Montiridge can take Glory in Lockinge Stakes


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The Independent Online

The Lockinge Stakes is not deemed competitive enough for inclusion in Saturday's Scoop6, with a total prize fund now nearing £10m, but those expecting a walk in the park for Olympic Glory might be in for a surprise. Newbury's famous Group One, featuring as it does such a short-priced favourite and only eight runners, does not fit the bill of making the bet as difficult as possible.

It is hard to look beyond Olympic Glory on the evidence of his spectacular win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last autumn, but everything was right for him that day – soft ground, a fast pace and first-time blinkers to sharpen him up. Now he is running on a quicker surface, there is a strong suspicion the pace will not be so hot and the headgear is not guaranteed to be as effective; enough reasons to look for a value alternative.

Montiridge (3.50 Newbury), also trained by Richard Hannon, whose recently retired father won this race in 2010 and 2011, is a more attractive proposition at overnight odds of around 8-1. He has yet to win at the top level, but possesses an impressive turn of foot and should be able to employ it to telling effect.

The joker in the pack is Verrazano, one of the leading three-year-olds on dirt in America last year and having his first run for Aidan O'Brien en route to Royal Ascot for his main summer target, the Queen Anne Stakes. This is a learning experience for all involved, including the horse.

The Scoop6 rolls over for the 11th Saturday today. Stomp (3.30 Newmarket), set for a hat-trick in the Sprint Trophy, will be a banker on many a list. He was a bit of a monkey as a two-year-old, but was gelded over the winter and now seems to have his mind on the job in hand. He is a full brother to Mince, a sprinter who has got better with age, and he certainly gives the impression there is plenty more to come.

I would also include Aeolus (2.55 Newmarket), unlucky not to win the Free Handicap on the Rowley Mile last month when trying seven furlongs for the first time. Parbold, close up in fifth, enjoys a 10lb pull in the weights, but I suspect the outcome will be the same.

Gospel Choir, a gutsy winner of the Yorkshire Cup, will now come down in trip for a tilt at the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

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