Back to 1965 and the well-remembered Hedgehoppers Anonymous for our headline this week, which heralds the opening day of the new Flat season.

(Well, it makes a change from ‘They’re off!’)

Centrepiece of the Doncaster meeting is, as per, the SBK Lincoln Handicap at 3.35, which has a field of 22.

The effect of the draw will not have become apparent by race time, as the consolation SBK Spring Mile Handicap has attracted just nine runners, so it’s pot luck time.

Favourite for the race is the Charlie Appleby trained Modern News which is drawn 8 and currently a 4-1 poke.

A prep run in Meydan and the booking of an improving 7lb claimer says the yard means business so we start with a win bet.

Two other runners catch our eye, both drawn high, which has been favoured in recent runnings, so we recommend each way bets on Darkness and Rogue Bear at 8-1 and 16-1 respectively.

Televised coverage starts with the Brocklesby at 1.15 for unraced 2-y-os – no thanks.

Next is the SBK Cammidge Trophy at 1.50 and we think and hope that Garrus will prevail. Charles Hills‘ 6-y-o put up a string of good performances at Group level last term and should be well tuned up for this afternoon. Have a win bet at 13-8.

The aforementioned SBK Spring Mile Handicap at 2.25 looks a good opportunity for the consistent warrior Star Shield, fit from the AW and now well weighted. We’ll go each way at 9-1.

The 4-runner Doncaster Mile at 3.00 is not a betting race so we move south to Kempton for two races, starting with the Unibet Magnolia Stakes at 2.05, which looks a great opportunity for Felix to get its head in front, which, honestly, doesn’t happen very often.

Marco Botti‘s 6-y-o warmed up for today with a close 5th in a Group 1 at  Meydan and will find this Listed company a lot easier. 3-1 is the price.

We expect the Unibet Queens’ Prize Handicap at 2.40 to be fought out between Bandinelli (11-8) and Moliwood (6-1) and a bet on each is recommended.

Finally up to Kelso for two handicap hurdles with the 1.35 first up (no title – too long).

We expect the improving Son Of The Somme to just about win this under Our Brian and suggest a win bet at 2-1.

Danger could be the wonderfully named Headscarf Lil, the mount of Sean Quinlan and, at 15-2, this one is well worth an each way tickle.

Finally, the Mares Novices Handicap Hurdle at 3.15, in which Nicky Henderson‘s runner Theatre Glory is favourite at 9-4. Apparently a ‘plan’ and with a decent claimer removing half a stone of her back, we should take the hint.

Rae Des Champs is also in with a loud squeak, so we’ll throw in an each way bet at 6-1.

And why not.


Modern News 3.35 Doncaster 2pts win @ 4-1

Darkness 3.35 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (6 places)

Rogue Bear 3.35 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (6 places)

Garrus 1.50 Doncaster 3pts win @ 13-8

Star Shield 2.25 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 9-1

Felix 2.05 Kempton 2pts win @ 3-1

Bandinelli 2.40 Kempton 4pts win @ 11-8

Moliwood 2.40 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 6-1

Son Of The Somme 1.35 Kelso 3pts win @ 2-1

Headscarf Lil 1.35 Kelso 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (4 places)

Theatre Glory 3.15 Kelso 3pts win @ 9-4

Rae Des Champs 3.15 Kelso 1pt e/w @ 6-1

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