Monday, March 23, 2009
87 GO FORWARD IN SEARCH OF WILLIAM HILL LINCOLN GLORY AT DONCASTER
* Given hoping Dream Lodge can take prize back to Lincolnshire
* Spectait in good order
A total of 87 horses remain after today’s five-day confirmation stage for the traditional curtain raiser for the Flat season, the £125,000 William Hill Lincoln, run over a mile at Doncaster on Saturday, March 28.
Newmarket trainers look set to have a strong hand in the race, with John Gosden responsible for Expresso Star and Charm School, while Luca Cumani is set to be represented by Swop, who landed a mile handicap at Nad Al Sheba on his latest appearance. Michael Jarvis may run the unexposed Fireside and he could be joined by last year’s William Hill Spring Mile winner Don’t Panic, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam.
Gainsborough-based handler James Given will be hoping to ‘take the Lincoln home’ with his five-year-old Dream Lodge, who smashed the course record for Doncaster’s mile course with a six-length victory in a conditions race last July.
Given revealed: “The William Hill Lincoln is the plan for Dream Lodge at the moment and he has done very well over the winter. He has been gelded since last year and he’s a lot calmer in his work. I am very happy with him and I am looking forward to seeing him run.
“I know that Doncaster has been re-levelled since they redeveloped the course but he still took a second off the old track record. He made all that day but I don’t think that you can get away with such a tactic in the William Hill Lincoln - you would just be setting up the race for someone else.
“He ran well from a bad draw in the Cambridgeshire and I think he’s a bit of a dark horse in the race. There will be a lot of horses that will have been laid out for the William Hill Lincoln but I think that we go there with a decent chance, especially if the ground is not too soft.”
Other notable acceptors include two previous winners of the William Hill Lincoln, the 2006 scorer Blythe Knight and last year’s victor Smokey Oakey, the consistent Mangham, Flipando, who beat Ace Of Hearts in the William Hill Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton on March 7, as well as Huzzah and Zaahid, from the stable of Barry Hills, successful with Pablo in 2003.
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill and owner J P McManus, who have joined up to land many a gamble over the Jumps, are set for a rare foray on the level with Spectait, who has thrived on the Polytrack over the winter with three victories in handicaps at Wolverhampton.
The seven-year-old gelding has already landed a valuable handicap over the William Hill Lincoln trip, having been successful in the totesport Mile at Glorious Goodwood in August, 2006, for former handler Sir Mark Prescott.
Frank Berry, racing manager to J P McManus, commented: “We kept Spectait in the William Hill Lincoln and he will run as long as he gets into the race. If he gets eliminated, then he will take his chance in the William Hill Spring Mile.
“He’s been in good form and he’s won his three starts this year in good style. Jonjo’s happy with him and he seems more consistent nowadays. He’s been improving throughout the winter and it will be interesting to see how he handles the good to soft ground on a return to turf.
“I think that Jamie Moriarty will probably take the ride and the horse goes to Doncaster in good order.”
A maximum field of 22 will got to post for the William Hill Lincoln and horses that are eliminated from the feature race will be eligible to run in the £50,000 William Hill Spring Mile (2.35pm), run over the same distance.
Saturday’s superb seven-race card also features the six-furlong Listed £40,000 williamhill.com - Play Live Casino Cammidge Trophy (3.10pm), for which 22 sprinters have been entered, while the action gets underway with the first two-year-old race of the season, the £17,500 williamhill.com - Play Poker Brocklesby Conditions Stakes (2.05pm), which has attracted an entry of 42 juveniles.
For the first time, this year’s two-day Lincoln Festival continues with a seven race card on Sunday, March 29 (first race 2.00pm).
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink