The Lincoln is the first big handicap of the new turf season, run over a mile at Doncaster (3.35pm Saturday live on ITV4). The former market leader, Roger Varian’s Morando is out after suffering a setback leaving his jockey Andrea Atzeni free to partner Yuften, the unconvincing 9/2 favourite in the Lincoln betting.
Yuften has a tendency to hang to the left but it did not stop him winning the Balmoral Handicap in a field of 19 over this distance under Atzeni at Ascot in October off a mark of 101. Trained by Roger Charlton, this six-year-old son of Invincible Spirit finished third, beaten a head, in his sole outing this year at Wolverhampton in early March.
It was his first run since being gelded and proved that he can perform off his new mark of 105. But Charlton is not a go to trainer in big handicaps and only two favourites have delivered in the Lincoln in the past decade. Another negative is that Yuften is a hold-up horse drawn fairly high, away from the likely speedsters, so it has to be worth looking elsewhere.
The second favourite Donncha (7/1) finished second, beaten a neck here by Michael Dods’ Lord Of The Rock in the Spring Mile on his seasonal debut last year. He performed with credit in most of his subsequent runs in hot handicaps since but never managed to get his head in front.
Trained by Robert Eddery, this six-year-old’s form suggests that a mile with a bit of cut in the ground suits him so conditions look good. His best efforts have been achieved after hold-up tactics have been used but he is also drawn high from stall 21 where early pace may be lacking. Jamie Spencer rides him for the first time and will enjoy loitering at the back but the draw is a big concern that makes him unattractive at his current price.
A more interesting runner drawn high is David O’Meara’s Bravery (14/1). O’Meara (pictured), unlike Eddery and Charlton, is always a trainer to look out for in valuable handicaps. Previously trained by Aidan O’Brien, this four-year-old was an expensive purchase for the Magniers, Smith and Tabor as a yearling and depreciated significantly, from 400,000 guineas to 44,000 as a three-year-old after achieving only one win, in a maiden.
Bravery was last seen getting beaten 46 lengths in a one and a half mile handicap on testing ground at Naas in October for O’Brien. O’Meara has had time to work his magic and we can expect this four-year-old son of Galileo to enjoy better ground than he generally encountered in Ireland. The O’Meara factor makes Bravery an interesting each-way prospect.
The same sentiment applies to Oh This Is Us (14/1), trained by Richard Hannon who has managed to book Ryan Moore to partner him. Unlike Bravery, Oh This Is Us has five wins to his name, the most recent one was at this track in October in a seven furlong handicap off a mark of 101 on quick ground. He has had a couple of runs in Dubai since and picked up place money off his current mark of 105.
Oh This Is Us is another hold up horse, but he is drawn low, a couple of stalls away from the front-running Eddystone Rock (25/1) in stall five and George Cinq (33/1) in stall six. If he has benefited from the sunshine of Dubai he could go well and having Moore on board for the first time has to be a massive positive but he looks to prefer quicker ground.
Richard Fahey targets this race and has won two of the past five renewals, he saddles five this time. Dolphin Vista has attracted some support at 16/1, he has been gelded since his last run when he was beaten seven lengths in a handicap at York in October over a mile and a quarter. In his previous start he scored over the same distance at Beverley.
This four-year-old is open to further improvement and ran well on his one start at this track, finishing second in a nursery handicap in 2015. Drawn in stall ten, Paul Hanagan will partner him for the first time.
Hanagan rode the 2015 Cambridgeshire winner Third Time Lucky (14/1) for Fahey in his last two runs, winning with him at Wolverhampton in February but was beaten into third on the all-weather at Lingfield in early March off his current mark of 106. The 7lb claimer, Connor Murtagh significantly reduces his load here. Expect to see this five-year-old grey son of Clodovil close to the pace drawn lowest of all. He might get lucky again.
Sammy Jo Bell takes 3lb off the back of Heaven’s Guest (25/1) but, beaten 33 lengths here last year, this seven-year-old seems to be more effective over seven furlongs. He has not placed in his two runs over a mile and is difficult to fancy.
There are no such concerns with the Marwan Koukash owned Gabriel (20/1) who has won over slightly further than this in a listed race on soft ground at Windsor in June. He has not won since but has been thrown into top class company and did well to finish mid field in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, beaten nearly four lengths by The Gurkha.
This is his first home run after returning from hotter climes where he picked up place money for finishing fifth in a Group 2 at Meydan. Now an eight-year-old, he might have benefited from the sunshine and is drawn low. Adam McNamara claims a useful 3lb but the Lincoln is usually won by younger legs.
The fifth Fahey horse, the six-year-old Withernsea (33/1) has crept into this at the bottom of the weights. Owned by Tiffin Sandwiches, his form suggests he needs more testing conditions to be at his most effective.
The seven-year-old Top Notch Tonto (12/1) also looks a bit long in the tooth as no horse older than six has won this since the eight-year-old Hunters Of Brora in 1998. Top Notch Tonto benefits from Ben Robinson’s 7lb claim but probably needs slow ground to shine.
John Ryan saddled the 2014 Lincoln winner Ocean Tempest and sends out the topweight Battle Of Marathon (16/1) this time. Carrying more than 9 stone 4lb to victory is a rare feat, last achieved in 2004 which does not bode well for Gabriel either.
Our Lincoln Preview’s Each-Way Betting Tip
Draw concerns make Yuften and Donncha unattractive at ungenerous prices but it is worth taking a chance on Bravery. David O’Meara has worked miracles with cheap horses from highly respected yards before and this horse is the right age and carrying a manageable weight.
- So this preview’s betting tips’ advice is to bet on BRAVERY each-way at a current best price of 14/1 with William Hill who are paying 1/4 the odds on the first four places or with Paddy Power who pay 1/5th odds for the first five.
Fiona Derek is our Reality TV and horse racing expert. The only time you won’t find her riding or mucking out a racehorse is when she is watching Reality TV or racing on the box.