The Lincoln Handicap over 1m at Doncaster this Saturday signals the beginning of the British Turf Flat Racing season and as always, the race has a very open feel to it with several runners seemingly in with good chances, together with a number of dark horses that have so often got up in this race to surprise the punters in the past with only three winning favourites in the last 10 years.
Likely to go off the favourite this year is the Roger Varian trained, Eton Forever, winner 12 months ago over course and distance in the Spring Mile. Varian has confirmed this week that his preparations have gone very well and he is happy that the likely Good to Firm ground will suit his runner perfectly. If there is a reason to have doubts about Eton Forever, then it is down to his mark of 103 which has given him an allocation of 9 stone 5lb to carry in the race and only one horse has carried that weight to victory in the last ten years.
The William Haggas trained Fury, who came fifth behind Frankel in last year’s 2000 Guineas is certainly one to enter calculations. The four year old followed up that Guineas run with a second in the Listed, Heron Stakes, over a mile at Sandown but from then, his form dipped alarmingly.
Nonetheless, Haggas has trained two Lincoln winners in the last five years and believes that the grey has now returned to his best form and will benefit by having stable apprentice, Adam Beschizza, taking 3lbs off the 9 stone allocated. Doubts remain about the ground as he would definitely benefit with a bit of cut but notwithstanding, he will take his chance and is likely to go off amongst the market leaders and could be the best of them all on the day since he boasts the best form of the field with that Guineas run.
Cocozza, trained by Marco Botti, has been the subject of a decent enough gamble over the past few days with a number of British bookmakers shortening from 14/1 to around the 10/1 mark in the latest Lincoln odds. Botti has warned punters however that the former inmate of the John Oxx stable in Ireland would prefer some cut in the ground. The four year old was thought by Oxx to have decent Group potential but that never came to pass so he will be making his handicap debut as well as running for the first time for his new trainer and could be anything but the support would suggest he’s highly thought of.
Edinburgh Knight is said to be in great form at home by trainer Paul D’Arcy who has been counting the days before giving his five year old a crack at a big prize. Unexposed over eight furlongs, Edinburgh Knight after showing only mediocre form in Handicap company last season bounced back to winning ways when tried over a mile. He first of all won an Apprentice Handicap at Ascot and followed that up with another win over a mile in the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park. His mark of 104 is a negative but there is no doubting the stable confidence behind him and he could be one to keep a close eye in the marker, where is currently around the 9/1 mark.
One that might interest Each Way backers is the David Simcock trained Pintura who finished just over four lengths behind Nazreef in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton earlier this month is certain to improve for the run and the return to turf racing. Before that he ran well in the Cambridgeshire and was third in the Totesport Mile at Glorious Goodwood. He is a very consistent five year old who could easily get amongst them in the finish on Saturday and at around 20/1 is good value to do so and is worth a speculative punt to complement the win bet on Fury.
Winner: Fury @ 7/1
Each Way: Pintura @ 20/1