The new flat-racing season officially gets underway this Saturday with the Traditional Lincoln meeting from Doncaster.
The Lincoln Handicap (3.45pm) is the feature race on the card and is run over the straight mile.
As usual, it is a typically competitive affair, with 22 runners doing battle on ground that is forecast to be good with good-to-soft in places. There are a few showers forecast in Doncaster on Saturday which means the ground should remain in a similar condition.
A quick look at the last ten year’s statistics show that the all ten renewals in that time have been won by either a 4-year-old (four), a 5-year-old (three) or a 6 year-old (three), however the last four have been won by 5 or 6 year-olds.
In the last decade trainers William Haggas and John Quinn have both claimed the prize twice, whilst the now retired Johnny Murtagh is the only jockey to have won it more than once.
Five horses carrying 9-00 or more have won as have five horses carrying 8-12 or less. Weights carried have varied between 8-04 and 9-04, though four of the last five winners have carried between 9-01 and 9-04.
Three favourites have won in the last decade 3/1, 10/3 and 5/1, with the other winners being priced at 9/1, 10/1, 16/1, 20/1 (2) and 25/1.
Horses drawn middle-to-high have had an advantage over those drawn low in recent renewals.
Read my analysis and tips below.
Mange All 6/1
Likely favourite trained by William Haggas. 4-year-old who is 3lb better off for just under 4 lengths with market rival GM Hopkins on their running at Ascot last year, but has been drawn 7 which may not suit.
GM Hopkins 7/1
4-year-old who is 7lb higher than for his last win, but 1lb lower than when placed twice after that. May enjoy return to the straight mile and appears well-drawn in stall 21.
A 4-year-old who was highly tried last year but remains on a mark several pounds higher than he’s won off. Potential to improve, drawn well and fits into the preferred weight bracket of 4 of the last 5 winners.
Finished 6th of 17 in last year’s renewal when the soft ground wouldn’t have been ideal. Decent claimer Jack Garrity takes 5lb off the 5-year-old’s back and that puts him on a mark just 1lb higher than winning last year’s Spring Cup at Newbury on good ground. Trainer Richard Fahey won the race in 2012. Drawn 22.
Won three times for Marco Botti last year and could well have further improvement to come as a 4-year-old. Won on good to soft and well drawn in stall 19, but 7lb higher than last winning mark.
Owned and trained by the same connections as Gabrial’s Kaka and the mount of stable jockey Tony Hamilton. Won off a mark of 108 over course and distance in 2013, but won his last race off 94 at Leicester. Now rated 100.
With the remainder of the runners seemingly handicapped up to the hilt, it seems likely that the winner will come from our shortlist of 6, with preference being for Gabrial who fits the profile of recent winners and has won off a higher mark and over course and distance. Half the winners in the last decade have gone off at double-figure odds and he looks the value.
1 point each-way @ 16/1