What are the best bets in the Betway Lincoln?
You know the Flat turf season is back when it’s time for the Betway Lincoln, Doncaster’s Saturday feature over the straight mile (due off 2.45pm).
It’s a classy handicap these days and for this year’s renewal it has taken a handicap mark of 98 to survive the cut, compared to 96 last year when the first three home were all rated 100. The lowest weight is on the rise too with the two horses at the foot of the weights set to carry 9st 2lb. For that reason it could pay to ignore the fact that no winner since Babodana in 2004 has carried more than 9st 4lb – applied here that would rule out the top 15 in the handicap, including the first five in the betting.
The current favourite, the David O’Meara-trained Lord Of The Land, is on 9st 6lb and is in a similar mould to last year’s runner-up Mondialiste – an expensively bought French import making his stable debut for the Yorkshire trainer. He’s clearly been trained for the race and if he’s as good as his stablemate, who went on to Group 1 glory, he must go close. However, he’s been heavily backed – or so the bookmakers would have us believe – and the current best price of 5/1 is no value given that luck in running is sure to play a part.
He’ll surely be a bigger price on the morning of the race as the layers scrap for your money, and that probably applies to all the runners. But double-figure quotes on EXPRESS HIMSELF might be thin on the ground and Ed McMahon’s gelding is my idea of the winner given his profile. A son of Dylan Thomas, he has got better with age, as many of his sire’s progeny do, though it took a gelding operation to unlock his true potential. Following the unkindest cut, he finished out of the first three only once in seven starts in 2015, that being a midfield effort in the Cambridgeshire from a bad draw.
He signed off last year with a neck win over Mitchum Swagger at Haydock (1m, soft) in October and, while he has been hit with an 8lb rise, the fact the runner-up is now rated 15lb higher having gone close in Listed company would suggest he can remain competitive off his new rating, especially as he might still be improving. Well, that’s the hope but I’m more convinced a strong run mile on a flat track like this one will suit, and he doesn’t seem ground dependant either. The booking of Jim Crowley, who is 2-2 on him, and a decent draw in stall seven – all of the last ten winners were drawn 16 or lower – complete the jigsaw and clinch the bet.
It doesn’t harm to fire a couple of arrows at a race of this nature and the other has landed on John Ryan’s OCEAN TEMPEST, who looks a shade overpriced at 25/1 given he won the 2014 renewal off a 3lb higher mark, will carry 9st 3lb, has a good draw in 11 and will have the services of Frankie Dettori. The seven-year-old hasn’t been seen out since running down the field in the Betfred Mile last July, but in a race that trainers target in advance fitness is rarely an issue and, to prove the point, seven of the last ten winners obliged first time out.