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Limato leads the way for Lockinge

Local trainers mount challenges in £350,000 Newbury showpiece

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Limato leads the way for Lockinge

LIMATO heads the 31 acceptors for the £350,000 Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 14.

Trained by Henry Candy, the four-year-old was an impressive three and a half-length winner of the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster in September. He is yet to run over a mile.

Richard Hannon’s runner-up of last year Toormore proved he is as good as ever on his seasonal debut with a gutsy victory over Dutch Connection in the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown Park last week.

And Lambourn trainer Charlie Hills is hoping Dutch Connection can reverse the form at Newbury. The four-year-old landed the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and was just touched off by Territories in the Group One Prix Jean Prat over a mile.

Hills said: “I think he is up to that level and quicker ground will suit because he has plenty of speed. The horse who beat him at Sandown was second last year when arguably unlucky.

“Dutch Connection has obviously done his winning at places like Ascot so the straight track will suit. All being well, I think we have got a good chance.”

Other high-profile confirmations include Group Two Joel Stakes scorer Time Test from Roger Charlton, and Clive Cox’s Kodi Bear, who captured the Group Two Celebration Mile impressively at Goodwood last season.

Five Irish-trained entries include last year's Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Endless Drama from Ger Lyons’ stable, and four from the powerful stable of Aidan O'Brien - Cougar Mountain, Dick Whittington, Sir Issac Newton and The Happy Prince.

The five-day confirmation stage is on Monday, May 9, when supplementary entries can also be made at a cost of £16,000.

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