Oisin Murphy, the jockey who has ridden more winners (79) in 2018 than any other in Britain, believes that Lightning Spear, trained by David Simcock, could be his best hope of a winner at next week’s Royal Ascot.
Highlighting the chance of the horse already tipped on our Betting.Net Queen Anne Stakes preview as one to have on your side, Murphy is very hopeful that his charge can reverse a wafer-thin loss to Rhododendron in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month. The Pivotal five-year-old was occupying the runner’s-up spot in the top mile event for the second year in succession having found only Richard Fahey’s high-class Ribchester too good for him 12 months earlier.
Lightning Spear went on to be beaten just a length into third by Here Comes When in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood before getting his head in front in the Group 2 Celebration Mile back at Goodwood in late-August last year, beating Zonderland by a nose.
“He’s been placed in multiple Group 1s and there’s no bigger event in British racing than Royal Ascot,” Murphy told reporters, “so if he was to win the Queen Anne it would be massive for everyone involved with him. He’s got a very good pedigree and, were he to win a Group 1, you’d imagine a lucrative stallion career would await.”
“He’s very uncomplicated and his temperament is testament to him; I’m a big fan of his. Every big winner means a lot, but this horse does add a little bit extra. On figures, his run in the Lockinge last time was very good. He’s been managed well throughout his career and is in great shape, although he’s getting older.”
Lightning Spear is currently a top priced 8/1 shot with 188Bet to win the opening race on day one of Royal Ascot next Tuesday, having been available at up to 12/1 just a week ago. His old rival Rhododendron, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is the clear 3/1 with Betfred to confirm her superiority, while Benbatl, representing Godolphin, is available at 6/1 with Coral.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.