The key race to outcome of traditional curtain-raiser at the Royal meeting is usually the Lockinge Stakes run at Newbury, so the logical approach has to be to play BELARDO (best price 9-2)
and ENDLESS DRAMA (best price 7-1)
against the field, who were first and third at the Berkshire venue. The former, who had a difficult season as a three-year-old, seems to be right on top of his game at present and he certainly had to be in order to overcome such a tardy start in that Group 1 on his latest outing 31 days ago. Off the back of very strong fractions set by the pace-setting Barcham, the son of Lope De Vega did remarkably well to make up the lost ground he forfeited in the early stages and in the end, he ran out a comfortable and well-deserved winner. Having proven solid C&D form in the bag when runner-up to Solow in the QE2 Stakes towards the backend of last season, the recent rainfall at the track couldn’t have come at a better time for his chances and with another strong race almost certain courtesy of Barcham being used as the sacrificial lamb, Roger Varian’s charge clearly has plenty in his favour.
Endless Drama is easily one of the most talented horses in the line-up and as he proved at Newbury and the Irish 2000 Guineas last season, he can mix it with the very best when on-song. Whether he truly sees out a strongly-run mile is still open to debate, but there’s little doubt nothing will be going better with two furlongs to run and for those that like to play on the in-running markets, you should be able to lock in a profit on Ger Lyon’s charge before stamina becomes an issue.