Aidan O’Brien launches four-strong assault on Lockinge prize

Rhododendron headlines Newbury challenge for the Ballydoyle team

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Rhododendron and Lancaster Bomber head a party of four from the Aidan O’Brien stable heading to Saturday’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Hawk Wing, back in 2003, is O’Brien’s sole winner of the Group One over a mile, but he has a strong team this time among a final field of 16.

Rhododendron, a dual Group One winner was fourth to Cracksman on her seasonal debut while Lancaster Bomber ran in Dubai in March.

Deauville and War Decree make up the Ballydoyle handler’s quartet.

The Fozzy Stack-trained Alexios Komnenos is a fifth Irish raider.

A mighty home defence is led by Henry Candy’s Limato, who was fourth in 2016 in one of his rare forays beyond seven furlongs, but will be trying to win over a mile for the first time.

David Simcock’s Lightning Spear was runner-up 12 months ago while William Haggas’s progressive four-year-old Addeybb steps up to the top level after winning the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown.

Others in a quality line-up include the David O’Meara-trained Suedois, Roger Varian’s improving five-year-old Zabeel Prince, Dutch Connection from Charlie Hills’ yard and Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank.

The list is completed by Accidental Agent, Lahore, Librisa Breeze and Zonderland.

The three withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Breton Rock, Oh This Is Us and Psychedelic Funk.

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