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Lockinge Stakes - Newbury

This weekend's big feature race is undoubtedly the 15:45 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, and it's a fairly wide open event up to a point.

We say up to a point, because the current favourite is Night Of Thunder. Well known to punters last season with a run of excellent form including a win in one of the most competitive 2,000 Guineas for some years, Night Of Thunder is undoubtedly a horse who performs at heights to match his reputation. He's easy regarding the ground, so that's not a huge concern, and if he runs tomorrow in the same form he was in when he took his Guineas win then seventeen other jockeys are going to wonder why they even bothered saddling up.

That is a big if, however. Previous form suggests that he does not go quite so well fresh, and this is his first race of the season. The word coming out of the stable is mixed, too, with nobody suggesting that he's going to demolish the field.

That said he's definitely one of the biggest threats, and if you want to back him the best place we've found to do so is at Coral, who are offering a decent 11/4.

If you don't fancy Night Of Thunder, what are your best options? Sir Michael Stoute has a cracking track record in the Lockinge and we fancy his horse, Integral, to show well.

He's had two previous mare winners here of his seven wins in total, and she's another horse who is flexible with regards to the going so long as it isn't as difficult as it was in her run on Champions Day last year. Her Group 1 form in general shows she's worthy of a look, and we think she'll certainly feature near the front tomorrow afternoon.

The best place to back her is currently PaddyPower, who are offering a market leading 6/1.

Finally, we've had a look at the longer odds horses to see who might be worth a shot each way.

Hors De Combat catches the eye as a runner who might out perform on the day, but ultimately we're plumping for Aidan O'Brien's Cougar Mountain. He showed well last season despite his inexperience, and with the ground better suited to him he would only need a small improvement to be among the frontrunners and competing for the win.

The best place we've found to back him is Ladbrokes. They have him at 25/1 for the win, which works out to a little over 6/1 each way for a top four finish.

Newmarket 2000 Guineas

The 2000 Guineas is a longstanding fixture of the flat racing calendar, and this year's revival looks to be a particularly interesting race. They'll be off at Newmarket at 15:45 so there's still plenty of time to weigh up your options - or you could let us do the work for you with this handy little post!

The long standing favourite is Gleneagles, and the chances are you've already heard all about him. He would be unbeaten in his last five starts but for a disqualification in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere at Longchamp, when he was judged to have caused interference on his way to the winning post.

We can't deny his wins have been solidly convincing, but it's strange that O'Brien stable has never given the impression that Gleneagles is the real deal. The stable form so far this year has been patchy at best, too, and although he's a fine colt, other horses in this race have run the course before and will be better prepared in that regard.

We're leaning away from backing Gleneagles, but nonetheless the best price we found on him was a market leading 10/3 over at StanJames.

If we don't favour the favourite then who do we think your money should be resting on? Well, Estidhkaar catches the eye.

Currently second favourite at some of the bookies, his form may not jump out at you like that of Gleneagles, but he ran really well last year and his reappearance last month in the Greenham Stakes was far from disgraceful, challenging all the way to the line in what was the fastest race of the day.

He's seen off a few of today's competitors in previous wins, and trainer Richard Hannon knows what it takes to win this race having taken it last year with Night Of Thunder.

We fancy Estidhkaar to triumph, and the best place to back him is at BetFred, who are offering an excellent 15/2.

Finally, we'd like to offer an outside odds chance. We'd be tempted to pick out the second Aiden O'Brien runner, Ol' Man River, except that we think he's priced far too short considering his experience at this level. Instead we'll plump for Kool Kompany, a solid horse who looks stronger and fitter than he did even while taking five wins as a two year old.

He took a win here last month despite conceding weight to his competitors, and with that winning experience over course and distance combined with his ability to come from behind we think he may well be an unexpected contender.

You can back him at an astonishing 33/1 over at StanJames, though if you prefer somewhere offering each way on four places you'll have to head to SkyBet and pick him up at 28/1.

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