David Ord has a horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Lockinge Stakes and expects two of Aidan O'Brien's raiding party to make bold bids for Newbury glory.
ACCIDENTAL AGENT: Developed into a very smart handicapper last season, winning the Challenge Cup at Ascot, so the potential hurly-burly of this big field won’t be a problem. The opposition will be though as it’s much deeper than he’s been in before and there was only limited encouragement on his recent Ascot reappearance.
ADDEYBB: Ran away with the Lincoln from a mark of 99 and proved himself in Pattern company when taking the Bet365 Mile at Sandown. We haven’t seen the best of him yet which is exciting but the ground is an unknown factor here with all his best form with some cut.
ALEXIOS KOMNENOS: Won the Desmond Stakes last season but well beaten upped to Group Two company in Boomerang Stakes on final start and looks out of his depth in this.
BEAT THE BANK: Got on a real roll last season, winning five races including the Joel Stakes at Newmarket. Readily forgiven flop in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on last start and could take high rank among the older milers this season. A solid chance with his stable beginning to click into top gear.
DEAUVILLE: Only raced at a mile twice last season and his Queen Anne third to Ribchester at Royal Ascot would put him firmly in the shake-up here. Will go forward under Wayne Lordan and handle the quick ground so not one to entirely dismiss despite seemingly being third string in the Ballydoyle pecking order.
DUTCH CONNECTION: Loves fast ground but has come up short in ten previous attempts in Group One company and hard to see why he’ll fare any differently in a warm renewal of this race.
LAHORE: Will be all the fitter for his Leicester reappearance, a first start for Clive Cox, but has a mountain to climb on all known form despite being in excellent hands.
LANCASTER BOMBER: Not a prolific winner but placed five times in 2017 including the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile. All four of those came with the word firm in the going description and he’ll bounce off the Berkshire turf here. Top class when conditions are in his favour he looks a solid each-way bet.
LIBRISA BREEZE: Won the Sprint on QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot and while he has won over ten furlongs, his best form, by some distance, is over six or seven furlongs. There’ll be a good gallop on here and while he’s dangerous if he is fully effective over a strongly-run mile, there are sufficient doubts to look elsewhere.
LIGHTNING SPEAR: Won the last two renewals of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and placed behind Ribchester in this last season. Can go well fresh so not entirely discounted but seven now and yet to win at the elite level.
LIMATO: Top class sprinter who was placed in the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup last term. Stepped up to seven furlongs to win the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket (impressively) but failed to prove he stays a mile when twice tried at the trip in 2016. There’ll be no hiding place in this.
SUEDOIS: Boomerang and Shadwell Turf Mile winner last season and very good fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at De Mar. Domestic form not as convincing for all this will be his first start over a mile in England.
WAR DECREE: Returned to form when second to Forest Ranger in Huxley Stakes but the weakest of the four Ballydoyle runners and seemingly better over further.
ZABEEL PRINCE: Continued his upward curve of 2017 when winning a Listed race at Doncaster on reappearance and entitled to have a crack at this. Needs another big leap forward but that’s not out of the question. His best form is with cut and that is the worry.
ZONDERLAND: Beaten a nose by Lightning Spear in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood but no show in the Queen Elizageth II Stakes on only subsequent start. Hard to make a convincing case for him for all he remains with potential.
RHODODENDRON: Second in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks last season and after breaking a blood vessel in the Prix de Diane, was brought back to land the Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly. Looked in need of run when fourth to Cracksman in Ganay on reappearance. She’s a high class mare and the choice of Ryan Moore but this would be a first success over the trip since her 2016 Fillies’ Mile win and the suspicion is that ten furlongs is her optimum distance.
VERDICT: An absolutely fascinating renewal of the Lockinge. Addeyyb looks destined for the top table but is unproven on the ground, a comment that also applies to the other potential significant improver in Zabeel Prince. Break The Bank looks rock solid and must go well but Rhododonendron may find the trip on the sharp side. Her stablemate LANCASTER BOMBER rates the bet. He is a top-class miler on fast ground and has his optimum conditions. Limato is a big threat if he stays what will be a truly-run mile and it would be no surprise to see the selection’s stablemate Deauville make a bold bid from the front.
1st Lancaster Bomber
2nd Break The Bank