Ante-Post Betting: The William Hill Lincoln Handicap
The UK flat season kicks off proper this weekend with the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster. Wayne Bailey takes a look at the early market and suggests a number of horses he believes can make the frame...
Another year has flown by and we're back to Doncaster this weekend for the start of the flat season, a meeting that will be warmly welcomed for those of us who prefer to punt on the level. Most people will advice caution when betting as the season begins and rightly so, but in fairness to the Lincoln, it's been punter friendly recently for a big field handicap, with seven of the past ten winners priced [11.0] or less.
At the time of writing, there's still 87 confirmations, so keep an eye on the list throughout the week as some of those that don't make the cut have the option of running in the William Hill Spring Mile earlier on in the day. Here's a few I find particularly noteworthy in the ante-post Lincoln market:
The John Gosden-trained colt heads the early betting and while I wouldn't suggest a lay, the [6.0] on offer is a little short in what looks like a very competitive race. That said, the four-year-old has definite claims considering his two highly impressive wins at Nottingham at the end of last season and he may well find himself racing in contests above handicap level as the season progresses. I'll take a watching brief on this occasion.
The colt lies second in the betting at [11.0], but he still needs a number of horses to come out of the race so I'd advise waiting until the day if you are thinking of backing the four-year-old. In fact, I'm keen to lay at that price as I believe the horse may prove troublesome. He came last in the 2000 guineas and always looked awkward. He scoped badly which goes some way to explaining his performance but his price is simply too short with some questions hanging over his head including his participation. Still, someone believes he can win and his price has come in quite a bit over the past few days.
He's been performing well in Dubai recently but now gets a 5lb penalty for his success. He looks fairly certain to run and if he gets into the right position early, he could be very dangerous as he has a fantastic turn of foot that can kick him on in the final stages. As a five-year-old, he was rarely out of the placings and you can trust that you'll get a run for your money. His current price of [10.50] seems quite reasonable.
Another horse that's likely to run, Charm School showed plenty of spirit when coming third to Invincible Force in a Class 2 handicap at this course last-time-out. He looks like an improver but once again I'd prefer to wait and see, and won't be backing or laying the John Gosden trained four-year-old.
The 2006 winner certainly wasn't disgraced when carrying topweight last year and still managed to come second. He had a fairly easy race at Kempton last-time-out when second to King Of Dixie and I suspect he was out to shake off a few cobwebs that day. While his form was up and down last season, he's still capable of taking a good race and his early prices of [30.0] and higher are far too big for me to ignore.
Trading around the [15.0] mark, Zaahid should travel strongly and can put up a challenge - but only if he's back to his old best. He done nothing to write home about at Ascot back in September, but he looked like he needed further and will welcome the return to the mile distance.
* Lay Fireside at [11.0]
* Back Swop at [10.50]
* Back Blythe Knight at [30.0] or higher
As usual, we welcome your thoughts and tips so I've you've any bets in mind for the Lincoln, be sure to post below.
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