Domestic bliss for Modern Games with sparkling G1 Lockinge Stakes display
Modern Games recorded his fifth G1 victory, and first in the UK, as he unleashed his trademark scintillating turn of foot to take the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, 20 May.
The Eclipse Award-winning colt had already proved himself as an outstanding performer on the international stage for Charlie Appleby, with top-level wins in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Woodbine Mile, and Breeders’ Cup Mile.
After breaking on terms from his high draw, Modern Games raced in mid-division down the stands’ side, with Mutasaabeq leading the 12-strong field down the centre of the course.
Modern Games, a half-brother to this season’s 1,000 Guineas heroine Mawj, still had plenty of work to do as the runners racing with Mutasaabeq appeared to hold sway entering the final quarter-mile.
Chindit took over from Mutasaabeq soon after but Modern Games went through the gears passing the furlong-pole to hit the front with just under half a furlong to race, despite Chindit attempting to bite the Godolphin runner.
Modern Games took control in the closing stages, hitting the line strongly under William Buick to win by a length and a half and provide Godolphin with a record ninth Lockinge Stakes success.
Charlie Appleby said: “I am delighted for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin and all the team back at Moulton Paddocks. Modern Games deserved this – he was already a four-time G1 winner but it’s a huge feather in his cap for him to do it on home soil.
“There was strength in depth in the field, and they went a good gallop. I said to William [Buick] to try and keep Modern Games up in the van and keep him interested. He is an older horse now, so you need to keep the interest there, while it also gives him a target. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do but William gave him a fantastic ride. Horse and jockey know each other so well now, and William knew when to deliver his challenge.
“Modern Games started his career off with the likes of Native Trail and Coroebus, so he was going out in the mornings with some star milers. We have seen Modern Games winning the French Guineas and out in North America, and I thought finishing second to Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes was a huge race. He was one of the few horses who put Baaeed under the pump and I felt he gained a lot of recognition in the UK from that point onwards.
“We will head to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne Stakes now. We will keep an eye on the Sussex Stakes afterwards and see what the three-year-olds are achieving through the summer. Ultimately, we would like to head back to America to try and win at the Breeders’ Cup for a third time.”
William Buick added: “Modern Games has been top-class all throughout his career and is a real top-class miler. You forget that this is his first G1 in this country, so I am delighted for him to achieve it. He really deserves this after running Baaeed so close in the Sussex Stakes last year.
“Any time when you are drawn on the wing, you are always reliant on pace around you but Modern Games is a very versatile horse. He can make things happen around him, rather than relying on other things to happen. I was quite comfortable throughout and he responded very well to everything I asked of him.
“He is very straightforward and there are no idiosyncrasies. He is just a very, very good horse.”