The week leading up to the Al Shaqab Lockinge weekend saw a barrage of rain hitting Newbury causing the going description to change to Heavy. With a few drying days, Saturdays racing went off as Good, Good to Soft in places.
The Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes for two years over six furlongs kicked off the day. Global Applause the impressive four length winner at Newmarket on his previous start went off the 4/6 favourite. Richard Hannon had his first runner of the day in the form of MEHMAS, the recent winner of a Maiden at Chester over the five furlong trip. Owned by Al Shaqab, Frankie had him settled towards the rear of the field, he travelled smoothly throughout and looming up with a furlong to go went clear taking the race by three and a quarter lengths. ‘We really liked him at the Craven Breeze Up sale and thought he was a must have. He has been a real gentleman to deal with at home and having done very little with him we didn’t know quite how good he is. The obvious race for him now is the Coventry at Royal Ascot where he should take a lot of beating. On his pedigree he should have no problem getting seven furlongs in time and he really helps himself with his attitude.’
LOG OUT ISLAND went to post in some very different gear on Saturday as Richard put the Hood on for the first time. With James Doyle in the saddle, he was smartly away from the stalls and quickly asserted a long lead. With two furlongs to go, everything was off the bridle in behind and he just kept finding all the way to the line. ‘I couldn’t believe how far clear he was in running. I had in my head that he would have to stop going at the speed, however he just kept going and won easily in the end. He has set some serious fractions and for him to gallop out to the line is a real showing of his ability. The Commonwealth Cup is where he will head next and if he can relax in the preliminaries and run a similar race he should be right there at the finish. KING OF ROOKS my other runner, I thought ran a cracker. He has been off the track a long time and looked fairly big in the paddock. He will improve plenty for the run and will be heading to the same place. They are two great horses to have in the yard and should be very competitive at Ascot.’ On the Commonwealth Cup ‘There has always been a space for a race of its kind and having had an incredible start to its career last year, its going to be very handy for these three year old sprinters to take the step before taking on the older horses.’
FASHAAK ran at Doncaster in the Al Shaqab colours in the Seven Furlong Handicap. He was prominent throughout and took up the lead with two furlongs to go, winning by three quarters of a length. ‘He has taken some time to get fit and now he seems right there in the right race over the right trip. He seems like a nice progressive three year old to have in the yard for the year.’
Of the other runners on the day, ‘TOORMORE ran a nice race but looking back at it he had every chance. The mile division this year looks to be competitive and I can see all these horses heading to the Queen Anne and there could be a very different result. I take nothing away from the winner who was a Group One winner as a two year old and seems right back to form. The plan now is for him to head to Royal Ascot and then see. A couple of others of note were DANEHILL KODIAC who ran very well to finish fourth in the London Gold Cup, having done very well over the winter. He will improve a lot for the run and could be winning some competitive handicaps this year. TORCH a son of Paco Boy ran a nice second at Newmarket in the Mile Maiden. He keeps on improving and now he has a handicap mark should be winning races very shortly. He will be ideally suited by a flatter track and a little bit further in trip.’