois is in the form of his life and he will love the fast ground. The market drift from 16s out to 25/1 is a little bit of a worry - forcing me to knock half a star off his rating - but I still think Suedois is overpriced and he offer stacks of value.

Suedois Star Rating ⭐ 4.5 ⭐

Daniel Tudhope riding Suedois (left) flies home to win The Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown.

A disappointing renewal in the Balmoral Handicap didn’t stop Zabeel Prince progressing smoothly through the ratings last season, rising from 86 right up to 102. Roger Varian’s charge made his first appearance in a black type race on his reappearance and took the step up in grade in his stride, cruising to a two-and-a-half length triumph in the Listed Doncaster Mile Stakes.

Andrea Atzeni’s mount produced a very taking performance that day and warrants an outing in Grouped company. However, jumping from Listed to Group One level is a giant leap and he could struggle on the fast, Newbury turf.

Zabeel Prince Star Rating ⭐ 3 ⭐

Lockinge Star Rating Result

⭐ Beat The Bank – 5 ⭐
Suedois 4.5
Rhododendron – 4.5
Addeybb – 4
Limato – 3.5
Lancaster Bomber - 3
Librisa Breeze - 3
Lightning Spear – 3
Zabeel Prince – 3
Breton Rock – 2.5
Dutch Connection – 2.5

*Ratings changed at 10:07pm Saturday 19th May*

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2018 Lockinge Stakes tips - Star rating guide to Newbury’s main event

Our expert has looked through the field set to line up in this year’s Lockinge and produced this star rating guide to Newbury’s main event on Saturday 19th May.

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