Limato in demand for Lockinge assignment as Candy delivers upbeat bulletin
The prospect of fast ground at Newbury this weekend plus an upbeat bulletin from trainer Henry Candy on Tuesday led to Limato being cut for the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes.
Ladbrokes clipped him to 9-2 (from 5) while William Hill went 5-1 (from 6). He is 7-2 joint-favourite alongside Rhododendron with several other bookmakers.
As the sun blazed down on Newbury, where the official going is good to firm (watering), Candy insisted Limato would be sharp enough on his seasonal reappearance.
“I am delighted with him,” the trainer said. “He has enjoyed a good, long holiday out in the paddocks. He’s had a much better preparation than last year. He’s done enough at home and won’t be far off at Newbury.”
The six-year-old Limato, who raced over six furlongs and seven furlongs last season, culminating in his impressive victory in Newmarket’s Group 2 Challenge Stakes, has been beaten on both previous starts at a mile, but Candy believes they were “totally inconclusive”.
“Our horses were way out of form when he ran in the Lockinge two years ago and the ground was far too soft for him,” he said.
“Santa Anita [Breeders’ Cup Mile] was a disaster. He boiled over, and then things didn’t work out in the race.
“He’s only got all these sprint entries this year so we can run him on decent ground. I think he’s more a miler nowadays than a sprinter. He can still do both if necessary, but he looks more like a miler. He’s bred to get a mile.”
Limato’s regular partner Harry Bentley is also anticipating a big run on Saturday. “He feels great. His homework has been very good,” the jockey said.
“He certainly still feels like the horse he’s always been, and it won’t be lack of fitness which beats him.
“Limato has run well in the Lockinge before, and he should be absolutely fine over a mile. He’s won a Group 1 over seven furlongs. A mile shouldn’t be a problem.”
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