The Lincoln truly heralds the start of the British flat turf season and it has been the plan for a long time for our selection today.
As usual this renewal is competitive though so we’ve whittled the field down to six, all of whom have great chances of running into the money.
Charlie Appleby is the epitome of a trainer who knows how to handle the excellent bloodstock that comes his way. From training sprinters like Blue Point, a Derby winner in Masar, numerous top juveniles and even a Melbourne Cup winner he knows how to get the best out of any type and with Auxerre he’s barely scratched the surface.
Having made a good debut, one that could have been a winning one with a slightly better trip, the son of Ifraaj recorded two easy wins before taking on decent handicap opposition at Kempton in October and scoring a little more comfortably than the bare result would suggest.
His handicap mark of 100 absolutely doesn’t reflect his real ability and there is a ton of improvement to come from him, conditions are perfect and he has one of the best in the business on his back in the shape of James Doyle who could steer home a second Lincoln winner in a row.
For each-way purposes there are worse shouts than Richard Fahey’s gelding, though while he is just a four-year-old he has faced plenty of racing and we pretty much know his level of ability now.
He should be fine going fresh but will get better as the season goes on, the latter probability possibly just enough to stop him winning this off a mark of 97 though he could run very well.
Having transferred from Hugo Palmer’s yard it would be no surprise to see David O’Meara get new career highs out of Humbert this term, though we may have to wait just a little longer to see that happen.
A browse through his form would seem to show that he has performed better with genuine juice in the ground and as Doncaster is drying out all the time, he might just not have the underfoot conditions he really needs to show his very best form but he’s bound to take a valuable handicap at some point this year.
David Barron’s gelding has shown rock solid form in valuable handicaps at places like Ascot and York so should have no trouble in the hustle and bustle of this field.
It’s possible that there’s more improvement to come over the next few months from Robert Winston’s ride but it is not guaranteed, so off a handicap mark a little higher than when running well but being beaten in similar races last summer he could be vulnerable.
Archie Watson expects big things from his son of Frankel this season and we should remember that, especially since he arguably ran a better race in defeat at Wolverhampton in February than when winning an Ascot handicap for Hugo Palmer back in September.
His handicap mark is only 1lb higher than it was that day in Berkshire so he has an obvious chance, though we’d like to have seen him run better in the Lincoln Trial at Wolves last time out.
Another recruit, this time for Philip Kirby from Andrew Balding and Qatar Racing, his ability isn’t in question and it’s just a case of seeing whether his new surroundings can reinvigorate him.
All of his best runs have come over seven furlongs and his three wins have come over seven and six so there is a slight stamina issue to prove, but being driven on a straight track over the mile by a fast pace on decent ground may mean he can reach new heights over this trip as long as Jamie Spencer doesn’t leave things too late, Auxerre being one who may be right in the front rank and won’t necessarily be stopping late in the day.
We tipped up Addeybb to win this race last year and, although we’d love a better price, it seems sticking with top quality connections, breeding and rider may bear fruit once more as Godolphin’s AUXERRE definitely appears the most likely winner on all known evidence.
Charlie Appleby’s 4yo can improve plenty over the coming weeks and that would make him very well handicapped for this, South Seas being number two on the list if lasting out while Kynren shouldn’t be far away either.