The 2012 Flat season must be getting very much closer as news breaks of Newmarket handler Paul D’Arcy having moved swiftly to secure the services of top Irish jockey Pat Smullen for his Edinburgh Knight ahead of his bid to win the first big handicap of the season on turf, the William Hill Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster on March 31, writes Elliot Slater.
As short as 12/1 in the latest online horse racing betting with some firms, but still available at 16/1 in places in the ante-post list for the hugely competitive mile handicap that marks the traditional start of the Flat season on turf, Edinburgh Knight ended last term on a steep upward curve winning two good prizes and rising to an official rating of 104, having started the season on 89. A winner at Newcastle in June over just six furlongs, Edinburgh Knight ran creditably in mid-division behind Mick Easterby’s Hoof It in the Stewards Cup the following month, but he really hit form two starts later when beating 28 rivals at Ascot on Champions Day in mid-October under a fine ride from Matthew Davies to land the Qipco Future Stars Apprentice Handicap over seven furlongs.
Raised to a new high of 98 the gelded son of Selkirk then switched to the Polytrack at Kempton in November and stepped up to a mile for the first time in 18 months to bravely deny The Shrew in the listed Hyde Stakes under a canny ride from the astute Jim Crowley. D’Arcy had initially turned to Crowley to take the mount on his charge for the Lincoln, but found the former jump jockey will be on duty half-way across the globe at the Dubai World Cup fixture the same day, so called on the services of Smullen who was more than happy to accept the ride.