Lockinge Stakes

 The Lockinge Stakes is a Group One race run over a straight mile at Newbury Racecourse, in Berkshire, South East England, in mid-May. Since 1995, the Lockinge Stakes has been open to colts, fillies and geldings aged four years and upwards and is, nowadays, the first Group One of the season for older horses.

The Lockinge Stakes takes its name from the parish of the same name, on the Isley Downs, north of Newbury and was established in 1958. At the time of its inauguration, the race was open to horses aged three years and upwards and was, in fact, won by 2,000 Guineas winner Pall Mall, bred and owned by Queen Elizabeth II; Pall Mall won the Lockinge Stakes again, as a four-year-old, in 1959.

Originally assigned Group Two status, following the creation of the European Pattern in 1971, the Lockinge Stakes was downgraded to Group Three status in 1983, but upgraded again in 1985. In 1995, the race was closed to three-year-olds and upgraded to Group One status. Since 2011, the Lockinge Stakes has been part of the British Champion Series and is, nowadays, the second race of the season in the ‘Mile’ division, preceded only by the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. In 2019, the Lockinge Stakes offered total prize money of £350,000.

Notable winners of the Lockinge Stakes down the years have included Habitat, Brigadier Gerard and Frankel. Indeed, Frankel was last horse to win the Lockinge Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot; in the latter contest, in 2012, Frankel earned a Timeform rating of 147, the highest ever awarded to a horse racing on the Flat.

Sir Michael Stoute is the leading trainer in the history of the Lockinge Stakes, with eight wins. His Soviet Star gelding Soviet Line, who recorded back-to-back victories in 1995 and 1996, is one of three horses – the others being Pall Mall and Welsh Pageant, trained by Noel Murless, in 1970 and 1971 – to have won the Lockinge Stakes twice. Perhaps not altogether surprisingly, Lester Piggott, who was the leading jockey in Britain for three decades, is also the leading jockey in the history of the Lockinge Stakes, with six wins between 1960 and 1993.