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Modern Games (Picture: Racing Post)


Richard Birch (Racing Post)
Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)

Flat Turf, Group 1

Going: Good
Runners: 13
Class: 1
Distance: 1m
Modern Games may lack the charisma of Baaeed and Palace Pier, the last two winners of the Lockinge, but in terms of success at the highest level he has already achieved a great deal.
Winner of three Grade 1s – including two at the Breeders’ Cup – and the Group 1 Poule d’Essai Des Poulins at Longchamp, the aim is to notch a first top-level victory in Britain.
He finished runner-up to 33-1 Bayside Boy in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last October, with two of Saturday’s rivals, Jadoomi and Checkandchallenge, just behind him in third and fourth.
His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Hopefully this will be the opportunity for Modern Games to win a Group 1 in Britain.
“The Maker’s Mark Mile [at Keeneland in April] proved a strangely run race from our perspective, but he came out of it well and heads to Newbury in great shape.
“We know that he is a crack miler and he goes there with the benefit of a run under his belt. Conditions at Newbury should suit, especially the drying ground, and he is going to be a big player.”
Laurel out to show her star potential
Lockinge day has a rich history of producing a star and it would come as no surprise if the Frankie Dettori-ridden filly Laurel catapulted herself into the big time.
The fact that she could finish a three-quarters-of-a-length second in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last October on just her third run suggests she is blessed with tremendous ability.
Laurel proved she had trained on supremely well from three to four when impressively justifying 8-13 favouritism in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton last month and the fact that she is pitched straight into Group 1 battle against the colts smacks of a high-class filly who has been working well at home.
Joint-trainer Thady Gosden said: “She’s taking on the boys for the first time. It’s a big jump up from a fillies’ Listed to a weight-for-age Group 1, but she has not many miles on the clock and hopefully she can step up. Frankie came and sat on her on Wednesday and was pleased with her.”
Barry Mahon, racing manager to Juddmonte, owners of Laurel, added: “She’ll probably get ten furlongs in time, but has enough speed for a mile and this is a nice fit for her. She wouldn’t want the ground too quick, but I’m told it’s beautiful at Newbury.”
Best is yet to come from My Prospero
Last year’s Champion Stakes will always be remembered for the defeat of Baaeed on the final start of his career.
However, it was impossible to miss how well his stablemate My Prospero, sent off at 22-1, performed in finishing third to Bay Bridge – one place ahead of Baaeed.
That was a career-best performance from My Prospero by some considerable way and this lightly raced colt looks the type to make up into a top-class four-year-old.
The son of Iffraaj will encounter much quicker underfoot conditions this time, but he won the Listed Heron Stakes last May over a mile on ground officially described as good to firm.
What they say
William Knight, trainer of Checkandchallenge
He’ll run a big race. He’s come out of Newmarket in really good nick – he just needed that race and got tired up the hill. If we get a shower of rain that won’t hurt his chance. It’s an open-enough Lockinge and I could see him running into a place. I think he’s a better horse this year.
Ed Crisford, joint-trainer of Jadoomi
He’s in great order. We don’t want the ground to dry out too much, but I expect a big run from him. It’s a proper race, it always is. But he’s shown he’s up there with some of the best and was third in the QEII last year and winning all those Group 2s. He’s been going super well and I think there could be more to come from him. He showed himself at the top level last year and if it all falls right for him this year I’m sure he can win a big one.
David Simcock, trainer of Light Infantry
He’s come out of his last race well. The winner probably got his own way on a pace-bias track last time and was very good on the day, but there are plenty of others to worry about as well. Our horse is consistent, very hardy and game, and usually runs his race.
Charlie Hills, trainer of Mutasaabeq
He won really well at Newmarket carrying a 3lb penalty and I’ve been pleased with him since. The track and ground should suit him. He’s won Group 2s on his last two starts and we’ve always thought he was up to this level. The family improves with age and he’s done very well physically. He’s unbeaten in blinkers – they just help him concentrate a little bit.
Adam Ryan, son of and assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of Triple Time

He’s a Group 3 winner and needs to step up on what he’s shown, but we have all the faith in the world in him. We’ve always thought he was talented. It would have been nice to get a prep run into him had the ground not been a bit awry, but he goes there in great order.