A week later than scheduled but Doncaster gets the flat season back underway with the annual curtain-raiser, the competitive William Hill Lincoln Handicap, writes Mark Ormondroyd.
Always a competitive mile handicap and the 2013 running is no different with a large number set to battle out the straight mile of the Town Moor course.
Brae Hill, last year’s winner, lines up again and although he runs well fresh, it would be an achievement to win back-to-back Lincolns.
Brian Ellison’s pair, Memory Cloth and Global Village both enjoy testing ground, and they’ll certainly get that tomorrow with the forecasted ground soft, heavy in places.
Charles Hills reported in the week that his horse Captain Bertie would appreciate the extra week to prepare and given the fact he was second in the Spring Cup at Newbury on soft last April, must be considered to give the Lambourn trainer his first ever Lincoln winner.
John Gosden saddles two interesting contenders in the same ownership, Lahaag and Eshtibaak. Both are very lightly raced to say they are four and five years old respectively, and given connections have persisted with them, either could easily run away with the race, but preference is for Lahaag.
Chapter Seven is a very interesting contender. Having his first run for new connections (Pearl Bloodstock), Chapter Seven has proven himself on testing ground with wins at Musselburgh and York where he beat Lahaag last year.
Stuart Williams’ charge has won after a break and over further than the Lincoln distance, which with testing ground expected, the 2013 winner may require a horse with extra stamina.
Providing Graham Lee gets a clear run, it would be no surprise to see Chapter Seven first past the post.
Elsewhere on the card, Jamaican Bolt will enjoy conditions in the opener and should go close, whilst Spinatrix should give Connor Beasley a nice ride aswell in the same race.
Jack Dexter was impressive last season on soft ground, although disappointed on his final outing, which coincidentally was at Doncaster, but could make the journey from Scotland worthwhile for trainer Jim Goldie by winning the Cammidge Trophy.
A great days racing is expected, but a cold day is expected so wrap up warm if attending the meeting.
My Lincoln 1-2-3:
1: Chapter Seven
2: Captain Bertie