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Balding hoping for King Power glory

Beat The Bank could provide King Power Racing with their first Group 1 winner on Saturday

ANDREW Balding, trainer of Beat The Bank, is hoping he can provide owners King Power Racing Co Ltd with their first Group 1 winner in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday.

The five-year-old has staked a claim for this weekend’s showpiece after winning the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown Racecourse last month.

And when he steps up to Group 1 once again, the Kingsclere-based trainer is confident of a strong run.

“I am very happy with him,” said Balding. “He won his trial race at Sandown in good style and we didn’t have that benefit last year, so I think that is an advantage.

“He seems in great form out on the gallops and his recent work has been good, so we’re going there as hopeful as you can be in a Group 1.”

Balding has never won the Al Shaqab Lockinge, but his father Ian has had success on two occasions with Silly Season (1966) and Selkirk (1992).

Owned by King Power Racing, the 46-year-old is hopeful of bringing success to the team in what would be their first Group 1 winner.

And with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death last year, Balding believes it’ll be an emotional one if he wins.

“It will be very much so, for obvious reasons,” admitted Balding. “They have had a terrific start to the season, but this horse was very special to the chairman.

“It would be very fitting if he [Beat The Bank] can provide them with their first Group 1 winner.

“It’s a great day, the Lockinge Day is probably the best day at Newbury [apart from the Ladbrokes Trophy] and the meeting is their flagship flat day and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes is the feature race of Newbury’s richest raceday on Saturday where prize money is £750,000.

Ladies Day concludes with a 90 minute DJ set from Sophie Ellis-Bextor and husband Richard Jones at 6pm.

There is also a full-race programme on Friday for the Starlight Charity Raceday.

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