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Special Features

Newbury Through The Card Selections – Who To Back In The Lockinge Among Six Others


The Group 1 Lockinge Stakes is the feature on Saturday at Newbury. GG have selections in the big race, plus the six others surrounding it on the card, alongside 888sport‘s handy sign-up bonus of £40 In Free Bets, When Your Bet £10.

Hierarchy (1.35 BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes) 4/1

Tiber Flow looks progressive for William Haggas, but there have to be concerns that he has never run on turf before. Similarly, there are some rivals here who were useful juveniles, who have generally transferred their form over to this season on their returns.

Cadmosto could easily go well for Aidan O’Brien stepped up to 6f, but he would have ground to find on certain form lines with both HIERARCHY and Ehraz. There was 1¾ lengths between that pair when they met up at Newmarket on their seasonal debuts.

Ehraz may have travelled more strongly into the race, but ultimately found little so while he may now improve with fitness on his side, there is no reason to doubt Hierarchy can improve just as much. Hugo Palmer’s charge was runner-up in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes last term when beaten only a neck and was consistent on the whole in Group company after victories on his first two starts.

Only the very useful Go Bears Go beat him when he reappeared in the Commonwealth Cup Trial at the end of last month. That performance suggests he is definitely up to winning in Listed company.


Without A Fight (2.10 Al Rayyan Stakes) 5/1

This is very tricky, as the Group 1 penalties for both Scope and Eshaada could put paid to their respective chances, despite holding a class edge on their rivals.

The former possibly wants further anyway and both may be able to show better form on a slower surface than they will find at Newbury this weekend. As such, WITHOUT A FIGHT may be best placed to take advantage, as he gets weight from the majority of the opposition bar Foxes Tales and Outbox.

The five-year-old was twice placed in Pattern company last spring, but may well have improved since then, as demonstrated when he was a cosy winner of a Newmarket Listed race on good-to-firm ground last September. He has since had two runs in Dubai to keep fresh and produced a career best when second to Hukum in a Group 2 at Meydan in March.

He was below that form in Group 1 company thereafter, but if that sojourn abroad has helped blow the cobwebs away, he could be difficult to beat here. A repeat of that Group 2 effort would see him go very close in this field.


Inverness (2.45 BetVictor London Gold Cup) 10/1

Shadwell Estate’s main priority will lie in the race after that in which Israr is the current favourite, but a win for him in the London Gold Cup would certainly be a good precursor to Baaeed.

Nevertheless, a line through Educator, his conqueror last time out, would give INVERNESS more than a fighting chance against him at a bigger price. Israr was beaten two lengths by that rival, conceding him 4lb while Inverness defeated Educator by a neck at Goodwood last term on level weights.

That would suggest there was not a lot to split the pair, as the handicapper would testify to. They are both rated 89, but Charlie Hills’ colt has done so through more challenging campaigning. He met 2000 Guineas hero Coreobus on debut and was sixth in Epsom’s Blue Riband Trial on his return.

Derby candidates Nahanni and United Nations both ran in that race and Inverness hung left down Epsom’s infamous camber that day. Given the form of that race has worked out well, there could easily be improvement to come from him off this mark and the track should suit him better.


Baaeed (3.20 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes) 4/9

The Lockinge will be a good test for BAAEED, who puts his unbeaten record on the line. Realistically, he should take a lot of stopping.

Palace Pier only got beaten twice in his career and only once when truly on song. That was because Baaeed was simply too good for him in last season’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day, where he won by a cosy neck margin. Both Mother Earth and Alcohol Free were trailing in his wake that day.

Both those fillies could offer more with the benefit of a run behind them here, notably Andrew Balding’s dual Group 1 winner. Siding against Baaeed from a winning perspective is difficult, as though Alcohol Free may not have been at her best on Champion Day, she still has 8¼ lengths to make up. That said, she should prove much better than on her return and is a lovely each-way price.

Will she beat Baaeed? Almost certainly not, especially with the news that a recent gallop had onlookers purring at the son of Sea The Stars’ power. He is the only contender without a recent run, but if he turns up in good shape, as he should given this has always been his early-season target, then few of these look capable of landing a blow on him.


Sierra Blanca (3.55 BetVictor Conditions Stakes) 3/1

The form of Persian Force’s Brockelsby win has worked out well and he fairly powered home on a very taking debut that day.

He looked to possess significant speed, which is why it is interesting that connections have immediately upped him to 6f. Richard Hannon has won four of the six renewals of this race, including with Persian Force’s sire Mehmas, so that should not make too much ill difference, but there is enough doubt given there is a particularly fascinating entrant up against him.

That horse is SIERRA BLANCA, who has surely been specifically targeted at this by Aidan O’Brien, who has won this with one of only two runners he has had in this contest. He is by No Nay Never, traditionally a very good sire of two-year-olds for the yard, including The Irish Rover, O’Brien’s winner in this race in 2018.

He gets 3lb from Hannon’s juvenile, as well as the other winner Holguin and is worth chancing in this small field as one who could be very useful.


Nashwa (4.30 Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes) 4/5

By Frankel and out of a Listed winning mare, there is no wonder the strikingly named NASHWA looks destined for the top.

Add an “n” and you get the phenomenal 1989 2000 Guineas and Derby winner, but whie this filly was not forward enough to take her chance in the 1000 Guineas, the Oaks could well be within her range. Her yard already have the favourite for that race in recent Musidora winner Emily Upjohn, but Nashwa made a similar impression with a recent novice success at Haydock.

The runner-up may have only been second again next time out, but by five fewer lengths than she was pumped by Nashwa last month. Similarly, the third, Love Interest, was third in Listed company on Friday.

Her turn of foot was such that Hollie Doyle never had to administer a serious strike of the whip, as her mount had already bounded clear of her rivals.

There is probably even more to come now over 1m2f. She is one of only 18 left in Epsom’s fillies Classic, for which she is a best-priced 12/1. She can book her place with victory here.


Muraad (5.04 Connect It Utility Services Handicap) 16/1

A very unusual handicap concludes Newbury’s card, as it is easy to pick holes in a number of contenders, not least the principals.

Notre Belle Bete has saved his best for the all-weather and has not looked an especially eminent turf winner on his form last time out (beaten by a rank outsider into third). Behind him was Forest Falcon, who at 1lb better off with Notre Belle Bete, does not strike as obvious value either.

Rebel Territory was not seen to best effect the only time he has raced after a break of greater than 50 days, Oh This Is Us remains in the grip of the handicapper at the age of nine and Sinjaari is taking a very notable drop down in trip, which may not prove effective. 

Gifted Ruler may prefer more cut in the ground, while Top Secret bookended his 2021 season with heavy, down-the-field defeats. That leaves the two who are coming off the longest layoffs at the bottom of the market in Beringer and MURAAD.

The former is better treated if able to produce his very best, as when second off 3lb lower to future Group 1 winner Lord North in the 2019 Cambridgeshire. However, 630 days on from his last racecourse appearance, there must be some doubts about his fitness.

Owen Burrows’ Muraad does not have quite as great a break to overcome, for all he has not raced for nearly a year. Though very underwhelming the last time he ran fresh, he might not have been right last season. If any fitness issues have been resolved, he is only 1lb higher than his last winning mark, and his form after a break of at least seven weeks otherwise reads at 122.


Saturday’s Newbury Selections:

Hierarchy (1.35 BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes) 4/1

Without A Fight (2.10 Al Rayyan Stakes) 5/1

Inverness (2.45 BetVictor London Gold Cup) 10/1

Baaeed (3.20 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes) 4/9

Sierra Blanca (3.55 BetVictor Conditions Stakes) 3/1

Nashwa (4.30 Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes) 4/5

Muraad (5.04 Connect It Utility Services Handicap) 16/1

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