Just a week removed from the Cheltenham Festival and the stars of the Flat are ready to begin muscling back into the limelight.
The Lincoln takes centre stage at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon, a dash across Town Moor that has become a punters puzzle in recent times.
The next month is that rarest of times when the Flat and jumps compete as one, with Aintree and Punchestown to come before the Classic season begins at Newmarket in early May – it is the best of both worlds for racing fans in springtime!
The Lincoln (3.35) is notoriously tough to figure out, with no favourite obliging since 2010 and each winner in that timespan returning double-figure odds.
As such, the interest in this race is best kept to the value end of the market and 28/1 chance Dark Red appeals for trainer Ed Dunlop.
He ran a cracker over this mile trip at Ascot in October in the Balmoral Handicap on soft ground, just giving best in the final 100 yards in a race won by the re-opposing Lord Glitters (carries top-weight here).
There was plenty to like about the way Dark Red finished off at Kempton this month in 1m2f all-weather spin that will have acted as a pipe-opener for Doncaster. PJ McDonald’s mount looks fairly weighted can can’t be ruled out with a fitness edge on many of his rivals.
In the preceding contest, the Listed Doncaster Mile (3pm) could come down to a fight between Zabeel Prince and Tabarrak and we’ll side with Roger Varian’s charge at 7/4 to get the job done.
He looked a progressive performer last term, winning three on end at Nottingham, Yarmouth and York before perhaps being undone at Ascot on his final start in a competitive heat that came just eight days after his Knavesmire win.
He’s forgiven that no-show and could easily resume progress here on ground that will be no concern. Given that Richard Hannon’s Tabarrak concedes him a 3lb penalty, and he’s got Andrea Atzeni – the King of Town Moor, on board, he is worth supporting.
Over at Lingfield, A Momentofmadness can give Charles Hills success in the Betway Sprint Handicap (3.45).
His figures on the all-weather read 1113, and this track will play to his strengths. He’s won on his reappearance in each of the last two seasons and from a low draw, William Buick should have him in the box seat to do so again at odds of 3/1.
We can’t desert the jumpers and there could be something to smile about for trainer Kim Bailey at Bangor-on-Dee on Saturday afternoon.
His Rosmuc Relay has won both starts in novice hurdles since arriving from Ireland and is tipped to make a winning start in handicaps in the Broxton Gates Handicap Hurdle (3.25). A winning pointer, this longer trip will hold no fears and he can continue his winning streak with David Bass on board at odds of 5/2.
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