Latest Horse Racing News – 22 May 2017

Ribchester Leads Lockinge Field A Merry Dance and Caravaggio Calls The Tune In Ireland

Saturday’s Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury is always one of the most eagerly anticipated early season one mile contests. This year’s renewal certainly whet the appetite as it looked to provide us with a mouth-watering clash between last season’s 2000 Guineas hero, Galileo Gold, and one of the most consistent Group performers from last season, Ribchester. In the end, we didn’t quite get the ding dong battle many would have hoped for, as Galileo Gold didn’t look anything like his best, and was reportedly unsuited by the underfoot conditions.

What we did get was a top-class performance from Ribchester who was simply in a different league to his rivals. His display was all the more noteworthy considering his pacemaker, Toscanini, missed the break and it was therefore left to Ribchester to make all of the running. That he was able to do so with such aplomb suggests he has matured well over the winter, and he is a horse to be reckoned with in all the top one mile contests.

Bet365 make him their 7/4 favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes on the back of this display. Trainer Richard Fahey is certainly in no doubt as to his ability, stating in the aftermath, “I’ve got to say he’s the best horse I’ve ever trained.”.

Given the legends Ballydoyle has played host to over the years, it seems unlikely Caravaggio is the best horse Aidan O’Brien has ever trained. He may however very well be the fastest. O’Brien certainly seems to be of that opinion, commenting that, “We’ve never seen one quicker than him at home…”. Given his displays on the track to date, it is beginning to look as though we won’t see anything as quick as him on the racecourse either.

Sunday saw the son of Scat Daddy make his much anticipated comeback in a Group 3 at Naas, where despite a tardy start, he once again simply blew his rivals away in the end. Now a perfect five from five in his career to date, Sky Bet make him an 11/8 shot for the Commonwealth Cup. In this sort of form, he looks to take some stopping wherever he lines up this season.

Dream Over For Pletcher

Looking further afield, Saturday evening saw the second leg of America’s prestigious Triple Crown take place, as Pimlico played host to the Preakness Stakes. Todd Pletcher’s, Always Dreaming, had bagged the first leg of the Triple Crown when landing a famous win in the Kentucky Derby, and was sent off the 6/5 favourite to follow up here.

This was not to be his day however as he faded badly in the closing stages. Chad Brown’s Cloud Computing was the horse to finish best of all to claim the prize, as this year’s dream of a triple crown winner was ended.

Frankel Breaks His Classic Duck

The mighty Frankel has made an impressive start as a stallion and Sunday saw his progeny move up a gear, with a first Classic success. Where guineas also-rans, Fair Eva, Queen Kindly, Dream Castle and Eminent had failed, Soul Stirring succeeded when running out a cosy winner of the Japanese Oaks. A first classic winner for the greatest flat horse of all time, it surely won’t be the last.