The traditional start to the turf season, featuring the Lincoln Handicap, was one of the first victims of the Covid-19 pandemic last year but it’s all systems go this time around at Doncaster.
The Lincoln is back this year, with Eastern World heading the betting for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin who have won two of the last four renewals, including with Auxerre the last time the race was run in 2019.
There are also interesting cards at both Kempton and Newbury on Saturday, completing an exciting day of televised horse racing action.
- Will be returning from winter break
- Rated 106+
- Aged between 5 and 7
- Proven type over trip
- Stalls 2 to 4 responsible for 5 of the previous 7 winners.
- Roger Varian has trained 3 of the last 4 winners
The Roger Varian trained Father Of Jazz has to be respected given his trainer’s recent record in the race.
A winner of 3 of his 4 starts this winter on the all-weather he looks a progressive type, this, however, is a much tougher test and although we are unlikely to have seen the best of him yet I`d be happy to oppose at this stage.
Top Rank is 3 from 3 when returning to the track fresh and is likely to go well once more. He was disappointing when last seen at Newmarket in the Autumn but prior to that won a Group 3 at Haydock. He has to carry a 5lb penalty for that victory which will make things tougher.
Richard Fahey normally has his team well forward for this meeting and his Space Traveller looks an interesting runner here. We didn’t see much of him last season with his only start being a respectable 6th in Group 1 Queen Anne stakes at Royal Ascot.
A winner at a higher level to this in the past he could have a bit too much class for his rivals. He`s won here in the past and is well suited to these straight tracks so conditions look in his favour.
Selection: Space Traveller (NAP)
- Aged 4, excellent record of 15 wins from the last 18
- Carried 8-13 or more
Top weight Dubai Souq looks an interesting runner for the Godolphin team. They generally have a good record here at the Lincoln meeting with horses they target for the meeting and this son of Dubawi could still prove better than this grade in time.
We only got to him race once last season when he was far to keen in his race over a ½ mile further trip than today. The drop back in trip to a mile looks the right move for this keen traveller and I can see him going well at what looks a fair price.
Acquitted is another who has the potential to be well ahead of his current handicap mark of 91. The Hugo Palmer trained runner has been gelded during the winter and does need to bounce back from 2 below-par efforts when not beating a single runner home in 2 competitive handicaps at Royal Ascot and Sandown.
His form prior to that has a real solid feel to it though. He finished 2nd to the now Group 1 winner Palalce Pier on his return last season and his 2-year-old form when beating Waleydd at Newbury suggest he has the potential still to be more than a handicapper.
Amaysmont is the Richard Fahey representee in this and arrives here on the back of a busy all-weather campaign. The step back to turf should be no problem and a good run can be expected while looking slightly vulnerable to a progressive type.
Another trainer who does well with his runners here is Ralph Beckett and his Mascat was running consistently well in handicaps last Autumn over a variety of trips, he`s been gelded over the winter and a bit more improvement should see him in the mix once again.
Selection: Dubai Souq (Each Way)
- Aged 6 or younger
- Avoid top weights, 16 of the last 17 carried 9-4 or less
- Proven over the trip or further
- Lightly raced progressive type. 14/17 Won between 2 or 4 times
Eastern World and Haqeeqy have been well supported in recent weeks and look likely to head the market come post time. Both represent powerful Newmarket connections and look similar progressive types.
The former won a race in Meydan 6 weeks so arrives in here good heart for previous winning connections so would be my choice of the pair considering John Gosden who trains Haqeeqy pretty poor record in the race and at this meeting overall.
Brentford Hope was a good winner at Haydock in the mud when last seen, Jamie Spencer rides these straight mile tracks well so it would be no surprise to see this keen type buried in the field before being produced late. He should go well but there has to be a concern he is a better horse on a softer surface.
Danyay is another who was victorious last time out in Haydock handicap, that win looked well overdue as he had been a bit unfortunate in a couple of handicaps previous in the season.
He’s won here over a furlong shorter on his seasonal reappearance last season and looks to hold solid claims.
Ouzo is another in the line up to have a good record fresh, he put in a career-best performance when last seen in a large field handicap at York and should go well once more despite the higher mark
Selection: Danyah (Next Best)
- Aged between 4-6 years-old
- Won no more than 5 times
- Previous course or similar track type form
The front of the market potentially looks a bit vulnerable here with Brando and Summerghand potentially in slight decline now and many in the line up have an exposed look to them.
The two who catch the eye who could have more to offer this season though are Ainsdale and Royal Commando. Karl Burke and Clifford Lee have had a good time of things over the winter months and his runner here appeals as the type who could make into a better 4 horse this season.
The Charlie Hills trained Royal Commando faced some stiff tasks last season but did run a really good race in the commonwealth cup at Royal Ascot.
Things did not really go to plan after that and will need to be at his best to win this but he does have a good record fresh, has won at the course and the drop back to 6f on a straight track looks a good move
3-year-olds generally have a poor record in this race so Gioia Ciece and Just Frank are likely to find this a tough ask at this stage of the season.
Selection: Royal Commando
- Aged 4 or 5
- Fancied within the market – 11 of the last 13 front 3 in betting
- Won over the trip previously
- A low stall preferable
- Between them William Haggas and John Gosden have won 6 of the last 13 renewals
With the record of their trainers in the race both Global Giant and Faylaq have to be respected and should be involved in the finish.
That said the former has to bounce back from a below-par effort and the latter may just have other bigger targets further down the line.
With that in mind and looking at the likely odds, I’m happy to take a chance on the Mark Johnston trained Sky defender.
Yes, he is vulnerable to a classier type but he arrives here race fit and could just be a tough horse to pass from the front in this small field.
Selection: Sky Defender
- Aged 4 or 5 – 13 of the last 16 winners
- Won over 1m 2f+
- Progressive yet not done too much winning – 12 of the last 16 won no more than 4 occasions.
Al Zaraqaan, is a progressive type who is proven over this course and distance. He’s seeker a four-timer here and the 5lb rise who his first handicap victory does not look to harsh. Master The Stars ran a good race here over 10f on his reappearance 24 days ago.
He looked like he would come on for that effort and if he can get a faster early pace to run a big run would not surprise.
Dark Pine put in a career best when winning at Wolverhampton last time, this however looks a much stronger race and that combined with the 9lb rise in the weights could see him struggle.
Selection: Master The Stars
Some really interesting progressive novices in the line up and none more so than the Paul Nicholls trained Good Ball.
He showed some good from in 2 novice events here previously with the form of his victory here working out particularly well. A mark of 130 looks fair an in receipt of a handy weight allowance he is fancied to go close.
The Gary Moore trained Hudson De Grugy has a similar profile to the selection and was a wide margin winner on handicap debut. The 8lb rise in the weights should not be what stops him but I worry his form to date is all on a softer surface.
The consistent Hooper, and the progressive Mount Windor who will be seeking his 5th successive victory are others to consider in a open looking race.
Selection: Good Ball
3.25 2m4½f EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Mares’ Hurdle (A Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) (Series Final) (Class 1) (4yo+)
- Aged 5 or 6 years of age
- Will have won 1 or 2 occasions over hurdles preferably including last time out
- Generally, goes to a fancied runner within the market – 12 of last 16 8/1 or shorter
- A race in which Nicky Henderson has a strong record in winning a total of 4 occasions in recent years.
Nicky Henderson looks set to run 4 in the field with the choice of Nico De Boinville being Lilly Pedlar.
She could be better suited to this quicker surface than what she has raced on previously and an improved showing would not surprise. The one however I like here is the Colin Tizzard trained Cheveley Park owned Rose Of Arcadia.
Both a point and bumper winner she showed the benefit of a couple of previous runs over hurdles to get off the mark at Wincanton last time. She appeals as the type who is going to progress with racing and a opening handicap mark of 120 looks fair.
Selection: Rose Of Arcadia
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