THIS time next week all eyes will be on the Grand National, but tomorrow our attention switches to the Flat with the running of the Lincoln (3.35pm) at Doncaster.
Ante-post punters were dealt a blow when favourite Morando was ruled out of the traditional Flat season curtain raiser with a setback.
His absence from the final 22-runner field was irritating for me as Yuften, my original fancy for the race, has been promoted from 13/2 second favourite to as short as 4/1 market leader.
Roger Charlton’s rapidly improving six-year-old has been gelded since running out an impressive winner of the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot last season.
His recent run at Wolverhampton, when beaten in a blanket finish, will have put him spot on for this and he is without question the horse to beat.
The decision to oppose him mainly surrounds his price and the fact he could be vulnerable if plenty of rain materialises.
With four of the last six winners being sent off at 16/1 or bigger (the other two were both 12/1), I’m reluctant to dive in on a 4/1 shot in such a fiercely competitive race.
Instead, I’m prepared to take a chance on a couple at much bigger prices that are more than capable of being competitive.
INSTANT ATTRACTION, available at 25/1 in several places, failed to win a race last season and hasn’t won in 13 starts since landing a mile handicap at Ripon back in June 2015.
However, he relishes cut in the ground and ran a cracker when third in the Spring Mile on this card 12 months ago.
He finished a close seventh in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot off this same mark and looks overpriced.
I’m also prepared to look even further down the list and risk a few quid each-way on 40/1 shot MASTER CARPENTER.
His losing streak stretches even further back with 14 defeats on the bounce since his York win in July 2015.
Lulu Stanford takes off a valuable 5lbs, meaning he effectively lines up here off a mark of 95, which could be insulting for a horse beaten six lengths by Belardo in the Doncaster Mile on this day 12 months ago.
The card kicks-off with a competitive renewal of the Cammidge Trophy (1.50pm) run over six furlongs.
The betting is headed by the Richard Fahey-trained Birchwood who is looking to bounce back from an underwhelming three-year-old campaign where he was campaigned mainly over seven furlongs.
Connections have opted to drop him back to six furlongs for the first time since his decent two-year-old days, which has to be a slight concern.
Therefore, I’d rather side with ABSOLUTELY SO, who ran really well on all five starts last season without actually winning.
The Andrew Balding-trained seven-year-old was fourth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and sixth in the Ayr Gold Cup.
His stable have made a bright start to the season already and, at 6/1 with 188BET, he looks a decent each-way bet.
Finally, STORMY ANTARCTIC looks worth siding with in the Doncaster Mile (3.00pm), with conditions in his favour.
He looked a potential star in the Craven Stakes last April and things didn’t go right for him after that.
Ed Walker has his team in good nick and he looks the call at 7/2.
Absolutely So e/w 1.50pm Doncaster
Stormy Antarctic 3.00pm Doncaster
Instant Attraction e/w 3.35pm Doncaster
Master Carpenter e/w 3.35pm Doncaster