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Lockinge Stakes – Jake Russell’s Preview + Verdict

The Lockinge Stakes is the feature race on offer this weekend and the list of winners includes some of flat racing’s leading stars over the years, including:

  • Canford Cliffs (2011)
  • Frankel (2012)
  • Ribchester (2017)
  • Palace Pier (2021)
  • Baaeed (2022)

GG Editor Jake Russell is on hand to give his thoughts on some of the key runners lining up in this year’s renewal, before giving his expert verdict on who he’s backing to come out on top.

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Odds correct at time of posting – 4pm Thursday 18th May

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One of the first real Group 1 contests of the season over the mile trip for the slightly older horses, it usually sees a decent field head to post on the day, with this being a stepping stone to the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting, before other massive Group 1 contests further on into the season.

We are going to talk about the main protagonists in the race, some of the bigger priced runners as well as our verdict on who we think will win the feature contest of the weekend.  

Modern Games – Charlie Appleby

Arguably the class act in the field, with probably the best form on offer, with multiple Group 1’s to his name including the French 2000 Guineas and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He already has a run this season, when coming second at Keeneland again in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes where he was beaten by just under 4 lengths. That was a decent enough run and given he has won 50% of his career races (7 wins in just 14 career starts) and never finished any worse than 5th in any race he could be very hard to stop. Previous form suggests he is the one to beat, but there are a few here that might have improved considerable from 3 to 4. However, given the horses connections you have to take him very seriously. 

Laurel – John & Thady Gosden

The only mare in the field who is a fascinating runner for the Gosden team, she has only had the four career runs so far, winning on debut at Newmarket, before going on to win at Kempton and come second in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. That was obviously a career best run, really showing she is a class horse given it was just her third ever career run, which is pretty remarkable. She has already had her seasonal re-appearance at Kempton, when contesting in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies Stakes, winning comfortably by just under 4 lengths. She does still have a fair bit to do on ratings compared to most of these, but she is clearly still improving, meaning she could improve enough to win a contest of this nature. She also gets the very valuable mares weight allowance, a huge plus for this improving filly. Shes a very interesting runner but is she good enough at this stage to win a proper Group 1 of this nature. 

My Prospero – William Haggas

The joint highest rated in the field, his career best runs have come over the slightly further trip of 1m2f, which was a win in the Group 2 at Saint-Cloud and a very decent 3rd in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October, only beaten by Bay Bridge and Adayar by half a length. As previously mentioned, his best trip might be slightly further than this the mile, but he does have some good form over the mile, winning the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown last year before going on to finish a neck 3rd in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. So arguably both of his best career performances so far have been ones where he’s beaten, but they were very classy races. No run yet this season however, which might not play into his favour given the other main protagonists have already had their seasonal re-appearances, but he is clearly talented and is trained by a trainer who does very well with these types of horses in these colours. 

Mutasaabeq – Charlie Hills

A horse that has become a bit of an enigma over the last few seasons, where he has been sent off a short priced favourite on three occasions last year and was beat on each occasion. That does leave a few question marks with him, but there is no doubting his talent when he puts it all together in a race. He does run very keen in his races, and probably does want to keep up with the pace early on, which he might to be able to accomplish here given the talented horses in the line-up. He probably put in a career best last time out when winning the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Newmarket, making all to power home and beat Native Trail by 3 lengths. He did look at his best last time, and vibes from the yard after that run suggest he could put it all together nicely this season, but given his running style, that might not suit a contest like this. 

Runners at a price: 

Light Infantry – David Simcock

This horse was a pretty decent two-year-old for David Simcock a few years back, winning on debut at Yarmouth before going on to win the Group 3 Horris Hill stakes at Newbury back in October 2021. He ran a career best when coming 2nd in the Group 1 at Deauville behind Inspiral, only beaten by a neck. He has already had the run this season when finishing 3 lengths behind Mutasaabeq at Newmarket, which was an encouraging enough run for his first one of the season. If he can re-produce that run at Deauville in this, he could go very well, but needs to take his form to a whole new level to win a race of this nature. 

Chindit – Richard Hannon

He is a cracking little horse who always goes well in these early season races, and he came 3rd in this contest behind Baaeed and Real World. He then landed a Group 2 contest at Ascot, a course he always runs very well at, but he does look to only really win his first start of the season now and does look to be up against it going against these proper Group 1 types. There might be a Group 2 race for him further on in the season, so keep an eye on his entries going forward. 

Triple Time – Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan and Neil Callan landed the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown earlier on in the week, lowering the colours of an odds-on favourite. They are a combination that like to cause a bit of an upset in these bigger races, and although Triple Time needs to improve a fair bit on ratings, he has won 3 out of his 6 career runs so far, including a Group 3 at Haydock. He did disappoint in a Group 2 at Longchamp next time out however and does have a 240-day absence to overcome, against some race fit rivals.  

Verdict: 

Although it is a very hard race to gauge, it is quite a classy contest on paper with some real proper Group 1 horses contesting it. I’m really torn between two runners, I love Laurel as a horse and although on ratings she needs to prove she can mix it with these, I just feel there is more to come from her given this will be just her 5th career run. Plus, she has already had the cobwebs blown away with that Kempton run last time out and has the mare’s allowance in this. Although that form is probably not Group 1 level, she won with ease and wasn’t really hard pressed to win by far, I think she will come on wonders from that run. William Haggas has come out and said this will be a steppingstone for My Prospero, whether he stays at the mile trip or heads back up in trip to 1m2f. He has the best form on offer, coming a close 3rd behind Bay Bridge and Adayar at Ascot in October, and if he can re-produce that on his seasonal re-appearance then he will be hard to peg back. We know William Haggas can be cautious when it comes to interviews, so what was said about the trip can be taken with a pinch of salt. I feel he wouldn’t been running him here if he wasn’t a genuine mile horse. My play would be to side with My Prospero at the current prices (Currently 9/2), however I wouldn’t be surprised to see Laurel run well.   


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