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Simcock rocked by Rhododendron but so proud of Lightning Spear

Lightning Spear (far side) is pipped by Rhododendron
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It wasn't a knockout by Mike Tyson, but being touched off by a flower felt like that to David Simock, whose hopes of securing a Group 1 for stable stalwart Lightning Spear were dashed by Rhododendron in a bobbing finish to Saturday's Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Simcock, on a high after landing a first Classic success with Teppal in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches last week, revealed his deflation after the seven-year-old was touched off by Aidan O'Brien's raider, who prevailed by a short head.


Watch Lightning Spear's near miss


It was the second time in two Lockinges Qatar Racing's entire had found one too good, having finished runner-up to Ribchester in Newbury's flagship Flat race 12 months ago.

Simcock nevertheless greeted Lightning Spear into the runners'-up spot with a smile, even if was hurting inside.

"I'm very proud of the horse," he said. "He was given a great ride by Oisin Murphy and we went at the same time as Rhododendron, but were just chinned.

"It's one of those. I'm very proud of the horse, especially for a seven-year-old. We're very fond of him in the stable because we know him so well and he's a lovely horse to train.

"He's very straightforward and my wife rides him every day and the kids feed him apples; he's that type of horse.

"I haven't had the wind taken out of me for a long time, but that has."


Watch Lightning Spear finish second to Ribchester in the 2017 Lockinge


Thirds in the Queen Anne, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Sussex add to Lightning Spear's near-misses in Group 1s.

"If somebody could tell me where I'd find one [a Group 1 win], I'd be so happy," added the Newmarket trainer. "It's so frustrating, it really is. Like I said, I haven't had the wind taken out of me for a long time, but it feels like that has."

A return to Royal Ascot seems to be the plan but fast ground, as the son of Pivotal galloped on in Berkshire, is not essential, Simcock stressed.

"First time out he will always be comfortable on it," he added. "He acts very well on soft ground, but whether he sees a mile out on soft ground is another matter."

Emotional after Teppal's high and this low – "it's been a great week and we were on cloud nine" – Simcock would have likely been as proud leaving Newbury as he'd have been exiting Longchamp last weekend.


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High drama as Simcock wins first Classic with Teppal after track switch

Rhododendron just denies Lightning Spear in thrilling finish to the Lockinge

David Simcock profile and stats


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We went at the same time as Rhododendron, but were just chinned
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