Aidan O’Brien aiming for back-to-back wins in Lockinge Stakes at Newbury
Naas to host ‘Royal Ascot trials day’ on Sunday, and Ryan Moore will travels over for half a dozen Ballydoyle rides
Le Brivido winning at Ascot in 2017. Ryan Moore has opted for him over I Can Fly in Saturday’s Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Photograph: Getty Images
Aidan O’Brien has back-to-back wins in his sights in Saturday’s Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Ryan Moore partnered Rhododendron to success in last year’s renewal of the mile highlight, and the Englishman has opted for Le Brivido over I Can Fly in a race also containing Ken Condon’s Romanised.
Last year’s surprise Irish 2,000 Guineas winner is officially joint top rated in the race with the star filly Laurens. Despite that he is among the outsiders for what appears to be an ultra-competitive race.
Romanised and Le Brivido were fifth and third respectively behind Imagining in last month’s Gladness Stakes at Naas, and significant improvement is anticipated from both.
It was Le Brivido’s first run for O’Brien, but Condon is ultra-familiar with his stable star and has reported: “This race is coming up at the right time. He seems to come to himself at this time of year.
“He didn’t get the clearest of runs [at Naas] so all in all we were pleased. I liked the way he went through the line. It was important he didn’t have a gruelling race first time out and he didn’t.”
The race after the Lockinge sees O’Brien run a pair of two-year-olds – including the regally bred Dundalk winner Fort Myers – in what could be a significant “sighter” ahead of Royal Ascot next month.
The same theme will be to the fore when Naas hosts a “Royal Ascot trials day” fixture on Sunday, and where Moore travels over for half a dozen Ballydoyle rides.
In recent years this meeting has seen Group One stars such as Alpha Centauri, Caravaggio and Sioux Nation feature, and there’s likely to be focus in particular on the Group Three Coolmore Sprint for juveniles.
Half a length separated Peace Charter and So Wonderful at the end of a maiden over course and distance just over a fortnight ago, and the two daughters of War Front clash again in the €80,000 feature.
Moore rides So Wonderful for the first time, and while she should step up for her debut experience there’s no reason why her rival shouldn’t either.
Perhaps the most impressive juvenile performance by a Ballydoyle runner this season so far came when Pistoletto stormed home by over five lengths at Tipperary. A similarly impressive display on Sunday could make him a major contender for next month’s Norfolk Stakes.