By Simon Jackson.
Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news
Night Of Thunder heads the betting at 11-4 as 19 runners go forward for the £350,000 Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Night Of Thunder, winner of the 2014 QIPCO 2000 Guineas, is one of two entries for trainer Richard Hannon along with Toormore (12-1) in the feature race of Newbury’s two day meeting on Friday and Saturday.
Night Of Thunder’s last run was on Champions Day at Ascot in October where he finished a half-length second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Amongst his rivals at Newbury on Saturday is Moohaarib, an impressive last start winner of a Listed race at Ascot last month.
The Marco Botti-trained four-year-old is priced at 16-1 for the Lockinge – which was won by the unbeaten champion Frankel in 2012 – after his length and a quarter win over Hors de Combat (33-1) who reopposes on Saturday.
Trainer Marco Botti said: “Moohaarib came out of Ascot really well and the plan is to run at Newbury.
“I think all of us were under the impression that he needed a bit of give in the ground because of his knee action. We were a little surprised at Ascot because the ground was very fast that day and all the jockeys that have rode him said he wants a bit of cut.
“You would have to be impressed with the way he won and he is improving all the time. He has got a pedigree that suggests he will get better with time and he is in great order at the moment.
“On his run at Ascot, I would say he will be competitive and, although he needs to step up again, we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on at this level.”
Amongst the entries as is Dual Group 1 scorer Integral who is reportedly on target for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and owner Cheveley Park Stud. Stoute and Cheveley Park have combined to win the Lockinge Stakes four times, most recently with Peeress in 2006.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.