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Published: 17:24 | 14/5/16

Belardo storms to Lockinge Stakes glory

Superb run in Newbury feature

Belardo stormed to a superb victory in the feature Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The Roger Varian-trained four-year-old bay colt made a late burst from the middle of the pack before staying on strongly under Andrea Atzeni to claim victory by a single length over one mile.

Euro Charline with Ryan Moore on board was second, with the Ger Lyons-trained Endless Drama under Colin Keane making it a first and third for the Irish contingent.

"The last time I sat on him was the Dewhurst - he's a good horse on his day and it's a pleasure to be back on him," winning jockey Atzeni said afterwards.

"I remember when I first sat on him as a two-year-old I told Roger he was the fastest I'd sat on.

"They went quick, he half-fell out of the stalls, but that's him and he travelled brilliantly throughout the race and picked up when he got daylight.

"It's just on the easy side of good and probably at his very best he just needs a bit of cut.

"Roger is a great boss and we work well together, there's a great team at home and I'm very lucky to work with him."

Varian was delighted with Belardo's return to form, adding: "He salvaged his year last year by chasing home Solow at Ascot. That really told us to keep him in training.

"To win a race like this is why connections kept him in training, so I'm delighted for Sheikh Mohammed and his Godolphin operation and also Prince Faisal.

"They kept patience with the trainer and they've been rewarded."

He went on: "I always kept the faith in the horse, as his work was outstanding at home. He's got masses of talent.

"We messed him around a bit last year as we had him ready for races and then didn't run because of the firm ground. Then we tried him over six furlongs and he's not a sprinter.

"The team at home have done a fantastic job and I'm delighted for the horse, as he deserved another big one, I thought.

"He'll certainly be trained for Royal Ascot (Queen Anne) - that's where we'd like to be.

"God willing we get there in one piece."

By: Kieran O'Daly

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