ITV Racing Tips: Palace Pier could be peerless for Gosdens and Dettori in Lockinge Stakes
Older horses get their first shot of 2021 at a British Group 1 prize today with the staging of the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
The 1m race was a victim of the pandemic last year when it was not found a slot in the rescheduled programme when racing emerged out of its shutdown. Not always one of the most competitive Group 1 races, it is historically used as a stepping stone to Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes.
This year’s edition is short of Group 1 winners, yet has attracted most people’s idea of Europe’s leading miler in the Palace Pier and a previous Queen Anne winner Lord Glitters.
There is a strong undercard featuring the Aston Park Stakes in which the emerging Al Aasy, an impressive winner of the John Porter last month, meets 2019 St Leger winner Logician, plus the London Gold Cup.
Away from Newbury would-be Derby candidates enter the last chance saloon at Newmarket which hosts the Fairway Stakes. John Leeper, a son of Frankel out of Oaks winner Snow Fairy who is named after the late John Dunlop and trained by his son Ed, looks set to go off favourite.
It all unfolds from 13:25pm on ITV and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing tips.
It is going to require a huge winning performance for any of these runners to cause a major ripple in the Derby market.
Four of the six runners are entered at Epsom with John Leeper the most prominent in the ante-post betting at 16/1. That has been earned in the wake of just one victory, in a Newcastle novice which he won by four lengths. He will have to show his price reflects his ability and not just his illustrious antecedents.
Flying High is another well bred colt, out of the G1-winning mare Zee Zee Top, who has also done his winning on the Tapeta at Newcastle. The north east was also where Tasman Bay got off the mark but he at least has recent turf experience, finishing a running on third in a Newbury conditions race that always produces a star or two.
Enable contested the same race and this year’s edition was won by Dante winner Hurricane Lane. That’s form that has to be taken seriously.
Group winners galore have come out of this three-year-old only handicap so it can pay not only to follow the winner but also keep an eye on what finishes behind it.
In the last edition Headman beat Sinjaari a neck after which the winner went on to land two Group 2 prizes and the runner-up the John Smith’s Cup at York, while the fourth Forest Of Dean won this year’s Winter Derby.
Defoe, Time Test, Cannock Chase and Al Kazeem are other former winners of the race. Bay Bridge and Highland Rocker are vying for favouritism and are closely matched, with just 1lb separating them in the handicap.
Both ran well in a novice won by Rebel’s Romance, the UAE Derby winner who is currently in New York preparing for the Belmont Stakes.
Highland Rocker showed a bit more than Bay Bridge and while both have gained easy wins since, the John and Thady Gosden-Frankie Dettori combination could have the edge again.
It’s very difficult to look past Palace Pier. The Gosdens-trained colt has won six out of seven, graduating from a handicap to win the St James’s Palace Stakes and Prix Jacques Le Marois last year and his eight lengths seasonal comeback victory at Sandown suggested he is bound for more of the same in 2021.
Aidan O’Brien relies on Lope Y Fernandez who has loads of experience at this level without having registered a G1 win. He has come close, finishing second in the Prix Jean Prat and third in the Breeders’ Cup MIle and is not one to give up on yet.
The each way value could be the lightly raced Lord Campari. Roger Varian had the proven Roseman and San Donato among the original entries but relies on Lord Campari who takes his first step into top company.
He has met Palace Pier before, finishing sixth on debut in a Sandown maiden as a juvenile, and was very impressive when making all to get off the mark over this course and distance first time out last year. He didn’t run after August but looks an interesting big price alternative to the hot favourite.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 15th May
13:50 Newbury – Carnarvon Stakes
14:05 Newmarket – Fairway Stakes
14:25 Newbury – Aston Park Stakes
14:40 Newmarket – King Charles II Stakes
15:00 Newbury – London Gold Cup
15:15 Newmarket – 6f handicap
15:35 Newbury – Lockinge Stakes
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.