You know the flat campaign is well under way when last year’s Classic-winning crew start getting involved, with Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes, open to horses aged at least four years old, this weekend’s highlight.
The King of Stats has cast his regal glance over the field for this 1m Group 1, to bring punters the best advice based on a decade’s worth of runs.
Here’s what he found:
Seven of the past 10 Lockinge winners lost their previous race
Form isn’t a particularly good thing to be in going into this, with Paco Boy’s, Canford Cliffs’ and Frankel’s victories between 2010-12, having also won last time out, exceptions rather than rules.
At this early stage, out go Moohaarib and Custom Cut
The last nine winners have been five years old or younger
We lose the likes of last year’s runner-up Tulius, Trade Storm, Captain Cat and Aljamaaheer here.
Simply put, they’re too old.
Each of the last four were making their seasonal debut
For four years in a row, between 2007-11, the Lockinge winner already had at least one run in the bag during the campaign, but that trend has sharply reversed, meaning six of the past 10 hadn’t.
With that in mind, out go Top Notch Tonto, Hors De Combat, Here Comes When, Cougar Mountain, Cable Bay, Breton Rock and Arod.
All five winners since 2010 were officially rated 120 or higher
Of the remaining quintet in the 18-runner field, Richard Hannon’s Toormore comes close to making this mark at 119, but only one horse vaults over it, and just to push the point home…
Five of the last seven favourites have triumphed
It’s no fun tipping up short-priced winners, but 9/4 market leader Night Of Thunder, who claimed last year’s 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, looks primed to give Hannon a second successive Lockinge victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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