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Modern Games Back on Top With Lockinge Victory

Modern Games  came with a sustained surge to land the May 20 Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury Racecourse despite runner-up Chindit  biting winning jockey William Buick in the closing stages.

Chindit had charged through to lead under jockey Pat Dobbs with two furlongs remaining, but Modern Games swept through towards the rail to challenge him as the race reached its climax. As Buick gained the upper hand, Chindit stretched out his head and bared his teeth, catching the champion jockey.

“He got my hand—I definitely noticed it,” Buick said, with ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell saying he could see blood on the jockey’s hand. “They had a real tussle but this horse is a real superstar.

“He’s so consistent and is a joy to have anything to do with. He’s there whenever you need him and he’s done it now in England, in France, and America a couple of times. He’s a top-class miler.”

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Asked how he would feel waking up with a bruise in the morning, Buick added: “I’ll take a bruise for that (performance).”

Despite being the only group 1 winner in the field, Modern Games had been a drifter in the betting on Saturday morning as support came for Laurel , the mount of Frankie Dettori.

However, as the race grew closer Modern Games started attracting more support and was sent off the 3-1 favorite to add to his top-level victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T), Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T), Woodbine Mile (G1T), and Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1).

With the field splitting into three, Mutasaabeq  held the overall lead on the far side for much of the race until the pack began to close in around him approaching the final quarter of the contest.

Having traveled strongly, Chindit moved through to lead in the center but Modern Games was now beginning to respond towards the near side having initially come under a drive over three furlongs out.

Now into top gear, Modern Games zipped past his opponents, with Chindit striking out to his right as Modern Games challenged him at speed. Chindit copped a strike of Buick’s whip across his nose having got between the jockey and Modern Games at an inopportune moment.

Modern Games was decisively on top at the end, with Chindit second and Berkshire Shadow  third. Laurel failed to sparkle and finished tenth of the 12 runners.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “It’s an important day for him as he’s done it in America and is a Classic winner in France but to do it here on home soil is a big feather in his cap. I’m delighted for the horse.”

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