The UK may have been battered by snow last weekend but the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday is a sure sign that Spring has arrived.
Billed as the traditional opener to the British Flat Racing season, the Lincoln will see a field of 22-runners go to post over 1m in South Yorkshire for a chance to win the £62,250 first prize.
Bravery won the renewal last year for David O’Meara to become the seventh consecutive double-figure priced winner since 2011. No favourite has won the race since Expresso Star for John Gosden in 2009.
That could be bad news for Addeybb and Lord Glitters, both of whom are considered 7/1 joint-favourites for the curtain raiser.
Lord Glitters has shown the more impressive form so far in his career, finishing runner-up in a Class 1 contest last November to Bravo Zolo.
He beat GM Hopkins in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot before that on only his second start in Britain. O’Meara won this renewal last year and will fancy his chances again on soft ground with the five-year-old, who will go off top mark.
Addeybb, by contrast, will be making his fifth start for William Haggas. The last two winners of this renewal have been won by four-year-olds, which bodes well for the son of Pivotal.
He landed a tough looking 16-runner affair at Newmarket last time out and looks in good shape for this one off a mark of 99.
Michael Bell’s Fire Brigade comes next at 8/1. Another four-year-old charge, the British-bred raider won only three times from 10 starts last season.
However, he did impress in the Hoby Handicap at Leicester last time out. The expected soft ground should help the son of Firebreak, who will ridden by Ryan Moore.
Big Country is an experienced runner at this level and warmed up for the main event with a 3/4l win in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton earlier this month. Unfortunately for Michael Appleby’s 12/1 shot, Trial winners don’t tend to perform very well in the real thing.
That leads us to Chelsea Lad at 14/1. The five-year-old has only won twice from 10 career starts but showed signs of what he can do last season in the Listed Hambleton Handicap.
Martyn Meade’s charge finished second in the York renewal ahead of established names including Thikriyaat for Sir Michael Stoute. Although his four subsequent runs left a lot to be desired, there’s plenty to like about this five-year-old.
He’s twice finished in the frame at Doncaster and was unlucky not to land the November Handicap at the course in his last run of 2017. The Irish-bred raider goes well fresh, appears to enjoy the soft ground and is well-handicapped to boot.
Last year’s winner Bravery can be backed at 20/1.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.