Unibet Lincoln Handicap 1m (str) Doncaster Saturday

lincoln handicap guruWith 22 runners lining up for the first big handicap on grass, of the flat racing season, Saturday’s Lincoln, looks a tough nut to crack. However some pretty strong trends have emerged in more recent renewals, not least that 9 of the last ten winners have come from the the relatively narrow weight band of 8-12 to 9-4. Four year olds have been the dominant age group, winning five times in the same period, and indeed have won the last three runnings of The Lincoln. Good form over a straight mile continues to be a definite plus, and trainers with good previous form in the race are always worth noting. Richard Fahey has won twice in the last decade, and canny John Quinn, landed the race for the second time in 2013, but the handler with the most outstanding recent record in the contest has been David O’Meara. He trained the runner up in 2015, the 4th home in 2016, the winner in 2017, and last year’s runner up, Lord Glitters, all of which has to make his recent stable import, Humbert, of particular interest.

Previously trained by Hugo Palmer, for whom he won 4 of his 12 starts, he moved to the O’Meara yard, (staying in the same ownership) at the end of January, and will be having his first run for the yard on Saturday. It’s worth noting that David’s previous winner, Bravery, followed a similar path, making his debut for the stable in The Lincoln. Humbert ran an excellent race over Saturday’s course and distance in last year’s Spring Mile, going down by a neck to High Acclaim, and put in another sterling effort 4 weeks later over Newbury’s straight mile, when going down by a neck to Taqdeer in the 22 runner Spring Cup off a mark of 94. He went on to win a Class2 Newcastle Handicap (AW) off a mark of 97 in June before losing his form in his last two races. If recapturing his previous excellent form, and he’s in the right yard to do it, the son of Kodiac looks fairly handicapped on Saturday’s mark of 98, giving him a racing weight of 8-12 and has plenty in his favour.

Charlie Appleby (pictured) won with the 4yo, Secret Brief three years ago, and favourite backers will be hoping that he can do so again with the current market leader, another 4yo, Auxerre. charlie appleby lincolnLightly raced, the son of Iffraaj has won 3 of his 4 starts, and pretty comfortably won his first attempt in a handicap off a mark off 93 last October, (Kempton 1m AW). Out of the Daylami mare, Roscoff, he is a half brother to the two listed winning fillies, Isabel De Urbina and Manuela De Vega, as well as the very useful Hong Kong handicapper, Hero Look. He certainly lacks nothing on the breeding front and looks quite well handicapped on a mark of 100 giving him a racing weight of 9-00. The only question is, how will he cope with Saturday’s Cavalry charge up the Doncaster mile?

Having moved from Andrew Balding, the 5yo, South Seas, will be making his debut for Philip Kirby. The son of Lope De Vega was a very promising 2yo, winning his first 3 races including the Group3 Solario Stakes, and coming 2nd in a French Group1. However he failed to catch the judges eye in any of his subsequent 9 starts but did run better in the last two, going down by 2 1/2L to Enigmatic (rec20 lbs) off a mark of 102, and by 5 1/2L to Sharja Bridge off the same mark, in Ascot’s Balmoral Handicap last October. The handicapper has cut him some slack with a mark of 100 on Saturday, and if his excellent new trainer, and change of scenery, can eke out a little more improvement he could be interesting.

The ex Godolphin horse, Saltonstall had some interesting form when trained by Mick Halford in Ireland, particularly when gaining his sole handicap success at The Curragh last May.  Racing off a mark of 98 he won pretty comfortably and had the now rated 103 Massif Centrale (gave 2lbs) 3 1/4L back in 3rd.


Ado McGuinness must have a fine chance with Saltonstall

He joined the upwardly mobile team of County Dublin Handler, Adrian McGuinness, (current strike rate 44%) at the end of January, goes well after a break, and looks well handicapped on a mark of 100 giving him a racing weight of 9-00.

The Andrew Balding trained Zwayyan has won 6 of his 21 starts and made a good start to the current campaign when comfortably taking a Class2 Wolverhampton Handicap off a mark of 97, 11 days ago. He has won over Ascot’s straight mile and usually improves for a run so could be interesting.

John Quinn will be hoping to win the race for a third time, with the 6yo son of Fast Company, Safe Voyage. A winner of 6 of his 16 starts, he has been mostly campaigned at distances short of a mile, (unsuccessful in both attempts at the trip) but looked as if he would stay a mile when winning a valuable 16 runner handicap on yielding ground at last Summers Galway Festival over 7f. In a fast run heat for the conditions, he made eye catching headway up the stiff Ballybrit hill, and kept on strongly to land the spoils. The messages from his pedigree are mixed, but his half brother, Lyrics Lion, stayed 10f and Mr Quinn certainly knows what is required.

The David Barron trained Kynren is attracting plenty of attention in the markets, and the son of Clodovil meets Humbert on 3 lbs better terms for the 2 1/2L he was behind him in last year’s Spring Mile over course and distance. He improved steadily through the course of last season so could be well treated on a mark of 98. He stays further than a mile and has one of the best pilots for these big field handicaps in the plate, Robert Winston.

Selection  : Saltonstall
EW.            : Humbert.   Zwayyan.

John Gray

Betway Lincoln Handicap Tips

Betway Lincoln Handicap 1m Str Doncaster Saturday – Run as the Lincolnshire Handicap at the county town’s venerable racecourse for over one hundred years until its closure in 1964, the race was transferred to Doncaster and became known as “The Lincoln”, where it has thrived as the first leg of the “Spring Double” ever since.

Historically, winners have come from all sections of the handicap, but recent renewals have seen a definite increase in the class of competitors, and last year a handicap mark of 96 was required to even get a run. The winner, the Richard Fahey trained Gabrial was the third of the last five winners to have been rated at 100 or above. However, despite these higher rated animals winning, big weights still have proved a serious bar to success, with Babodana in 2004, carrying the steadier of 9st10lbs the last to win with more than 9st4lbs in the plate.

Read our 2014 Lincoln Handicap preview.

Over the past decade training honours, with two wins apiece, have been shared by Messrs Quinn, Fahey,and Haggas, and the latter was also responsible for the 1992 winner. The draw has been significant with only one winner emerging from a draw higher than 17 in the last twelve years. Good form on straight tracks, particularly Newmarket has been a definite pointer. Plenty of previous winners had the benefit of a race under their belt,but thanks to modern conditioning methods, we have seen seven of the last ten winners come home in front on their seasonal debuts. So what of this years renewal?

One that immediately catches the eye is the David O’Meara trained 5yo entire, Lord Of The Land. Previously trained in France by the great Andre Fabre, for whom he won five of his ten starts, including over a straight 1m1f at Maison-Laffite. He makes his debut here for the hugely talented O’Meara, racing off a mark of 102, giving him a tough looking 9st5lbs to shoulder. However the son of Shamardal does look a highly versatile type having had the speed to win over 6 1/2f on the all weather at Deauville, and the stamina to win that 9f contest at Maison- Laffite. O’Meara has already sent out a winner with his first runner of the turf season from his new base in the village of Upper Helmsley, and looks set for another great innings, so Lord Of The Land looks one for the shortlist.

Ed Mc Mahon’s 5yo by Dylan Thomas, Express Himself, looked a progressive type until finishing out the back from a midfield draw in last years Cambridgeshire. However he got back on track three weeks later when putting up a top notch performance at Haydock. Having missed the break he came home with a wet sail and got up to beat the very useful Mitchum Swagger off a mark of 93. As the runner up went on to earn a 15lbs rise, for his close second in a listed contest, Express Himself’s new mark of 101, just 8lbs higher, looks more than reasonable. With decent form at Newmarket, and being by a sire whose offspring often improve with age, Mc Mahon’s 5yo has plenty to recommend him.

Representing the three times successful Haggas yard, the very lightly raced 5yo Mitraad looks interesting. A winner of his only two races on turf, both at Newmarket, he was last seen, on the all weather at Chelmsford last August, where he finished a close second in a Class3 handicap off a mark of 95. Only 4lbs higher at the weekend he may have got in lightly and if handling the cut and thrust of a 22 runner handicap could be involved at the business end.

The 4yo Udodontu ran a great race in last years Brittannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. Trained by Richard Guest he finished a close second off a mark of 88. Now in the hands of Saeed bin Suroor he wasn’t seen again until trotting up off a mark of 94 at Meydan in January. Raised another 8lbs to 102 he was only headed inside the last 50yds at the same venue four weeks later. He races off the same mark on Saturday and sure to have benefited from his winter holiday in the Dubai sunshine he is another well worth considering.

Harry Dunlop’s lightly raced 4yo Storm Rock won a Leicester handicap off a mark of 87 last October and nine days later nearly defied a 15lbs rise when going down by a neck to the year older You’re Fired. He meets the winner on 2lbs better terms at the weekend and as considerable improvement from three to four can be expected he is another who looks well handicapped.

Selection : Lord Of The Land

E.W. : Storm Rock

Lincoln Handicap odds

ImageWhile hugely looking forward to next week’s Grand National meeting at Aintree it is time to dust off the flat form book and take a close look at Saturday’s Lincoln handicap at Doncaster. Some of the more interesting runners and their best prices at the time of writing are Captain Cat 10/1, Whispering Warrior 12/1, Gabrial’s Kaka 12/1, Off Art 16/1, Rebellious Guest 16/1, Bronze Angel 20/1, Global Village 33/1, One More Word 33/1, and Dance and Dance 33/1.


Captain Cat

The current favourite Captain Cat has got to be of major interest after the win of Robin Hoods Bay in last weeks Lingfield’s winter derby. At Lingfield in a cl2 handicap in January Captain Cat was beaten a head by Robins Hood Bay and was probably unlucky not to collect. Being by Dillon Thomas out of a Sadlers Wells mare his return to turf should not present any problems. Very lightly raced for a 5yo he won his maiden over a straight mile at Newmarket gd/fm May 2012. The ability to win over a straight mile particularly at Newmarket is found in the CV of many previously Lincoln winners. His very successful trainers only runner in the race for 25years, his credentials are highly respected.


Whispering Warrior

The David Simcock trained Whispering Warrior showed a nice level of form to win the Wolverhampton Lincoln trial, cl2 handicap tidily off 91. Off a mark of 96 he is not badly treated. While he stays further than a mile the best of his form seems to be on a turning track and is passed over.


Gabrial’s Kaka

Richard Fahy seems to target this race as he has had 24 runners in the past 10 years. He has also been pretty successful in the same period winning it with Brae Hill in 2012 and having seven of his runners placed. Gabriel’s Kaka would seem to have the talent to improve Mr Fahys record in the race. On his final appearance at York in October he ran a fine race to finish 1 3/4L off a mark of 94 behind the John Gosden trained Seek Again who subsequently won the Hollywood Derby in America. This was very solid form indeed and a mark only 1lb higher seems very fair. He has won over 1mile at Pontefract with its long testing straight suggesting that he may be well suited by Doncasters straight mile. Definitely one for the short list.


Off Art

The very much in form Tim Easterby has an interesting runner in Off Art. He has not run since June were he displayed the profile of an improving animal. When stepping up from 7f to a mile he stayed on well to win by a sh/hd in a cl2 handicap. Prior to that he had shown course form when winning aver 7f gd/sft again putting all his best work in at the finish. A previous outing is not necessary to win the Lincoln so coming from this talented handler he must be seriously considered.


Bronze Angel

The Marcus Tregoning trained Bronze Angel is worth a second look. Another who has performed well over Newmarkets straight course having won there over 1m1f and been placed in the Cambridgeshire should be finishing strongly on Saturday.


Dance and Dance

Ed Vaughans rumoured booking of apprentice of the moment Oisin Murphy for his veteran Dance and Dance is interesting. In his last race he ran respectably off a mark of 90 in a Cl2 handicap at Lingfield were he was a staying on third to Birdman. He copes well with a straight mile having won at Newmarket and if the man of the moment Murphy is on board he is worth considering.


One More Word

With the Hills family’s record at the track One More Word is worth a second look. At the course in September over 7f he ran a race full of promise. Having been short of room he stayed on well inside the final furlong to chase home the very useful Breton Rock to whom he was conceding 2lbs. Off a 3lb higher mark he does not look badly treated. Interestingly top jockey Tom Queally has been booked and comes here instead of the lucrative Dubai World Cup meeting.


Selection: Gabrial’s Kaka

Danger: One More Word