FINDING the winner of the Lincoln used to be nigh on impossible, as three 100/1 winners before 1947 and seven winners priced at 33/1 or bigger since the race moved to Doncaster proves. However, the race now has a maximum field of 22 (for safety reasons) which gives us more chance of unearthing the potential winner – 49 faced the starter in 1966.
In fact, the race has been relatively kind to favourite backers in recent years with six of the last 13 runners falling to a market leader. It has paid to begin the search for the winner by looking at the unexposed four-year-olds in the line-up as that generation has been responsible for half of the last 32 winners.
William Haggas’s Fury fits the bill and he has been towards the head of the market since it opened. He certainly could be well treated off a mark of 98 – he finished fifth behind Frankel in last year’s 2,000 Guineas and the stable have won two of the last five runnings. However, I can’t get away from the fact that he hasn’t beaten a rival in his last three outings and the ground might also be a bit quick.
There are only two other four-year-olds in the line-up and the one who appeals is COCOZZA on his first start for Marco Botti. This son of Elusive Quality was trained in Ireland by John Oxx last season where he was contesting Group Two races. Botti is an excellent trainer and he was quoted recently as saying he thought this fellow was still well-handicapped.
I don’t think many of this field have any secrets from the assessor and Cocozza is the only one who could literally be 10lb or more ahead of his mark. He can be backed at 10/1 each-way and have a look at what price Coral are tomorrow morning as they are refunding bets if you finish second to a selected favourite.
The likely jolly is Eton Forever, who demolished a really strong field in last year’s Spring Mile, but he is just too short for me at 5/1 with Coral. However, if his price drifts out, it may be worth adopting a back-to-lay approach on Betfair. Roger Varian’s five-year-old always travels powerfully through his races and has traded odds-on in four of his six career defeats.
The remainder of the Doncaster card looks frighteningly difficult, but JUST PAST ANDOVER has to be of interest in the Brocklesby. Bill Turner has won this race four times in the past decade and the fact that he entered just the one suggests this Amadeus Wolf colt has been scorching up the gallops at home. Jake Payne is a good value 7lb claimer and they should go very close.
Epsom are hosting a charity race night on Friday 18th May hosted by Derek ‘Tommo’ Thompson and featuring Roger Dakin. The event is in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Croydon Visual, so make sure you go down to support these valuable causes.
COCOZZA e/w 3.15pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
JUST PAST ANDOVER 3.50pm Doncaster (tomorrow)