Newbury: Can “Unexposed” Laurel Beat the Colts in the Lockinge?

Laurel | Racingfotos.com

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Newbury's G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge S. has been a happy hunting ground for some top fillies in recent times and Saturday's renewal features another as TDN Rising Star Laurel (GB) (Kingman {GB}) takes aim at the colts. Dazzling with her sectionals in a Kempton novice in September, the daughter of Promising Lead (GB) (Danehill) was sent into battle for the G1 Sun Chariot S. by the normally more-reserved Gosdens just days later and justified that risk by beating all bar Fonteyn (GB) (Farhh {GB}) in the Newmarket contest. With a confidence-enhancing win behind her in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies' S. back at Kempton last month, the homebred will have the respect of all opposition in the race conquered by the likes of Russian Rhythm (GB) (Kingmambo), Peeress (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), Red Evie (Ire) (Intikhab) and Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

“Laurel is very unexposed,” Juddmonte's racing manager Barry Mahon said. “Last year we threw her in the deep end after two easy wins and it looked for a minute like she was going to pull it off in big style. That day there was a little bit of bias towards the stands' side and I think a combination of greenness and the other horse just getting a nice run up the rail saw her just get run out of it late on.”

Let The Games Begin

With Godolphin's Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) setting the standard bidding to provide the operation with a record-extending ninth renewal, the race to the Queen Anne is well and truly underway for the older milers. Sunderland Holding's My Prospero (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) has something to find at this trip, but showed the best form of these overall as a 3-year-old when a close-up third in the G1 Champion S. at Ascot in October. Still unexposed and low on mileage, the William Haggas trainee made relentless strides after his third in the G1 St James's Palace S. at Royal Ascot to Champions Day and he may just be the class act in the line-up.
Haggas is cautious, with the homebred having missed his intended reintroduction last month. “I wanted very much to run him in the Paradise Stakes at Ascot, but his scope wasn't very good,” he said. “The reason I wanted to run there was to see if he was quick enough for the Queen Anne, or the Prince of Wales's Stakes. I'm pretty sure he's Prince of Wales's. So, having missed that, we are then a bit on the back foot and it was either this or the Prix d'Ispahan and I thought the d'Ispahan was a bit too close to Ascot for his first run, so we're coming here. I'm pretty sure a mile is not his best trip, but he's fresh and well and I think he'll run a nice race. I hope he's got a big season ahead of him.”

Time For An Upset?

So far in 2023, the flat action at Newbury has seen fields strung out more than normal and Friday's big-priced winners suggest an upset is far from off the cards here. Kevin Ryan's horses have been ripping it up at York all week and the Hambleton handler has a live Lockinge contender in Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's Triple Time (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), the latest notable out of the owner-breeder's remarkable Reem Three (GB) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire}). His first run back in 2022 resulted in an impressive success in the G3 Superior Mile and while this is another level, he is open to improvement. Another who has potential to shake things up is last year's G1 Prix Jacques le Marois runner-up Light Infantry (Fr) (Fast Company {Ire}), who was just a neck down on Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}) when tackling a straight mile. “He's proven he's a group one performer,” trainer David Simcock said. “It is a very open Lockinge and I should think everybody thinks they've got a little shout.”

Can Yibir Complete The Trifecta?

There is plenty of intrigue on the Lockinge card, with the G3 Aston Park S. seeing the return of another of Godolphin's transatlantic stalwarts in Yibir (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), whose last public sighting came when winning the G2 Princess Of Wales's S. at Newmarket's July Festival. After the successful comebacks of the 5-year-olds Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and Adayar (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), it is up to the third of the big trio of 2021 to keep up Charlie Appleby's momentum. “He went for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and we were very pleased with how he went,” his trainer said. “If he can bring the level of form he showed as a three-year-old and what we saw last year, he is going to be the one they all have to beat.”

Haskoy Back For More

Yibir faces the potentially daunting prospect of facing Juddmonte's Haskoy (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}) on Saturday and the fast-improving St Leger supplementary is one of the more intriguing older fillies in action this term. Added to the Doncaster Classic following her impressive success in York's Listed Galtres S. in August, she was perhaps controversially demoted from second to fourth behind New London (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Friday's G2 Yorkshire Cup winner Giavellotto (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) and that form has a vastly more solid look after the way the latter and the Leger hero Eldar Eldarov (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) went through their race on Friday.
“She's a star–to jump up from winning a maiden on the all-weather, to then win a stakes race at York days later and then be thrown in at the deep end into a St Leger and finish second past the post,” Barry Mahon said of the Ralph Beckett trainee. “She's a good filly, but she's just taken a bit of time to come to hand.”

Star Style

Newbury also stages a fascinating renewal of the Listed BetVictor Carnarvon S., in which Godolphin's G2 Gimcrack S.-winning TDN Rising Star Noble Style (GB) (Kingman {GB}) backs up quickly after his highly creditable sixth in Newmarket's G1 2000 Guineas. Ballydoyle's own TDN Rising Star Aesop's Fables (Ire) (No Nay Never) continues on the sprinting route which could also lead to the G1 Commonwealth Cup, with his success in The Curragh's seven-furlong G2 Futurity S. not quite the distant memory his odds suggest here. TDN Rising Star material can also be found in the Listed Haras de Bouquetot Fillies' Trial S., where Juddmonte's Salisbury novice winner Bluestocking (GB) (Camelot {GB}) looks to stay in a competitive Oaks picture.
Another Beckett representative on an important day for the stable, Barry Mahon said of Bluestocking, “Unfortunately we missed Lingfield, which was where we wanted to go and she has taken time to come to herself like a lot of fillies this spring. We're just waiting for her to come and bloom and she's coming. Everyone is happy with her, she's not 100 per-cent there yet, but she's coming and just about ready to start.”

Fantastic Prospect At Iffezheim

Baden-Baden's G3 Japan Racing Association – Derby-Trial should offer some big clues ahead of the G1 Deutsches Derby, with likely favourite Fantastic Moon (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) out to put a latest drubbing at the hands of Mr Hollywood (Ire) (Iquitos {Ger}) behind him. Beaten 7 1/2 lengths by that TDN Rising Star in Munich's G3 Bavarian Classic at the start of the month, Liberty Racing's G3 Preis des Winterfavoriten winner faces four more unbeaten and unexposed colts including Gestut Karlshof's highly-regarded Straight (Ger) (Zarak {Fr}). A relative of Monsun's domestic Derby-winning siblings Schiaparelli (Ger) and Samum (Ger), he hails from the Andreas Wohler stable. A deep contest also features a TDN Rising Star in search of redemption in Gestut Rottgen's Aspirant (Ger) (Protectionist {Ger}), who is up in trip following his well-beaten fourth in Krefeld's G3 Dr Busch-Memorial with something to prove.

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