Paco Boy notched his third group I victory with an impressive performance in the totesport.com Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Racecourse May 15.
Fourth in the race last year (after which it was discovered that he had an infected foot), Paco Boy was settled comfortably in mid-pack by jockey Richard Hughes as Stimulation led the field of nine through the early stages of the eight-furlong contest.
As the pace began to quicken with three furlongs left to run, Hughes still sat motionless aboard Paco Boy, as Zacinto, Ouqba, and Lord Shanakill all began to make their moves on the leader. As the field entered the final furlong, Hughes finally pushed the button and Paco Boy responded with an amazing turn of foot to take command.
Ouqba made a late move to challenge for the lead but was no match for Paco Boy, who won by three-quarters of a length while being geared down. Lord Shanakill plugged on for third, another 3 1/2 lengths behind Ouqba.
Final time for the mile was 1:37.31 over a good to firm turf course.
The Richard Hannon-trained 5-year-old will now be pointed toward Royal Ascot and a defense of his Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) crown, which he won by 1 1/2 lengths last year. One of his challengers at Royal Ascot will more than likely be two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) champion Goldikova, who is scheduled to make her seasonal debut next weekend at Longchamp.
A delighted Hannon told the Racing Post after the race, “He's a better horse this year than last year and he will be a hard horse to beat."
Hannon continued, “He is such a lovely horse to deal with and has grown into an old favorite – I’ve got pictures of him all over the place. He’ll definitely go for the Queen Anne next.”
Paco Boy is by Desert Style out of Tappen Zee, by Sandhurst Prince. He was bred in Ireland by Joan Browne and races for the Calvera Partnership.