Ribchester primed to take gold in Lockinge Stakes

Ribchester primed to take gold in Lockinge Stakes
By Sportsbeat

20/05/2017 at 08:57Updated

You pays your money, you takes your choice as two top milers clash for the fifth time in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Galileo Gold and Ribchester are deadlocked at 2-2 in their head-to-head after four races last season, which started with the former's 2000 Guineas classic win at Newmarket.

But Frankie Dettori is full of confidence he can land the group one Qipco British Champions Series race for the fifth time under the strongly-supported Galileo Gold.

"Frankie knows the horse very well and we're very excited about running him," said trainer Hugo Palmer.

"We have had him fit and ready for some time and I'm looking forward to seeing him out again. He is one of the few horses that is not ground dependent plus he is more relaxed this year."

Palmer admits Dettori 'fell out of love' with the horse after two disappointing runs late last season, most notably after a dawdling fifth place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day.

"I think things were a bit on the rocks between the two of them after that run," jokes Palmer. "But the magic is back now, Frankie knows what an engine he has and they're back in love again."

Ribchester has already enjoyed a run this season, finishing third when stepping up in distance for the Dubai Turf during the recent World Cup meeting at Meydan.

That night saw him struggle for stamina as he went beyond a mile for the first time but he'll have fellow Godolphin runner Toscanini as a pacesetter and the softer conditions make him a preference in what looks a fascinating showdown. "We thought about giving him a break after Dubai but he came back fresh and everything has gone according to plan since and there's no issues," said trainer Richard Fahey.

"The ground certainly won't bother him because he's already won on softer ground in his career. We're really happy, his work at home has been spot on."

Just over 200 miles separate York's Knavesmire from Buckingham Palace but you could almost hear the cheer of racing's most famous fan as Her Majesty The Queen's Dartmouth underlined his status as one of the sport's top stayers with a thrilling victory in the Yorkshire Cup.

Under a patient and well-judged ride from Ryan Moore, the Sir Michael Stoute trained horse won the first long-distance race in this year's Champions Series, surging down the stand rail to edge victory as couple of lengths covered the first five home.

It means the Queen will go to Royal Ascot next month with a live chance of recording her 24th success at the meeting, with Dartmouth quickly installed as favourite to retain his Hardwicke Stakes crown.

"It would be a big ask to go for the Gold Cup," said John Warren, the Queen's racing manager, when asked if there was a temptation to follow in the footsteps of the Queen's famous 2013 Ascot winner Estimate.

"He is a Hardwicke horse through and through and he’s not getting any younger. I think we’ll stick to a mile and a half at Ascot and then maybe try to stretch him out a bit."

Sportsbeat 2017