Farhh can make class tell in Lockinge
Simon Holt previews Saturday's JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and reckons Farhh can make his class tell.
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Saturday's Group One JLT Lockinge Stakes provides a dilemma between following proven class or taking a chance on exciting potential.
A possible star of the future is Aidan O'Brien's lightly raced four-year-old Declaration Of War who is held in the highest possible regard but has yet to be tried at higher than Group Three level.
An impressive winner at The Curragh, Dundalk and, last month, at Leopardstown since joining the Ballydoyle team from France, it is very difficult to accurately assess this horse's true ability. For the first time, he now faces genuine top grade opposition so all will be revealed.
However, Declaration Of War will need to be very smart if he's to beat Farhh, a horse who twice chased home the mighty Frankel last season and also ran excellent seconds behind Nathaniel (in the Eclipse) and Moonlight Cloud (Prix du Moulin at Longchamp).
Reputedly a fragile individual, Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is unlikely to have him anything short of full fitness for this seasonal debut and, whereas his Irish trained rival, has to go and do it at Group One level, this horse is clearly top class.
Farhh is fancied to gain a much deserved victory but there are two other proven class acts in the field - Cityscape and Beauty Parlour.
After landing the Dubai Duty Free at Meydan last March, Cityscape also ran some super races in defeat, notably when twice second behind Excelebration at Deauville and Ascot. However, he finished well behind Nathaniel and Farhh at Sandown and would not want conditions at Newbury to dry out much more.
Beauty Parlour, winner of the French Guineas last year, is a fascinating project for Sir Henry Cecil, for so long a master with fillies though she disappointed on her sole run for the Warren Place handler when beating only one home after being hampered at the start in all-aged Group One company at Newmarket in September.
Doubtless, she is better than that but how much better is, again, difficult to say.
Several of the others are stepping up in class including Fencing, a fluent winner (from Sovereign Debt) of an Ascot listed race recently, and Trumpet Major who won a Group Two at Sandown (Chil The Kite third, Libranno fourth) last month.
German raider Amaron won a Group One in Italy last term but this looks much tougher while the promising Aljamaaheer needs to take a huge jump forward after being beaten at Leicester on his reappearance.