Botti hoping Moohaarib can step up as 19 go forward in Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes
Free entry for racegoers aged 22 and under on Saturday
Classic heroes Night Of Thunder and Karakontie headline 19 five-day confirmations for the £350,000 Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, May 16.
Night Of Thunder (Richard Hannon) lowered the colours of the mighty Kingman in last year’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, while Karakontie (Jonathan Pease FR) captured the French equivalent before ending the season with a decisive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
Dual Group One scorer Integral is reportedly on target for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and owner Cheveley Park Stud. They have combined to win the Lockinge Stakes four times, most recently with Peeress in 2006.
Moohaarib has been given the go-ahead following an impressive length and a quarter victory over Hors de Combat (James Fanshawe) in the Listed Paradise Stakes at Ascot on April 29.
It was a big step forward from the four-year-old, who had finished third on his comeback in the Lincoln at Doncaster on March 28.
Trainer Marco Botti said: “Moohaarib came out of Ascot really well and the plan is to run at Newbury.
“I think all of us were under the impression that he needed a bit of give in the ground because of his knee action. We were a little surprised at Ascot because the ground was very fast that day and all the jockeys that have rode him said he wants a bit of cut.
“You would have to be impressed with the way he won and he is improving all the time. He has got a pedigree that suggests he will get better with time and he is in great order at the moment.
“On his run at Ascot, I would say he will be competitive and, although he needs to step up again, we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on at this level.”
Other notables going forward include Custom Cut (David O’Meara), who has won four of his last five starts in Group company, Toormore (Richard Hannon) and Cougar Mountain (Aidan O’Brien IRE).
The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes boasts a prize fund of £350,000 in 2015, a 64 per cent increase on last year’s £214,000, with total prize money on offer of £750,000 on the day.
Al Shaqab Lockinge Day also features three Listed contests, starting with the £100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes (2.00pm) over 12 furlongs. The 13 entries include last year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Telescope (Sir Michael Stoute), Royal Ascot victor Elite Army (Saeed bin Suroor) and St Leger second Romsdal (John Gosden).
Commonwealth Cup hopefuls will go on trial in the £70,000 Toronado Carnarvon Stakes (2.35pm, 26 entries) over six furlongs. John Gosden has engaged Tendu, who was second to Commonwealth Cup favourite Limato at Ascot on April 29, and impressive Sandown scorer Waady.
Group Two winners Baitha Alga, Beacon (both Richard Hannon) and Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby) are in contention, while Aidan O’Brien’s three potential starters include the highly-regarded Father Frost.
The three-year-old fillies will put their Investec Oaks and Royal Ascot credentials to the test in the £70,000 Haras de Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes (4.20pm). The 10-furlong contest has attracted 16 entries, including eye-catching maiden winners Crystal Zvezda (Sir Michael Stoute), Martlet (John Gosden) and Pamona (Luca Cumani).
High-class handicap action comes courtesy of the £70,000 Al Zubarah London Gold
Cup (3.10pm, 22 entries) over 10 furlongs. Recent winners include Cannock Chase (2014, pictured right), multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem (2011) and subsequent Melbourne Cup hero Green Moon (2010).
The seven-race programme is bookended by the six-furlong £50,000 Olympic Glory Conditions Race (1.25pm, 14 entries) for the juveniles, which could feature impressive Ascot winner Log Out Island (Richard Hannon), and the £40,000 Planteur Handicap (4.55pm, 29 entries) over a mile.
Horses that have raced in Qatar are entered throughout the card, headed by Dubday in the Al Rayyan Stakes. The Jassim Al Ghazali-trained five-year-old landed Qatar’s flagship race, the HH The Emir’s Trophy, at Doha in February under Frankie Dettori.
Al Shaqab Racing and Newbury Racecourse have teamed up to offer free Grandstand entry to all racegoers aged 22 and under, to celebrate Al Shaqab’s sponsorship. Racegoers who wish to take advantage of this offer should bring Photo ID on the day and head for the Grandstand entrance. This offer is in addition to the BHA-approved initiative announced last week that offers free entry for all Stable Staff with a Stable Pass on Al Shaqab Lockinge Day.
The going is currently Good.