Darley greats start over a mile in May

From Cape Cross to Night Of Thunder, the Lockinge Stakes is a proven source of quality stallions
Ribchester winning the 2017 Lockinge Stakes

The first major test of the European season for older horses at a mile is the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May. The race was first run in 1958 and Godolphin is its leading owner, winning the race a record eight times.

The first winner to carry the royal blue to victory in 1998 was the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Cape Cross, who made all the running to win by a neck under jockey Daragh O’Donohoe. Although Cape Cross failed to win another G1 (he was also victorious in the Queen Anne Stakes when it was a G2 contest), he had already achieved enough to earn his place at Kildangan Stud in 2000.

Cape Cross quickly hit the mark as a stallion, siring the great Ouija Board in his first crop, whose seven G1 triumphs included a brace of Oaks and two victories at the Breeders’ Cup. Off the back of her outstanding success, he was visited by the great Urban Sea in 2005. Already the dam of Derby winner Galileo, the resultant progeny from her mating with Cape Cross was the truly exceptional Sea The Stars.

Cape Cross remained one of Ireland’s premier stallions, covering 17 seasons at Kildangan Stud. In 2015, he sired his second Derby winner, the John Gosden-trained Golden Horn. The winner of four G1s, Golden Horn was rated the World’s best turf runner as a three-year-old and he is currently covering his sixth season at Dalham Hall Stud.

Just a few boxes down from Golden Horn at Dalham Hall is the winner of the 2013 running of the Lockinge Stakes, the stunning Farhh. Like Cape Cross, he was trained by Saeed bin Suroor, going unbeaten in three of his four seasons to race. After winning at Newbury by four lengths, he had one further start in 2013 when beating Cirrus Des Aigles and Ruler Of The World in a vintage Champion Stakes.

Again like Cape Cross, his reputation as a stallion continues to rise year by year. His small first crop included six Stakes winners including Royal Ascot G2 heroine Move Swiftly, plus Derby second Dee Ex Bee. From his second crop came the 2019 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner King Of Change. Few stallions can match Farhh’s 11% Stakes winners to foals from these two crops.

Godolphin horses triumphed in the Lockinge Stakes three years in a row from 2015 onwards, all of whom are covering in 2021 at Cape Cross’s long-time home, Kildangan Stud.

Covering his sixth season is Night Of Thunder, the winner in 2015 for trainer Richard Hannon. The 2,000 Guineas hero has made a tremendous start at stud, siring 14 Stakes winners and 21 Stakes performers from his first crop. At 16% SW/R and 24% SH/R he is even surpassing what his illustrious sire Dubawi achieved with his first crop.

He joins two exciting young stallions whose first runners are already excelling.

Belardo, winner of the 2016 renewal, sired three Group-winning juveniles from his first crop last season, which matched what his own sire Lope de Vega achieved in his initial season. Trained by Roger Varian, Belardo was crowned European Champion two-year-old in 2014 after a thrilling victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

A year behind Belardo is the four-time G1 winner Ribchester. Trained by Richard Fahey, Ribchester’s dominance of the 2017 miling division began at Newbury when never seeing another rival to beat Lightning Spear by three-and-three-quarter lengths. His first crop have hit the ground running in 2021 and already includes two impressive winners in Ruthin and Flaming Rib.