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The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes

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History

The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, run at Newbury, is the second of the British Champions Series mile (1,600 metres) races. The event, established in 1958, was upgraded to Group 1 status in 1995 and is open to four-year-olds and over.

Winning the Lockinge Stakes meant so much to Richard Hannon on his way to the 2010 Champion Trainer title that he could not hold back the tears after Richard Hughes rode Paco Boy into the winner’s enclosure (apparently his emotional outburst was sparked for the horse, one of his favourites and who retired at the end of that season).

If in doubt, though, back any Lockinge Stakes horse trained by Sir Michael Stoute. He can boast an unrivalled seven victories, including two by Soviet Line, one of only three horses to have won the race twice in a row.

In the last four years, the Lockinge Stakes has risen to new heights with Frankel winning in 2012, Farrh in 2013, Olympic Glory in 2014 and Night of Thunder in 2015.

Current leading jockeys: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1994, 2000, 2008, 2014)
Current leading trainer: Sir Michael Stoute, 7 wins (1986, 1990, 1995-6, 2001, 2004, 2006)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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2017

Ribchester provided Godolphin with an eighth triumph in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes with an emphatic all-the-way success at Newbury on Saturday.

In the process, the four-year-old provided Richard Fahey with his first success in the QIPCO British Champions Series for four years.

Ribchester’s intended pacemaker, Toscanini, missed the break and never got near the front but it made no difference as William Buick bulied his rivals into submission on the impressive winner.

The Iffraaj colt, sent off the 7-4 favourite, quickened well under William Buick to open up a clear advantage passing the two-furlong marker and soon had the rest of his rivals in trouble, despite drifting right to the stands’ rail.

After straightening up inside the final furlong, Ribchester ran on again for to score impressively by three and three quarter lengths from Lightning Spear, with another two and a half lengths back to the third home Breton Rock.

The heavily backed Somehow, sent off at 100-30, plugged on on for fourth, with the easy to back Galileo Gold, winner of the 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes last year, finishing fifth after racing very keenly towards the stand’s side.

Fahey said: “It was a huge performance. We felt that there was one in him and it has all come together.

“It’s a huge relief for me because I have always been ranting and raving about this horse. He got beat in the Sussex and was third in the 2000 Guineas last year but we always felt that he would get stronger.

“Today has to be one of the best performances of a horse from our place – Ribchester is special.”

John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager of Godolphin, said: “The thing about this horse is that he appears to be getting better and better.

“My first reaction is that we remain at a mile but he is a horse that William has always said would get a mile and a quarter. So we have the Queen Anne and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot to think about.

“While he is winning over a mile like this, it is hard to change but I think he will definitely get further.”

David Simcock, trainer of the second and third, remarked: “I am very proud of both of them – they ran really, really well.”

Hugo Palmer, trainer of Galileo Gold, said: “It was a disappointing performance by Galileo Gold who got a bit lonely racing wide of the others.

“We will keep to the plan of going for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and then the Qatar Sussex Stakes.”

GODOLPHIN’S MIGHTY EIGHT IN THE LOCKINGE

1998 Cape Cross

1999 Fly To The Stars

2000 Aljabr

2008 Creachadoir

2013 Farhh

2015 Night Of Thunder

2016 Belardo

2017 Ribchester

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

Newbury may have a slightly shorter history than some of Britain’s other leading racecourses – give or take a few hundred years – but the Berkshire venue, which celebrated its centenary in 2005, has its own unique character.

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How many racecourses, for instance, can claim to have been used as prisoner-of-war camps in World War I? Newbury racecourse also boasts its own light-aircraft runway and a dedicated railway station, and was once a neighbour of the Greenham Common airbase, the home of US Air Force bombers, before it closed down at the end of the Cold War.

Newbury was founded shortly after the Norman conquest in the 11th century. Its racecourse, which also hosts celebrated jump races such as the Hennessy Gold Cup, earns its place in the QIPCO British Champions Series by staging the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes in May.

Getting there

The Racecourse,
Newbury
RG14 7NZ

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