Lincoln Handicap News: No Lightning in Lincoln entry
Doncaster is the venue for this Saturday's Lincoln Handicap
"Now with David O'Meara, Penitent, who has a Timeform master rating of 112, was bought for 40,000 guineas by Middleham Park Racing at the Tattersalls Sales in October..."
Last year's winner Sweet Lightning has been taken out of the Lincoln, in which 2010 victor Penitent will now carry top weight at Doncaster on Saturday...
Now with David O'Meara, Penitent, who has a Timeform master rating of 112, was bought for 40,000 guineas by Middleham Park Racing at the Tattersalls Sales in October and was sent to the Nawton handler.
O'Meara also has a strong second string to his bow in Smarty Socks who has, so far, achieved a Timeform rating of 111.
Eton Forever (115), winner of the Spring Mile consolation race 12 months ago for Roger Varian, is this year near the head of the weights for the main event.
Edinburgh Knight (116), another ante-post fancy, is also set to carry a welter burden.
Godolphin still have two possible runners, Start Right (110) and Man Of Action (107), engaged, while Cocozza (102) is due to have his first run for Marco Botti.
Fury (111), fifth in the 2000 Guineas last season, is set to represent Lincoln specialist William Haggas.
Pintura (106) is one of several potential candidates for owner Dr Marwan Koukash.
Bonnie Brae (108), Font Of Wisdom (106) and Glor Na Mara (98) were also among those to have been taken out.
O'Meara, who made his mark in no uncertain terms last season, is looking to begin the new campaign the way he ended the last one - by saddling plenty of winners.
"Smarty Socks and Penitent will be our two runners, we have a third entry in Mont Ras but he won't get in (43rd on list)," said O'Meara.
"Penitent won the Lincoln off 98, he likes a bit of soft ground and he's off 108 now.
"We haven't had him long, Middleham Park bought him and kindly sent him to us.
"The two horses are very different, Smarty loves firm ground while Penitent likes a bit of cut.
One's a former winner while the other is at the top of his game and now running off 102 and has to improve again. Penitent has been there and done it and has slipped down a bit.
"Smarty is a hold-up horse whereas Penitent sits handy. Smarty is probably more effective at seven and he needs a strong-run race but he has won over a mile.
"He does have an issue sometimes of missing the break but he can cope with it.
"Smarty does like Doncaster. He's won there a couple of times but has to raise his game again. He finished sixth in the Spring Mile last year and tends to get better as the summer goes on and the ground gets quicker.
"We didn't expect him to break through the 100 barrier last year and he did so it's anyone's guess as to how much he'll find this year.
"Penitent has won a Listed race at Sandown on good ground so he doesn't have to have it soft but I don't think he'd run on good to firm.
"He doesn't show a great deal at home but when we take him away (to Tim Easterby's) to work him he shows more.
"Obviously he's won it so he's a class horse and he's grand to have around the place. Hopefully he'll be fit enough on Saturday, he's done plenty of work.
"Silvestre de Sousa will be in Dubai you'd think, so it will be up to Danny (Tudhope) which one he rides. He'll probably wait and see what the ground is like."
Champion jockey Paul Hanagan may have signed up to ride for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum for the forthcoming season, but his first major ride will come for the Godolphin stable of Saeed bin Suroor.
Hanagan will ride Start Right while William Buick will partner Man Of Action as they become Godolphin`s first ever runners in the historic race.
"We have Paul Hanagan and William Buick on standby to ride," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.
"Paul Hanagan will partner Start Right and William Buick will ride Man Of Action. Both horses will run provided the ground is good or faster and have had a good winter in Dubai.
"Man Of Action is a course-and-distance winner over Doncaster's straight mile and likes being held up for a late run off a fast pace but just needs things to go his own way.
"Start Right has been freshened up since finishing third at Meydan last month and is going well at the moment.
"They are both fit after a winter campaign in Dubai, though neither managed to win, and arrived back in Britain on Sunday.
"This will be the first time Godolphin has had runners in the Lincoln. These two horses belong in heritage handicaps and there are only so many of them in the programme book.
"With Man Of Action being a course-and-distance winner, it seemed the obvious race for him, while there was nothing left for Start Right in Dubai.
"Start Right has been frustrating because he often runs very well but has not managed to get his head in front recently. One day his turn will come and hopefully that will be on Saturday.
"The key to both these horses is for them to have decent ground - on the fast side of good ideally - and they definitely do not want soft going."
Varian believes the straight mile at Doncaster plays to Eton Forever's strengths.
"He put up a few solid performances throughout last season," the Newmarket handler told At The Races.
"He's a horse that can go well fresh and he doesn't mind good, good to firm ground.
"I'm not sure if he's a better horse (this season).
"He's a horse that holds a good amount of ability, but he's five now and has only run eight times, so he's not got many miles on the clock."
The ante-post market for the Lincoln is currently headed by Eton Forever, who is available to back for the contest at ([7.0]). Fury and Cocozza are also prominent in the market, trading at ([9.0]) and ([14.0]) respectively.
Racehorses of 2011 is out now and contains essays on the top performers, over 300 photos, Timeform Top 100s and much more. Click HERE to secure your copy.
Read More Horse Racing
Australian Derby day was more about the support races than the Blue Riband feature itself as far as high Timeform-rating performances are concerned......
Timeform say Neptune Collonges' Grand National win at Aintree last Saturday is the best they have ever rated......
2,000 Guineas gamble Most Improved will face 12 rivals in Thursday's Craven Stakes at Newmarket......
Richard Fahey has already struck big-race success this year courtesy of Brae Hill in the Lincoln and the Group 1-winning trainer recently welcomed the Timeform Betfair Racing Club to his Musley Bank Stables to discuss his leading hopes for the season, including the Club's own Arabian Spirit......