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  • 15:30 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes 1m

  • (Group 1) (Str) £350,000 added 4yo+ 8 ran
  • Winner £198,485 2nd £75,250 3rd £37,660 4th £18,760
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 1m 43.00s
  • Off time: 15:38:14

Galileo Gold returns in Lockinge Stakes

Last Updated: 19/05/17 3:12pm

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Galileo Gold returns at Newbury on Saturday

Galileo Gold returns at Newbury on Saturday

Connections of Galileo Gold are confident the 2000 Guineas winner can start his four-year-old career with a bang in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The Hugo Palmer-trained colt excelled through the early part of last year, claiming the Classic at Newmarket before finishing second in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh and winning the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Three top-level defeats followed, but he delighted in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last month, after which Palmer said his charge had rediscovered the "magic" in his association with Frankie Dettori.

Palmer said: "I am very excited about running Galileo Gold. It has been a long winter and a long wait.

"We have had him fit and ready for some time. I'm looking forward to seeing him out again.

"I think he is one of the few horses in the field that is not ground dependent. He is more relaxed this year compared to 12 months ago and he has grown up.

"I won't be saying to Frankie to make the running, but Frankie knows the horse very well and he has not become one of the world's best jockeys by just listening to trainer's instructions but by assessing conditions of the race and executing tactics.

"It will be the first time that Frankie has sat on him since riding him in a racecourse gallop at the Craven meeting."

The race is sponsored by Galileo Gold's owners, Al Shaqab Racing, whose racing manager Harry Herbert told ITV Racing: "The horse has wintered really well. He had a very long year last season and it showed at the end.

"Through the winter he has really relaxed, put on a considerable amount of muscle condition and his last piece of serious work on the Rowley Mile was seriously exciting - a very similar piece of work to what he did prior to winning the Guineas.

"We're hopeful the Galileo Gold of this year will be even better as a four-year-old than he was last year.

"And if he is then he is going to be very competitive."

A major stumbling block to Galileo Gold comes in the shape of the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester, who won the Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting and hit the jackpot in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

He was just half a length behind brilliant filly Minding in the QEII and lost little in defeat when third at Meydan on World Cup night after nine furlongs in the Dubai Turf stretched his stamina.

Fahey said: "Everything has gone according to plan with Ribchester - there have been no issues.

"I am very happy - his work is good and he is good. I don't think the ground will bother him so we are comfortable going into the race.

"Ribchester won the Mill Reef (at Newbury as a two-year-old) and it was quite heavy that day so this probably won't be the softest ground he has raced on. I don't see the ground as a problem at the moment.

"We thought about giving him a break after Dubai but he came back so fresh and well that we carried on and did not back off too much.

"Physically he looks better this year. He has done real well since coming back from Dubai and physically he is starting to mature.

"We are happy and everything is going easy with him."

Ribchester is one of three runners for Godolphin along with stablemate and likely pacemaker Toscanini and the Charlie Hills-trained Dutch Connection.

Martyn Meade has long fancied a crack at a Group One with Aclaim, who progressed nicely towards the end of the last campaign, bagging a hat-trick which culminated in a Group Two win over Lumiere in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Meade said: "It's a pretty tough race. He's in at the deep end and Group Ones are always difficult.

"I think he's come back in stronger, though, and he ended last season in such a good place, going through the gears and ending up winning a Group Two.

"He went well fresh last season and he should run well, but it's a big ask.

"A bit of give in the ground won't inconvenience him and he'll probably prefer it to fast ground.

"We've got to go at Group Ones this year, and I'd have thought that will mean taking him abroad at some stage.

"On his home-work I think he deserves to be there and Jamie Spencer gets on well with him."

David Simcock is also double-handed with Lightning Spear and Breton Rock, while Aidan O'Brien fields Somehow, winner of the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket last time out.

The Ballydoyle trainer's sole victory in the Group One mile contest remains that of the brilliant Hawk Wing in 2003 and while Somehow does not yet have the profile of stablemate Minding, she has progressed nicely since finishing fourth to that filly in last year's Investec Oaks.

A daughter of Fastnet Rock, she has had three runs already this season, winning the last two, most recently in the nine-furlong Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on Guineas weekend.

O'Brien said: "She's good. She only ran at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, but she seems to be in good form.

"She's dropping back to a mile, but we're happy with her since Newmarket. She's up (in class) to Group One company now, but we think she's in good form."

Mitchum Swagger from David Lanigan's yard completes the line-up.

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