The flat is back in great style as always, the Lincoln Handicap being the first major betting race of the season and one half of the Spring Double.
We’ve got another competitive field this year chasing a nice £51,000 to the winner, these being the six we believe you should concentrate on most:
Born To Be Alive
Well drawn in stall 20, Karl Burke’s Born To Be Alive represents recent form having won at Kempton before taking down the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton.
Fitness won’t be a problem then, neither will racing on turf considering he was second at this meeting in 2018 in the Doncaster Mile.
How good he is in a fast-paced mile race on good ground is a worthy question however, while with a 5lb penalty he can’t be considered well-in considering the quality of the improving opposition.
An easy winner on debut back in 2019 after which he entered the Derby reckoning, Brentford Hope seems to be one of those horses who is always well backed.
He has improved during his career and finished last season with a good handicap win at Haydock, but there are some major negatives.
His best form has come on very soft ground to date and he is effectively drawn on the wrong side of the track here. As a Richard Hughes trained, Jamie Spencer ridden horse we can say with some certainty that they’ll hold him up for a late challenge, but from the far side and on this ground it won’t be easy.
Representing the (somehow) perennially underestimated stable of Michael Dods, Brunch features highly on our list of possible winners.
A scorer first time out last season at Newcastle, the now four-year-old went on to compete in some strong handicaps, winning twice at York as well as finishing second at Ayr and third to Ostilio at Redcar in a Listed race.
His form is strong, he’s bound to be better now than when we last clapped eyes on him and he’s drawn in stall 15 which should help matters too.
A lightly-raced four-year-old of Owen Burrows’, Danyah bookended last season with wins at Doncaster and Haydock and has a progressive profile.
Having done previous little wrong in four runs since being gelded, we can assume that progression will now continue. The track, trip and ground should pose no problems, he has the natural pace to compete, and as a son of Invincible Spirit out of a Galileo mare his breeding is mixed by very high quality.
Charlie Appleby, and James Doyle for that matter, know exactly how to win this race and given that they seem confident about their Dubai winner Eastern World, we should all take careful notice.
Yet another progressive four-year-old with just seven runs under his belt, Eastern World has run second to King Leonidas, has won at Newmarket and took a nine-furlong handicap down in good style at Meydan last month which means he’s race fit too.
He can make light of his handicap mark at some stage this spring, but he has finished comfortably behind not only Brunch but also Haqeeqy in the past (at Doncaster) and so he doesn’t quite stand out in the say way 2019 winner Auxerre did for the same team.
The most fascinating contender. In terms of form, Haqeeqy stands out having taken a good seven-furlong race here at Doncaster last backend, getting better as he went further. He’s since been gelded and there should be a lot more to come from him.
By Lope De Vega, he should prove to be a bona fide miler this term but absolutely has the pace to stay up with this field.
The John and Thady Gosden team have planned this for a while, and given how well their 7lb claimer Benoit De La Sayette has been riding, there is some genuine weight to come off even if you don’t consider it to be all 7lbs given the rider’s inexperience. Top chance.
Brunch is a horse not to take lightly here at a nice backable price, while Eastern World is among the favourites for a reason.
When tipping up the last two winners of this race in Addeybb and Auxerre, we always noticed a pattern of fast-improving four-year-olds with plenty in hand at the weights and this time around the one who fits the bill is definitely HAQEEQY.
While not running in his colours, this would be a poignant win for the daughter of Hamdan Al Maktoum following his sad passing this week.