Charyn to take an inspired next step?

Saturday 18th May, 3:35pm

Big Rock @ 11/8
Inspiral @ 85/40
Charyn @ 9/2
Poker Face @ 13/2
view odds

*prices correct at time of writing. 

Once upon a time Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes was something of a bit-part player, but ever since receiving Group One status (mid 1990s) and being restricted to four-year-olds and up, plus receiving the support of Al Shaqab, the £400,000 race (3-35) has become a key mile-event in the season, and indeed the QIPCO British Champions Series. Cross fingers that forecast wet weather plays no part.

All being well there are two intriguing rematches: while Inspiral, with Kieran Shoemark taking over from Frankie Dettori, and France’s Big Rock top the showdown bill – after their one-two in the Jacques Le Marois – they also face Charyn, the mount of a resurgent Silvestre de Sousa, and Poker Face, for the Crisfords, two runners which have their own thing going after Sandown in April.

Rain is a potential negative for Inspiral, a class act receiving the fillies’ allowance, whose latest exploits have seen her on a top-level roll in the Sun Chariot and at the Breeders’ Cup as well as that day in Deauville. On officially good to soft going, she was a length-and-a-quarter too good for Big Rock, then trained by Christopher Head and subsequently impressive winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October soft.

The runner up in the Prix du Jockey Club has not run since Ascot, but has been switched to Maurizio Guarnieri, whose string has hardly been setting the world on fire of late. Hopes have long been high for Charyn, a colt that ran solidly as a three-year-old without winning, but, to mix metaphors, in 2024 he’s bounced out of the traps, progressing from a Listed success at Doncaster to running down the talented Poker Face in the Group Two Mile at Sandown, with Witch Hunter fifth.

A three-pound penalty carried by the runner-up that day will doubtless make up part of the argument re. turning the tables. Royal Scotsman returns from eleven months off with a tongue tie; remember how close he got in last year’s 2000 Guineas. Real World’s trainer and jockey have a notable record together.

It would be no surprise to see Charyn step forward again – what do you reckon?

All eyes are on Desert Hero (1-50) after his return over shorter at Sandown; however, though he was well ahead of Middle Earth when they were third and seventh respectively in the St Leger, that one learnt enough to win subsequently, and is anticipated to have progressed further now.

Relief Rally (2-25) didn’t stay in the Fred Darling and could easily be different gravy back sprinting.

In the London Gold Cup (3-00), is it just me?, or are Persica’s odds pretty tempting considering he’s running off 92 having finished a respectable third at Kempton behind a Guineas winner now rated 121.

I’m off to Bangor – come and say hi if you’re there – and, after a third-placed return from an absence that included a breathing procedure, Prince Escalus (5-40) looks of interest.

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