Andrew Le Jeune

Presenter & Columnist


LJ Confidential: competitive Lockinge provides pointer

Andrew Le Jeune runs the rule over what should be a fiercely-contested Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and also takes a look at Singapore's big day, as part of his ongoing series covering Hong Kong's simulcast races.

The Lockinge Stakes provides a great guide to Royal Ascot and the Queen Anne Stakes but it is a genuine standout race in its own right with a star-studded honour roll that includes the incomparable Frankel. 

Like the Queen Anne, the Lockinge is held over a straight mile course but at Newbury, and the last two winners were absolute superstars: John and Thady Gosden’s Palace Pier in 2021 and the William Haggas-trained Baaeed last year. 

The Gosdens and Haggas both bring strong challengers to the favourite, Godolphin’s four-year-old Modern Games. 

The beautifully bred Juddmonte colt Laurel looks the best of the Gosden-trained horses in contention, although he needs to make a big leap in class from a Listed race on the all-weather. Still, he looks a classic late-developing type: he has only had four starts in total but has won three. 

Haggis-trained My Prospero races for the Sunderland Holdings group and Hong Kong’s Christopher Tsui, who raced the mighty Sea The Stars. My Prospero is another lightly raced horse that appears first-up.


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    It’s hard to find fault with the favourite, in terms of both class and experience. A French 2000 Guineas winner from this time last year, Charlie Appleby then charted an ambitious path through some of the world’s biggest mile races and Modern Games had captured the G1 Woodbine Mile Stakes and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile by the end of the 2022. 

    Along the way he was also second to Baaeed in the G1 Sussex Stakes and has shown remarkable consistency, being unplaced just twice in a 14 start career, the bulk of which has been contested at top level. 

    Modern Games was beaten in his 2023 return at Keeneland last month but he ran well for second and that race should have him primed for this. His experience – and success – in big races make him a clear standout here. 

    The favourite could be heavily supported though and I am predicting an upset. Charlie Hills’ Mutasaabeq to prevail. His first-up win on 2000 Guineas day was super impressive and I think he still has some improvement to come. 

    A Singapore standout

    We are going against the seasoned standout in England but in Singapore the proven performances of Lim’s Kosciuszko make him a clear top pick for mine. 

    Dan Meagher won the race last year with Lim’s Lightning but is keeping him fresh for the revitalised Speed Series later in the year. 

    Lim’s Kosciusko finished last in the 2022 Hong Kong Sprint after a torrid run but has returned to home turf with two classy displays including a two and a half length win in the G1 Raffles Cup last time out.

    Star Singapore galloper Lim’s Kosciuszko. (Photo by Dan Meagher Racing)

    The next best is the rising star Street Of Dreams, which has rattled off six straight wins, the last two of them looking every bit like a superstar. They were with light weights in handicaps though and now Steve Burridge’s up-and-comer faces the acid test. 

    Hong Kong racing fans following the simulcast from Singapore will be familiar with Hongkong Great, who at one time looked like a dirt star in the making for trainer Danny Shum at Sha Tin. Throat problems curtailed those plans. Shipped to Singapore, trainer Ricardo Le Grange did an exceptional job to win last year’s G1 Singapore Gold Cup but the gelding has mixed his form since. 

    How short is too short?

    All eyes will be on Liberty Island in Tokyo on Sunday when the superstar filly tackles the Yushun Himba. 

    Favourites have been beaten in the last two editions of the race – Circle Of Life last year and Sodashi in 2021 – but Liberty Island really is something special. 

    Before those two upsets, four straight top picks won the Oaks: Daring Tact at 1.6, Loves Only You (4.0 in 2019), Almond Eye (1.7, 2018) and Soul Stirring (2.4, 2017).

    There is little doubt Liberty Island’s name belongs on that list but what price will she start on Sunday? She could be even shorter than Daring Tact.

    Oka Sho winner Liberty Island shoots for a third G1 victory in Sunday's Yushun Himba. (Photo by Shuhei Okada)

    Maybe Australian jockey Damian Lane can weave some of his magic on Kona Coast for trainer Hisashi Shimizu but he will need plenty of luck: Liberty Island looks something special. This could be one of those races to simply sit back and watch the show. 

    Andrew's Selections

    Lockinge Stakes (S2 R4) No.9 Mutasaabeq WIN 

    Kranji Mile (S1 R6) No.1 Lim’s Kosciusko, Katak, Street Of Dreams Quinella/Quinella Place 

    Race 9 No.10 Flaming Rabbit 




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