We’ve only just absorbed the Cheltenham Festival but now back comes the Flat with some gusto.
Saturday afternoon sees the new Flat season bursting into typically competitive action with the Lincoln at Doncaster.
The Town Moor contest has become a burden for favourite-backers, with none obliging since 2010. In that time, all of the winners have been double-figure odds, with many at big prices.
For that reason, interest in this race will be drawn from the value end of the market, though that doesn’t stop me hoping to have uncovered a winner!
Dark Red appeals for trainer Ed Dunlop at generous odds of 28/1.
He ran a cracker over this mile trip at Ascot in October in the Balmoral Handicap on soft ground, just giving best in the final 100 yards in a race won by the re-opposing Lord Glitters, who must shoulder top-weight in this 22-runner field and is as short as 6/1 to confirm the form.
PJ McDonald’s mount looks fairly weighted from the same mark now and he’s got a fitness edge on plenty of these after a recent spin on Kempton’s all-weather. He picked up nicely in that contest over 1m2f and should be primed now dropped in trip, ensuring his odds are appealing for the early-season Town Moor showpiece.
In the preceding contest, the Listed Doncaster Mile (3.00), Zabeel Prince is fancied at 7/4 for trainer Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni – the King of Doncaster!
He looked a progressive performer last term, winning three on end before coming undone at Ascot on his final start. That run came eight days after a win at York and, on reflection, such a competitive heat was asking plenty on a quick turnaround.
He’s forgiven and should be more than capable of resuming progress this term give the low mileage he has on the clock. Richard Hannon’s Tabarrak looks the main danger to his aspirations, but he carries a 3lb penalty and that is enough to sway the vote away from last year’s winning trainer.
Over at Lingfield, A Momentofmadness can give Charles Hills success in the Betway Sprint Handicap (3.45) at a price of 3/1.
A winner on his reappearance in each of the last two seasons, he’s got figures of 1113 on the all-weather and has won at Lingfield before. This track should play to his speed and, from a low draw, William Buick can jump away fast and be in the vanguard all the way around the 5f trip.
We can’t desert the jumpers just yet, though, and Rosmuc Relay appeals for trainer Kim Bailey ahead of his handicap debut at Bangor-on-Dee in the Broxton Gates Handicap Hurdle (3.25).
He’s made short work of two novice hurdles so far for this handler and the winning Irish pointer should have few concerns upped in trip for his handicap debut now. David Bass can hopefully steer him to the hat-trick and oblige at 5/2.
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