Racing: Rely on Air Express to arrive on time

Simon Holt (right) of the Channel 4 Racing team gives a runner- by-runner analysis of today's Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury
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The Independent Online
AIR EXPRESS: Developed into a top class performer last season landing both the Italian and German 2,000 Guineas before leaving that form behind in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Very much the class act here on that last effort and must go close despite lacking a recent run.

ALMUSHTARAK: Has proved a revelation in the last year and maintained his constant improvement by slamming Crystal Hearted five lengths in Sandown's Anniversary Mile last month (looked outstandingly well). Thoroughly genuine and consistent.

AMONG MEN: Looked set to take the highest rank over seven furlongs and a mile last season when taking the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, only to have his limitations slightly exposed subsequently when fourth to Ali- Royal in the Sussex Stakes and second (awarded race) to Cape Cross in the Tripleprint Celebration Mile. Still lightly raced and masses of scope for further development. Still lightly raced and masses of scope for further development.

BEAUCHAMP KING: Gave his rookie trainer Gerard Butler a memorable day at Haydock earlier in the month, coming from behind to beat Ramooz (winner since) in Listed company. Group One winner as a two-year-old and clearly he has retained plenty of ability.

CAPE CROSS: Was the winner on merit when disqualified after beating Among Men in Goodwood's Tripleprint Mile last season but hasn't quite set the world alight in two outings for Godolphin so far this year.

CENTRE STALLS: Is one of the most capable milers in the country on his day (excellent neck second to Allied Forces in the Queen Anne Stakes last June) but still prone to running the odd stinker and has a fragile temperament.

CRYSTAL HEARTED: Made a valiant attempt to make all the running at a searching gallop in the Anniversary Mile at Sandown first time out only to be overhauled and beaten five lengths by Almushtarak. Seems best with front-running tactics and some give in the ground.

HORNBEAM: Third Among Men in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, and returned to score impressively at Doncaster by three lengths from Russian Music. Up in class from that, but highly regarded at home.

KAHAL: Has plenty of speed and quickened impressively to score twice over seven furlongs from just five starts in 1997. Bags of scope for the future but unproven over a mile and could go either way this season: sprints or top mile races.

POTEEN: Third in last season's 2,000 Guineas, became a bit disappointing subsequently during a relatively light campaign. Plenty of ability not always matched by resolution.

Conclusion: Cape Cross and Kahal represent Godolphin, who had a very strong five-day entry. However, AIR EXPRESS developed into a solid Group One performer last season, and, providing he is fit and well for his seasonal debut, may just hold the edge, hopefully at a value price. Among Men could yet fulfil early promise and is another to seriously consider while Almushtarak continues to go from strength to strength.

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