Here Comes When & Tullius set for Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes
Free Al Shaqab Lockinge Day Cap for first 1,958 racegoers
Andrew Balding is readying a two-strong assault on the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (3.45pm) with Here Comes When and Tullius on course for the £350,000 highlight at Newbury on Saturday, May 16.
Here Comes When enjoyed a superb campaign in 2014 and the five-year-old ended his season with a pair of impressive Group Two victories, scoring over a mile at Baden-Baden, Germany, in September and taking the seven-furlong Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October.
He went down by a length and a half to fellow Al Shaqab Lockinge contender Custom Cut when second on his first outing of this year in the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown Park on April 24.
Tullius is set to make a second appearance in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes after chasing home Olympic Glory in the mile contest 12 months ago. The seven-year-old was subsequently fourth over the same trip in two more Group One races at a mile, the Queen Anne Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Following a comfortable success in a mile Listed race at Doncaster on March 28, Tullius stepped up to 10 furlongs for the Group Two Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown Park on April 24, in which he finished fourth.
Balding, who trains locally in Kingsclere, reported today: “We plan to run both Here Comes When and Tullius in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
“I think Here Comes When is an overlooked horse. He has twice won at Group Two level and ran a good trial when second on his reappearance at Sandown last month. He can take a grip in his races and any rain will help.
“Any rain will also help Tullius. He was a bit disappointing when we ran him over 10 furlongs at Sandown last time. However, he was second in the Lockinge last year and won well on his reappearance over a mile at Doncaster.
“I think they are two lively outsiders.”
A total of 19 five-day confirmations remained for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, although French challenger Karakontie will miss the race with a minor foot problem.
Richard Hannon, who sent out Olympic Glory to victory 12 months ago, is due to be represented by last year’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder and 2013 European champion two-year-old Toormore.
Dual Group One-winning mare Integral will aim to provide Sir Michael Stoute with an eighth success in the race, while Moohaarib, representing Marco Botti, is set to step up in class following an easy recent Listed win at Ascot.
The first 1,958 racegoers to arrive at Newbury on Saturday will be given a free Al Shaqab Lockinge Day cap, to mark the start of Al Shaqab’s sponsorship and to celebrate the fact that the Lockinge Stakes was first run in 1958.
Al Shaqab Lockinge Day also features three Listed contests, starting with the £100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes (2.00pm) over 12 furlongs, which could feature last year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Telescope.
Group Two winners Baitha Alga, Beacon and Jungle Cat feature among 26 contenders for the £70,000 Toronado Carnarvon Stakes (2.35pm) over six furlongs, while eye-catching maiden winners Crystal Zvezda, Martlet and Pamona head 16 entries for the 10-furlong £70,000 Haras de Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes (4.20pm).
High-class handicap action is provided by the £70,000 Al Zubarah London Gold Cup (3.10pm, 22 entries) and the seven-race programme is bookended by the six-furlong £50,000 Olympic Glory Conditions Race (1.25pm, 14 entries) and the £40,000 Planteur Handicap (4.55pm, 29 entries) over a mile.
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.