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Four past runners to line up in Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes





BIG Rock produced a devastating front-running performance to demolish his rivals in the 2023 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day.

He is one of four previous Group 1 winners to feature amongst the 21 entries in the first older horse Group 1 of the British Flat Turf season.

The Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, the feature race of Newbury’s flat season on Saturday, May 18, is the second of the QIPCO British Champion Series mile races.

For the first time in 2024, the Al Shaqab Lockinge has an increased prize fund on offer of £400,000.

Trained in Chantilly by Christopher Head, Big Rock was last seen finishing six lengths clear at Ascot in October to become the fourth French-trained winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in the last decade.

Not since 2002 when Keltos won under Olivier Peslier for Carlos Laffon-Parias has a French-trained horse won the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes.

Of the remaining entries, only three others have previously landed success at the highest level – Inspiral, Nashwa and Lord North, all of whom represent the yard of John and Thady Gosden.

Others among the 21 quality entries include Charyn (R Varian) who made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Doncaster Mile Listed contest.

Elegant Man (A Murray) looked very impressive in the All-Weather Easter Classic Middle Distance Handicap for Amo Racing.

Hi Royal (K Ryan) and Royal Scotsman (P & O Cole), second and third in last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas will be seeking to return to that level of form.

Andrew Balding’s The Foxes returns from a disappointing run in the Howden Neom Turf Cup earlier in February.

George Hill, clerk of the course at Newbury Racecourse said: “We are very pleased to see a strong list of entries for the first older horse Group 1 of the season.

“To see proven Group 1 performers including the likes of Big Rock, Inspiral, Nashwa and Lord North amongst the entries indicates we could have a very competitive renewal.”

The first scratching stage is April 30 with final confirmation stage on May 13.



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