THE upwardly mobile Addeybb heads a strong entry for the £350,000 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19. The race is run over the straight mile and has retained 25 contenders following yesterday’s scratchings deadline. The race is the showpiece of Newbury’s Flat season and one of the world’s top 100 Group One races in 2017. The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes is the second contest in the mile category of the QIPCO British Champions Series 2018 and has been won by some outstanding performers in recent years including Frankel, Canford Cliffs, Farhh and Ribchester. Fresh from an impressive success in the G2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown Park on April 27, the William Haggas-Addeybb has the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes in his sights.
The four-year-old son of Pivotal, owned by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, was the impressive winner of the Lincoln Handicap over the straight mile at Doncaster on March 24 and took the transition to Group company in his stride with a decisive two and three-quarter length victory from Stormy Antarctic in the G2 contest at Sandown Park last week. On both occasions, he was partnered by James Doyle. Incidentally, do check out The Top Slots in UK if you like to have a punt online. Maureen Haggas, assistant trainer to husband William at Somerville Lodge in Newmarket, said: “Addeybb did it nicely enough at Sandown. He’s such a nice horse and it was good to see him step up again by winning a G2 contest – we would like to see him on better ground now as he is a good mover. He’s a lovely horse who never puts a foot wrong. He has got a great temperament so that is all you can ask.
“The owner [Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum] is talking about going for the Lockinge. He rang up and said ‘Lockinge, Lockinge, Lockinge’, so I think that is where we’re aiming. The Lockinge is the obvious place to go next as it fits nicely into the calendar.”
Stormy Antarctic could also be heading to Newbury on May 19 according to trainer Ed Walker. Winner of the Craven Stakes in 2015, the five-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic plundered a G3 event at Saint-Cloud on his first start of the season on April 2 and Lambourn handler Walker pinpointed ground conditions as integral to any future plans.
Walker commented: “He was gelded during the middle of last season and since then, he has grown up. Stormy Antarctic ran well at Sandown, but just came up against a progressive horse in Addeybb. He relishes conditions that have some give underfoot, so if conditions came into his liking, a race like the Lockinge might be something that we look at.”
Also among the 25 contenders going forward for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes are a pair from France’s champion Flat trainer Andre Fabre: Le Brivido, successful in the G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last season, and Godolphin’s Jimmy Two Times. Godolphin has owned the winner in four of the past five runnings of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes and is the most successful owner of all-time in the contest with a total of eight successes.
Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien, seeking a second Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes success following runaway Hawk Wing (2003), has five contenders going forward headed by four-year-old filly Rhododendron, a G1 winner in 2017 and fourth to Cracksman in Sunday’s G1 Prix Ganay. The other possibles from Ballydoyle are Deauville, Lancaster Bomber, War Decree and War Secretary.
Beat The Bank (Andrew Balding) was a progressive performer in 2017, landing the G2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket, while Librisa Breeze (Dean Ivory) took the G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October and could step up in trip. Limato (Henry Candy) finished fourth in the 2016 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, prior to going on to glory in the G1 July Cup over six furlongs at Newmarket later the same season.
The evergreen six-year-old looked as good as ever in 2017, ending the season with victory in the G2 Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket. A year older then Limato is Lightning Spear, successful in the G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood for the past two seasons.
Others going forward Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes include the progressive Zabeel Prince (Roger Varian), comfortable winner of the Listed Doncaster Mile on his seasonal reappearance in March, and Suedois (David O’Meara), who made a successful transatlantic raid when landing the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland in October.
The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes has never been won by a German-trained horse, but a raider who could try and buck that statistic is Noor Al Hawa (Andreas Wohler), a dual G3 winner in Germany and also successful in the 2016 Qatar Derby at Doha. The next acceptance for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes is at the five-day stage on Monday, May 14, when there is also a £25,000 supplementary entry stage.