The Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes over Newbury’s straight mile is the best race of the season so far. Established Group One performers do battle in a contest given added spice by the presence of globetrotting Aussie superstar Elvstroem.
The best horse in the race is Rakti who has a favourites chance. He won the Prince of Wales’ Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last season and that form would be good enough to beat this field. However, before dashing to take the 5/2 on offer it is also worth noting that this is a horse that psychiatrists might describe has suffering from a borderline personality disorder.
In the Coral Eclipse at Sandown last July he got on edge in the build-up and ruined his chance by dwelling in the stalls then pulling like the Flying Scotsman. Six year-olds also have a poor record in the Lockinge, winning only two renewals in the past twenty-five years. Four-year olds fare best winning fourteen of the last twenty races, but Antonius Pius is another horse that is rather too eccentric to trust. He threw away the French Guineas when the race was at his mercy by jinking sharply to the left.
Elvstroem will do well to run to his merits after a travel schedule that would leave the average investment banker begging for a rest. He is one to watch this time, with his win in the Caulfield Cup down under over 1m4f suggesting he may be flat to the boards early on against Europe’s crack milers.
The percentage bet is Le Vie dei Colori. His third in the Sussex Stakes behind Nayyir and Soviet Song in 2004 is the only form to come close to Rakti’s. He should be primed to run a big race having got Luca Cumani’s yard of the mark winning a listed race at Leicester last time out. However, this is a very open race and for each-way punters the progressive Tarfah is worth a chance. A few more pounds of improvement would secure a top three berth for this 20/1 outsider.
In the listed Paddy Power Stakes, High Accolade is the class act. He won a group race last season and having dodged the Yorkshire Cup for a crack at this can defy top weight. Orange Touch may be next best.
Newbury 2:10 High Accolade (win)
Newbury 2:40 Le Vie dei Colori (win); Tarfah (each-way)