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Brilliant Belardo swoops late for Lockinge joy

14 May 2016

Andrea Atezeni excels on Roger Varian-trained colt to land the fourth race in the QIPCO British Champions Series

Belardo Lockinge

Belardo produced a great late burst to win the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Picture courtesy of Racingfotos.com

Belardo pounced from off the pace to run out a stunning winner of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury today.

The fourth race in the QIPCO British Champions Series unfolded like a game of poker and it was Andrea Atzeni who had the most aces up his sleeve – playing his hand late after it looked like Ryan Moore was going to grab the prestigious Group 1 pot on Euro Charline.

Atzeni and Belardo swooped on the outside the mare and got on top late on to prevail by a length, in the process providing Godolphin with their seventh Lockinge winner.

It was the first time Atzeni had ridden Belardo since landing the Dewhurst on him in 2014, and it was trainer Roger Varian’s first QIPCO British Champions Series triumph since Kingston Hill won the St Leger in the same year.

Godolphin pacemaker Barchan set the early fractions before last year’s runner-up Toormore took over. He was then claimed by the strong-travelling Euro Charline before Atzeni had the final say on Belardo.

“He’s a good horse on his day and it’s a pleasure to be back on him,” Atzeni said. “I remember when I first sat on him as a two-year-old I told Roger he was the fastest I’d sat on

“They went quick, he half-fell out of the stalls, but that’s him and he travelled brilliantly throughout the race and picked up when he got daylight.

“It’s just on the easy side of good and probably at his very best he just needs a bit of cut.”

He added: “Roger is a great boss and we work well together, there’s a great team at home and I’m very lucky to work with him.”

The Ger Lyons-trained Endless Drama was an excellent third on his first start since finishing second to Gleneagles in the Irish 2,000 Guineas almost a year ago.

Limato, the 3-1 favourite, travelled well for a long way but seemed betrayed by lack of stamina on his first attempt at a mile and finished fourth.

GODOLPHIN’S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN IN THE LOCKINGE

1998 Cape Cross

1999 Fly To The Stars

2000 Aljabr

2008 Creachadoir

2013 Farhh

2015 Night Of Thunder

2016 Belardo