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Observatory keeping eye on Newbury weather.

Observatory's expected reappearance in the Group One Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury tomorrow could be in doubt if the current spell of wet weather continues.

Last season's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner is owned by the race's sponsor, Khaled Abdulla and has always had this one-mile contest on his agenda. The four-year-old has also been supplemented, at a cost of pounds 5,000, for the Group One Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp on Sunday.

Teddy Beckett, the owner's racing manager, said: 'Newbury has been hit by rain and we wish to keep our options open. The weather will dictate our plans.'

All eight confirmed entries have been declared to run in the Lockinge. Sir Michael Stoute runs Queen Elizabeth II Stakes fourth Medicean, while Geoff Wragg will be double-handed, with Frankie Dettori taking the ride on Monday's Windsor winner Swallow Flight and Johnny Murtagh getting the leg up on Danceabout.

Arkadian Hero will bid for an elusive first Group One success. Luca Cumani's six-year-old, who has been beaten in ten previous races at the highest level, finished fifth behind Jim And Tonic in last month's Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba.

Sugarfoot, who will be suited by the rain-softened ground, finished a close fifth in last year's renewal after been carried wide. Trainer Nigel Tinkler said: 'The soft ground will definitely help, but we could have done without being in stall one.'

Richard Hannon's Umistim, another who will appreciate the underfoot conditions, completes the line-up along with James Fanshawe's Warningford.
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Title Annotation:Racing
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 18, 2001
Words:250
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