The first G1 race of the British Flat season will be Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, traditionally, held at the Newbury racecourse this Saturday, where unbeaten Baaeed is about to launch his 2022 campaign.
He’s the favorite here, but his most serious rivals have already recorded at least one outing in the ongoing season, so it’s possible that Baaeed won’t be ever more vulnerable in 2022 than on Saturday.
Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes
The G1 turf race attracted a field of eight four-year-old and older horses which were about to compete for the purse of £350,000 over the distance of a mile. Without a doubt, the leading victory candidate is four-year-old colt Baaeed trained by William Haggas.
The son of Sea the Stars was too green at the beginning of the season 2021 and thus didn’t aim at the Classic glory and recorded his debut in June. After bagging two smaller races, he went on to score at the Listed and G3 levels, and because he did so in a great fashion, he was the clear favourite for his G1 debut that happened in the Prix du Moulin in Longchamp.
Baaeed didn’t hesitate and scored the prestigious feat before taking on the absolute European elite of milers in Ascot’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. For the first time, the bay colt had to dig deep to prevail over Palace Pier, but he managed. If he overcomes the disadvantage of lacking the preparatory start, Baaeed should extend his unbeaten record here.
At first sight, neither of his Saturday rivals should better the favourite as Baaeed left them easily behind in 2021; however, the couple of four-year-old fillies look quite good here. Aidan O’Brien bound Mother Earth scored the 1000 Guineas last year and just once was worse than fifth at the G1 scene; in other words, she successfully travelled both to France and Hong Kong to meet even with colts and geldings.
She is a gutsy filly who did enough in her seasonal debut in March when striking gold in a G3 race. Unlike Alcohol Free, Mother Earth just doesn’t care about the ground she runs on, as the mentioned rival is at her best on anything deeper than good to soft. When facing soft or heavy, Alcohol Free achieved her duo of G1 victories, but as she ran on the good in April, she managed only an underwhelming third place in a G2 race. She needs to improve on that; otherwise, she won’t have a chance against Baaeed.
Another four-year-old to mention is reliable Chindit who scored easily a Listed race in March, while the last to talk about is five-year-old Real World trained by Saeed bin Suroor. He spent most of his career in Dubai, but in 2021, he achieved four victories out of four starts when running in Europe, including scoring the G2 in Longchamp. Return to the turf surface should suit him.
|Horse||Jockey||Horse Racing Odds by JazzSports|
|New Mandate||Richard Kingscote||+1800|
|Real World||Daniel Tudhope||+800|
|Sir Busker||Hollie Doyle||+5000|
|Sunray Major||Frankie Dettori||+2500|
|Alcohol Free||Rob Hornby||+1000|
|Mother Earth||Ryan Moore||+500|
Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Betting Prediction
Baaeed due to his 2021 exploits, but we’re quite interested in how Real World will fare in such a company.
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