Ireland boasts seven of the 31 entries, five from Aidan O’Brien and one each from both Fozzy Stack and Ger Lyons, for the 2018 Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, part of the British Champions Series at Newbury on Saturday, 19th May.
The showpiece of Newbury’s Flat season, the Group 1 race will be the second contest in the mile category of the British Champions Series 2018 and has been won by some outstanding performers in recent years including Frankel, Canford Cliffs, Farhh and Ribchester.
Four-year-old filly Rhododendron, an impressive winner of the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile in 2016, was runner-up in two British Classics, the 1,000 Guineas (1m) and the Epsom Oaks (12f), last year before gamely taking the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera (10f) at Chantilly in October.
Her trainer Aidan O’Brien is responsible for five entries in total including US Grade 1 victor Deauville and Lancaster Bomber, who was second at Group 1 level in the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Woodbine Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2017.
Prix du Jockey Club fifth War Decree and War Secretary, absent since disappointing in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting in April, 2017, could also run for O’Brien, who sent out Hawk Wing to emphatic 2003 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes glory.
Ireland’s other two entries are Alexios Komnenos from the Fozzy Stack stable, and the Ger Lyons-trained Psychedelic Funk.
Four Godolphin contenders this year include the Andre Fabre-trained duo of Inns Of Court, who was beaten a short-head in the Group 1 Jacques Le Marois over a mile at Deauville in August, and Group 2 winner Jimmy Two Times.
Laugh Aloud (John Gosden) and Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills), both successful at Group 3 level, also could run in the famous royal blue silks.
In addition to Inns Of Court and Jimmy Two Times, Fabre has given an entry to exciting four-year-old Le Brivido, winner of three of his four starts. The Siyouni colt was denied by a short-head in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2,000 Guineas, last year and captured the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot in June on his only subsequent appearance.
Limato, trained by Henry Candy, gained two Group 1 victories over shorter distances in 2016, in the six-furlong July Cup at Newmarket and the Qatar Prix de la Foret over a furlong further at Chantilly.