We have a quality-looking card at Newbury on Saturday with the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes the highlight, and Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has a strong book of rides to discuss...
"The quicker ground here is no problem, and she is a versatile dual Group 1 winner, who has also been runner-up three times in the highest grade."
- Ryan Moore on Rhododendron
Back to sprinting set to suit
This looks a tough race to call but Murillo was a very smart juvenile, placed in the Coventry and the Railway Stakes, and he ran a very encouraging race when ninth in the Guineas on his reappearance, beaten only six lengths. You would have to think that the return to 6f will suit, and clearly fast ground suits him well. He probably has as good a chance as any in here.
Very satisfied with progressive colt
We have to give 3lb to a couple of decent horses here. Raheen House may have run badly at Ascot on his return but he is very smart on his day, and Second Step loves it around here. But I was very satisfied with Crystal Ocean's comeback defeat of a race-fit and progressive rival in Fabricate over 1m2f at Sandown - especially as a lot of our horses have been needing their first run - and the step up in trip is an obvious plus for this St Leger runner-up.
The ground will hopefully be okay for him - he seems to handle most types anyway, and I don't anticipate any problems - and he is a horse I would like to see progress in good races as the season develops. We think a lot of him.
A bit of luck needed in wide-open Lockinge
You can throw a blanket over several of these form-wise, and I wouldn't have thought anybody would be going into the race feeling too confident, not least because you will probably need a fair bit of luck in running with 16 lining up.
We have decided to bring Rhododendron back in trip, as I think a strongly-run mile - and you would expect plenty of pace in here - could see her in a better light than the 1m2f or so of the Ganay. I was happy with her reappearance there though, and she will hopefully come on a good deal for it as she got a bit tired late on. The quicker ground here is no problem, and she is a versatile dual Group 1 winner, who has also been runner-up three times in the highest grade.
There are several potential winners in here though, and I certainly wouldn't rule out her stablemates Deauville and Lancaster Bomber. Both are high-class milers on fast ground, and both have had a run. Deauville definitely needed it at Newmarket, and the form has been franked by the winner at Chester.
It's a deep race though. Limato is a dual Group 1 winner like my filly and probably brings the best back form into the race. He was impressive at Newmarket last season, and Henry Candy has always thought he would stay a mile; he may stay better as he gets older. Addeybb has been very impressive at Doncaster and Sandown, but he now steps up in class on quicker ground. He ideally may need a bit more ease, along with Beat The Bank, but we will soon find out.
Rover out to make amends
He doesn't get any weight from the five winners in this conditions race, but everyone saw how unfortunate he was at Ascot last time, We lost the race coming out of the stalls, and he did very well to be narrowly beaten in a virtual four-way photo. Let's hope he can make amends here, and the quicker ground may suit him better, too.
Improvement needed from well-related filly
She probably put up her best effort yet when just touched off in a heavy-ground maiden over a mile at the Curragh last time. She steps back up in trip on much quicker ground, and her pedigree suggests that will suit. She is a half-sister to the fast-ground Irish Oaks winner Bracelet. But, of course, she needs to improve a good deal here, and Crystal Hope was pretty impressive when beating the Musidora winner by 3 lengths at Sandown.
Workable mark looks okay for progressive gelding
He was progressive last season and ran two decent races at Lingfield in January. We haven't seen him since and he has been gelded in the interim, and he wears a first-time hood, so I am not sure those are necessarily positives. But a mark off 96 looks okay, and a mile on quick ground clearly suits him.