National Hunt racing is taking a bit of a break this weekend so my focus turns to Doncaster on the flat and the Lincoln Handicap.
The race is a Class Two Heritage Handicap over one mile and four year olds have had an excellent record in this, winning the last three renewals. Eight four year olds take their chance this year, including the favourite Auxerre. Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin gelding has won his last three in very good style. He has an official rating of 100 and this is only his second start in handicap company. He looks to be very progressive and that may be underestimating him. His jockey James Doyle won on a similar type last year.
Alan King’s Beringer has won three of his twelve starts and ran the 117+ rated Wissahickon to three quarters of a length. He has won over ten furlongs before so this shouldn’t be a problem. Dissimilarly, Another Batt has done most of his racing, and winning, over sprint trips. He has spent the winter in Meydan but looks up against it off top weight.
Mark Johnston has three runners in this – Aquarium and Ventura Knight, who are both four, and Masham Star. The former has been beaten a long way on all of his starts since winning at York in October. The same kind of comment applies to Ventura Knight, who completed a double in July but is 4lbs higher than then still. The older horse Masham Star has won over this course before and goes well at the trip but will be a big price.
Raydiance won a Listed race on just his third start two seasons ago beating Another Batt by a neck and carries 9lbs less than that horse in this. Silver Quartz’s last win came in a handicap at Ascot in September when he beat Zwayyan by a length and a half.
Zwayyan won at the start of the month in the trial for this race ahead of Breden, Third Time Lucky, Aquarium, Masham Star, Ventura Knight, Wahash and Silver Quartz. He is on an unchanged mark but has to carry a penalty. 14/1 looks a good price. The second placed horse Breden has put in three good runs after a double over a mile on the all weather. Third Time Lucky has been a grand horse but there is plenty of life left in the seven year old’s legs yet. He ran a really good race on seasonal debut and his trainer, Richard Fahey, has won this before. Fahey also has four year old Great Prospector, who was third in the Superlative Stakes at two. He hasn’t been beaten far on his starts since apart from finishing last in a race at York. Wahash finished worse placed of all these runners in the Lincoln Trial. The Dark Angel gelding came tenth. He placed here in May 2017 on heavy but has only ever won round Lingfield.
Humbert and Ripp Orf were regulars in big field handicaps last season. The former was second here in the Spring Mile, finishing ahead of Kynren, over course and distance and then second in another large field race, crossing the line before Third Time Lucky. He won at Newcastle in June and has ran betterhan placings suggested the last twice. Kynren was behind Another Batt last time but has ran well in big field handicaps all last season so definitely has claims. Ripp Orf ran fourteen times since this time last year and all four of his wins have come in that period. He goes well at this trip but my only worry is his ninth over course and distance last time. He couldn’t just been tired at the end of a long season then and he will be fresher for the break.
Ado McGuiness has been in good form in Ireland lately and he sends over Saltonstall with Ronan Whelan on board. The five year old used to be with a different yard and is making his debut fir the McGuiness yard. He was second in the Irish Lincolnshire in 2018 and that seems decent form. He won of top weight in a competitive handicap in May. South Seas is also having his first start for trainer Philip Kirby. He was a well regarded two year old with Andrew Balding and won a group three in 2016. He hasn’t won since but it would be nice for him to run well as connections have suffered a huge blow with Blaklion getting injured before his tilt at the Grand National.
Connor McGovern is a good apprentice jockey and takes 3lbs off Waarif. The pair won a class two at Ayr in September, beating Chatez, but he doesn’t have a great record in big field handicaps. Chiefofchiefs has been behind Wissahickon the last twice and has ran a few times at this trip. Safe Voyage won a big handicap in Ireland in August then finished fifteenth in the Balmoral Handicap at Champions Day, in which Another Batt, Kynren, Waarif and South Seas all finished ahead of him but he finished before Zwayyan, Humbert, Raydiance and Aquarium.
Four of the main trends of the last few years have been that the winner has been rated between 95 and 99; carried less than 9st4; came second or won last time (on the flat) and ran well at this track before. Interestingly, the one horse left is Chatez and he is roughly 50/1! He’s from the same ownership as my favourite horse Smad Place and is a four times winner on the flat, including here in the 2015 Spring Mile. He ran a pitiful race last time in a competitive handicap hurdle but he ran well before that, has a good draw and good jockey and I think he can out run his big odds.
I think the favourite AUXERRE is a nice type and will run a big race with Kynren and Zwayyan to fill the places. Hopefully Chatez can run well too but he’s a ginormous price and his run last time wasn’t great.