Sunday 17 February 2019

Betting Ring: Experience gives Limato Lockinge edge

The other Group One sees a small but select field of five tackle the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Photo: Getty Images
The other Group One sees a small but select field of five tackle the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Wayne Bailey

Wayne Bailey

Most Irish people, and certainly the good people of Kinsale, will be aware of the Lusitania which was torpedoed by the Germans off the Old Head of Kinsale during World War I in 1915.

Of the 1,198 passengers killed, one was an American writer and philosopher by the name of Elbert Hubbard.

I've read bits and pieces from Hubbard but I must confess I don't know a huge amount about him, although it's fairly clear he had a disdain for betting on horses, and once said that, "The only man who makes money following the races is one who does it with a broom and shovel."

In last week's column, I was celebrating how well I'd done against the old enemy on Guineas weekend, but as mentioned in that piece, the Sport of Kings has a very quick way of making a man humble again. And a humbling time it's been since.

I've struggled to get a winner since that Guineas weekend, and particularly felt the pain last week when Kew Gardens was beaten at 8/11 in the Lingfield Derby Trial, having traded at 1/3 in-running on the exchanges.

At times like this, you begin to wonder if Hubbard had it right, and it's hard not to think of sinking-ship metaphors to go along with the losses.

But before I get carried away with the doom and gloom, I remind myself that this is a long-term business where profit and loss should not be measured in individual days, weeks or even months.

The ability to show a profit over the space of a year or so is what is important to those who take their betting seriously, and that goal remains on target for 2018.

On what I'm hoping is another positive note, we have the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury (3.40) - historically a good one for punters.

The last double-figure outsider to win was Cape Cross 20 years ago, and seven of the last 10 winners were well fancied, including last year's Betting Ring selection Ribchester, which came home at 7/4 for Richard Fahey.

The market has yet to make up its mind, although there's a good chance Rhododendron will end up as favourite for Aidan O'Brien under Ryan Moore.

Runner-up in last year's 1,000 Guineas and also the Oaks, she has some top-level form in the book having won the Group One Prix de l'Opera at Chantilly in October, and wasn't disgraced when second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

She probably needed the run when fourth to Cracksman in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp last time and has strong claims here - but her racing style suggests to me that the step back down to the mile trip might be retrogressive, and although highly respected, I reckon she's opposable at the prices.


Six-year-old Limato has been a great servant to Henry Candy, and gets my vote at what appears to be a generous price of 5/1. Once again, my main concern is the mile trip here although it's from the other end of the scale, as he's normally best around six or seven furlongs.

He's raced twice at a mile but he seemed below form on both occasions, so it's hard to say if it was a lack of stamina or simply an off day - but one thing is for sure, he was as good as ever when signing off last season with a win the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket back in October.

Indeed, the manner in which he surged clear in the final furlong gives me hope that he'll have what it takes to take a race like this.

It's an intriguing renewal in which I've focused on two horses, but there are a number more with chances including Addeybb, which looks a high-class animal but may prefer some cut in the ground and Beat The Bank, which was disappointing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last time but certainly remains with a lot of promise.

It should be an entertaining race but the cream usually rises to the top, and Limato's big-race experience can give him the edge this afternoon.

I've struggled to separate Stream Song and Crystal Hope in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes (4.50 Newbury) but with the former priced 4/1 and the latter priced half of that in the early markets, Stream Song gets the nod for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.

Trained by Michael Stoute, Crystal Hope is a daughter of Nathaniel so is related to plenty of talented sorts, and was mighty impressive when storming clear to win at Sandown last time. I'll be left kicking myself if she wins today.

But the selection has equally strong claims in my view, and the daughter of Mastercraftsman won her handicap debut at Windsor recently, despite the race not going her way. She's also got more improving to do and looks the value bet of the two on prices.

Another Gosden horse I'm keen on backing races at Newmarket, and looks set to go off around 7/4 in the five-runner Listed Betway King Charles II Stakes (2.40). Purser beat subsequent winner Symbolization last time and is one to keep on side for now.


A reasonably good case could be made for almost all of the 11 runners in the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap (3.0 Newbury) but at odds of 9/1 or thereabouts, Communique is my idea of an each-way steal for Mark Johnston under Silvestre De Sousa.

Placed on his handicap debut last time, he comes back here on the same mark of 84, which seems quite fair considering the softer ground may not have been to his liking on that occasion. He can make his presence felt again today at a nice price.


1.50 Newbury: Cardsharp

2.05 Newmarket: Old Persian

2.25 Newbury: Crystal Ocean

2.40 Newmarket: Purser

3.00 Newbury: Communique (e/w)

3.40 Newbury: Limato

4.50 Newbury: Stream Song

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