KINGSCLERE’S Andrew Balding makes a double assault on the record-breaking £350,000 Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday when Here Comes When and Tullius take on a top class field.
Here Comes When’s superb 2014 campaign ended with the five-year old scoring a brace of impressive Group Two victories, over a mile at Baden-Baden in Germany in September and when winning the seven-furlong Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October.
He went down by a length and a half to fellow Al Shaqab Lockinge contender Custom Cut when second on his first outing of this year in the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown Park in April, but is reported to be in good form for Newbury’s Saturday showpiece.
Tullius is set to make a second appearance in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes after chasing home Olympic Glory in the mile contest 12 months ago. The seven-year-old was subsequently fourth over the same trip in two more Group One races at a mile, the Queen Anne Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Following a comfortable success in a mile Listed race at Doncaster on March 28, Tullius stepped up to 10 furlongs for the Group Two Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown Park on April 24, in which he finished fourth.
"We plan to run both,” said Balding, “I think Here Comes When is an overlooked horse. He has twice won at Group Two level and ran a good trial when second on his reappearance at Sandown last month. He can take a grip in his races and any rain will help.
"Any rain will also help Tullius. He was a bit disappointing when we ran him over 10 furlongs at Sandown last time. However, he was second in the Lockinge last year and won well on his reappearance over a mile at Doncaster.
"I think they are two lively outsiders."
A total of 19 five-day confirmations remained for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, although French challenger Karakontie will miss the race with a minor foot problem.
Richard Hannon, who sent out Olympic Glory to victory 12 months ago, is due to be represented by last year's QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder and 2013 European champion two-year-old Toormore.
Dual Group One-winning mare Integral will aim to provide Sir Michael Stoute with an eighth success in the race, while Moohaarib, representing Marco Botti, is set to step up in class following an easy recent Listed win at Ascot.
The first 1,958 racegoers to arrive at Newbury on Saturday will be given a free Al Shaqab Lockinge Day cap, to mark the start of Al Shaqab's sponsorship and to celebrate the fact that the Lockinge Stakes was first run in 1958.
Al Shaqab Lockinge Day also features three Listed contests, starting with the £100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes (2.00pm) over 12 furlongs, which could feature last year's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Telescope. Group Two winners Baitha Alga, Beacon and Jungle Cat feature among 26 contenders