Flat season starts today at Doncaster and…….oh, we appear to have uploaded the wrong headline – that one is for when the sun comes out.
It should, of course, been They’re Off! which is about as imaginative as tabloid Editors ever get.
As usual, the centrepiece of the opening day is the Unibet Lincoln Handicap, which has a field of 20 for the mad dash down the straight mile.
With the going described as ‘good’, the draw may not play a significant role which is a help, to say the least, although it’s still a passable imitation of a nightmare.
Favourite for the race is the Johnny G trained Haqeeqy, which is currently trading at a top price of 7-2. May seem a skinny price, given the size of the field, but there is little doubt that this 4-y-o possesses the form to go very close, especially with the stable kid taking off half a stone from its back.
A winner on its only appearance at Donny and well suited by the drying conditions, we recommend a modest win bet.
We also suggest a small ‘saver’ on Born To Be Alive at 33-1.
This previously very smart 7-y-o has been nurtured back to its best after a long injury break and won the Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton just two weeks ago. Runs off the same mark today and should give Clifford Lee (and us) a good spin.
Telly action begins with the Unibet Doncaster Mile Stakes over, er, a mile and, on ratings, there is little between most of the eleven runners.
We give the nod to Juan Elcano, which will find the drop in class to Listed level a lot easier than the Group 2s it ran in with credit last season. Have an each way bet at 6-1.
The Unibet Spring Mile Handicap at 2.35 is a sort of Lincoln consolation and just as difficult. We give Artistic Rifles a half decent each way squeak and recommend a bet at 7-1.
Final televised race is the Unibet Cammidge Trophy Stakes at 3.45 and in this we give another chance to Summerghand to get it right.
Maybe a difficult horse to win with, but hopefully David Nolan can work the oracle and bring it home at 7-2.
Cameras are also at the meeting at Newbury for two races, starting with the BetVictor Novices Handicap Hurdle at 2.50.
Enthusiasm for our each way selection Press Your Luck has been tempered slightly by the non-runner, which has reduced the field to seven, but we think this is the best handicapped horse in the race so we still go with it at an almost insulting 16-1.
The Grade 2 BetVictor Novices Mares Handicap Hurdle at 3.25 has a competitive look about it, but we are very keen on the chances of Rose Of Arcadia, trained by Colin Tizzard.
Yes, it’s true that the yard has been in and out of form this season, but this 6-y-o has been prepared for this race since winning at Wincanton at the beginning of February. Second and third in that race have since won three races out of three between them and there is little doubt that a mark of 120, while not quite a ‘gimme’, is more than workable.
A win bet at 11-4 please.
As a bonus(?), ITV are also showing the Roseberry Handicap from Kempton at 2.15, in which we suggest an each way bet on Master The Stars at 8-1 – get ready for The Sniper.
Haqeeqy 3.10 Doncaster 2pts win @ 7-2
Born To Be Alive 3.10 Doncaster 0.5pts e/w @ 33-1 (6 places Paddy, Betfair)
Juan Elcano 2.00 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 6-1
Artistic Rifles 2.35 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (5 places)
Summerghand 3.45 Doncaster 2pts win @ 7-2
Press Your Luck 2.50 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (2 places)
Rose Of Arcadia 3.25 Newbury 3pts win @ 11-4
Master The Stars 2.15 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 8-1