Preview 32Red Lincoln Handicap 1mile Doncaster Saturday

Three 6yo’s have won this in the past decade, two of them trained by master trainer, Richard Fahey, (Gabrial 2015, and Brae Hill 2012) and it’s not impossible that the Malton genius will bring up the treble with his son of Clodovil, Third Time Lucky. The 6yo showed that he stays beyond a mile, (always a useful attribute in The Lincoln) and can cope with the demands of a large field handicap, when winning the Cambridgeshire in 2015 (1m1f) Of a mark of 95, and indeed finishing 4th in the following years renewal. Since returning from a 218 days break last November, he has been campaigned exclusively on the All Weather, and put up a decent performance last time, when unsuited by the steadily run contest, he finished a respectable 3rd in Wolverhampton’s Lincoln Trial a fortnight ago, racing off a mark of 95. Arguably a better horse on turf, he will be much better suited by Saturday’s pillar to post gallop on ground that will suit, and off a mark only 2lbs higher than for that Cambridgeshire victory, has to be of interest. (25/1 available at the time of writing).

While experience counts for plenty in The Lincoln, the three times winning trainer (from only seven runners), Willie Haggas, has won on two of those occasions with animals that had raced fewer than six times. This has to make his sole entry, the lightly raced 4yo Addeybb, of interest. Unraced as a 2yo, he has won three of his five starts, winning his first Handicap, last July (Ascot 1m Good) off a mark of 88. Failing to see out the 1m2f trip next time (Goodwood Soft) he only finished 3rd, but dropped back to 9f for a Class2 Newmarket Handicap eight weeks later he won by 1/2L and a Short Head from Saturday’s opponents, Affak, and Fire brigade. He hasn’t been seen since, (176 days ago), but as seven of the last ten Lincoln Winners were making their seasonal debuts, it shouldn’t be a problem, and the vibes from Newmarket are all positive. The Haggas yard is in form and as a son of Pivotal whose offspring thrive in soft ground, Addeybb has plenty going for him.

The Michael Bell trained Fire Brigade meets his Newmarket conqueror on 2lbs worse terms at the weekend, but he did show improved form when taking a Class2 Leicester Handicap off a 4lbs higher mark a month after that Headquarters heat, and intriguingly, Ryan Moore has deserted Addeybb to take the ride on The Bell horse. Fire Brigade is much the more experienced of the two, and likes it soft (has won over Newmarket’s testing mile on soft), so perhaps Ryan has made the right choice, and might just add a first Lincoln Handicap victory to his C.V.

Top handler, David O’Meara won last year’s renewal with the 20/1 chance, Bravery, and his talented 5yo, Lord Glitters has the ability to go close for David again this year. A winner of four of his nine starts in France, he was purchased for €270,000, and came to the Upper Helmsley yard last October. He has collected nearly £200,000 pounds in prize money from his three starts in England ( a win, and runner up twice) since his arrival, and showed an impressive change of gear to get up in the final strides at Ascot on soft ground (1mile) to collect a monster £155,000 first prize. He is now on a 5lbs higher mark leaving him with top weight of 9-10 to shoulder, a burden last carried to victory by Babodana twenty years ago and obviously faces a stiff task, but I feel we have yet to see the best of this son of American sire, Whipper.

Another French import who has done well since leaving his homeland is the Henry Spiller trained 6yo Leader Writer. Transferred to the Spiller yard last July he won a Class2 Ascot Handicap last September (1 Mile Soft) off a mark of 92. Following a 133 day break he made a satisfactory reappearance on the All Weather at Lingfield, finishing two lengths behind the winner in fourth, off Saturday’s mark of 97. A son of Pivotal he thrives in soft conditions, and there is nothing, up and coming young trainer Henry Spiller, (took over from veteran trainer, Willie Musson at Saville House Stables in 2016) would enjoy more, than victory in such a high profile heat.

The last time a horse older than six prevailed in The Lincoln was when the 8yo Hunters Of Broara won twenty years ago, but if the Robert Eddery trained 7yo Donncha manages to get his head in front on Saturday, he won’t be winning out of turn. He was only beaten a neck in the Doncaster Mile in 2016, and he finished best of all in last years renewal of The Lincoln to come 3rd. He had to be switched at the furlong marker, and flew home, only to be denied by a couple of necks. He only ran four more times after Doncaster, and has been off the racecourse since last July. The handicapper has been generous and dropped him 3lbs, leaving him with a nice racing weight of 9-0. He suffered “the unkindest cut of all” last November, which hopefully has had a beneficial effect, and left the son of Captain Marvellous a more tractable animal, ready to strike a blow for the older horse.

Selection : Fire Brigade

E.W. : Third Time Lucky and Leader writer

John Gray

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