Thu, 24 May 2018
RHODODENDRON handed Britain and Ireland’s champion trainer, Aidan O’Brien, a second Lockinge victory at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday.
The four-year-old, ridden by Ryan Moore and the 100/30 favourite, held off a strong challenge to become the first filly to win the G1 £350,000 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes since Red Evie in 2007.
Rhododendron came through to lead well over a furlong out and held off 16-1 shot Lightning Spear in the final strides by a short-head.
Lancaster Bomber kept on in third, another two and three quarters lengths behind.
O’Brien said: “The race set up the way we thought it would.
“We thought that Deauville would go on because he wants a strongly-run mile, and we knew that Lancaster Bomber would follow him and Ryan was very happy to follow them both.
“We have been very happy with Rhododendron. Ryan gave her a brilliant ride and we are thankful to everybody who is closely involved with her every day.
“It’s a big team effort and the lads have unbelievable patience. Whatever was suggested, they were always very happy to go with it, which made it incredibly easy for us.
“We were thinking of coming here and then going to Ascot. We have the option of going over a mile again or a mile and a quarter.”
David Simcock said of the runner-up Lightning Spear: “I haven’t had the wind taken out of my sails like that for a while. I am just a little gutted, but very proud of the horse.”