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20 May 2017

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1)


The Lockinge is a race relentlessly won by 4 or 5-y-o's with either Group 1 winning form, or confirmed Group 1 class. For instance, since 2003, if we purely take Group 1 winners in that age group, such runners have returned no fewer than 10 winners from just 19 qualifiers, and a blind level stakes profit to SP of +£21.95.

The qualifiers this year are Ribchester and 2000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold, who's sire Paco Boy was one of the 10 winners noted above.

Ribchester is strongly fancied to re-assert the dominance he displayed in the second half of their 3-y-o season, although whether he does remains to be seen and could prove a trifle hasty as the latter had some obvious excuses.

After winning the Guineas, Galileo Gold engaged in two mighty tussles with The Ghurka - winning the St James Palace and losing out in the Sussex Stakes (but still beating Ribchester). Galileo Gold's season stumbled thereafter, turned out quickly in France. In hindsight connections must regret that move, it was no way to treat a horse of his calibre.

His sire Paco Boy was nothing if not progressive, and a horse who was always intelligently campaigned, and tended to be given a month between starts. Paco Boy was always a very good horse fresh, especially early season, and Galileo Gold gives off precisely the same vibe.

Perhaps though the biggest fly in the ointment is Hugo Palmer's stable form, which has been quiet, although they are a yard who tend to build and do their best work from June or July onwards. Again, it feels hasty to write them off, and 9/2 about a Guineas winner feels too big to ignore. Al Shaqab will have had nothing else in mind for him.

I think it's a chance worth taking - Galileo Gold has reportedly looked superb in his work at home. He also has Frankie in the plate which is always a plus in a race of this class.

Good luck,

Galileo Gold, 1pt win 9/2 various

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:

Visit WWW.KEYRACINGNEWS.COM

** Feedback: Beaten fair and square, didn't get home in the conditions which proved very testing. Ribchester though, was different class and is probably the best older miler in Europe now. Another winner for the Lockinge stat noted above **

A fully primed Galileo Gold could be underestimated in the Lockinge Stakes

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