Horse Racing: William Hill Lincoln – Looking to START RIGHT on the 1st Day of the Flat Season

March 31, 2012

The opening day of the 2012 Flat Season is upon us with the traditional William Hill Lincoln Meeting at Doncaster racecourse.

The draw for the William Hill Lincoln is always an interesting factor and the preceding Spring Mile can often give a pointer as to where, if at all, the draw bias might be. These days, the bias is a far less reliable aid in finding winners, even on the flat straight tracks. In recent years we have seen advantages move from one side of a course to another in these straight races. Overall with 14 years of data I have to hand, high just about edge this race but low have ha the best in recent years. I generally use a tactic of taking one from each side for my bets in advance of the Spring Mile. The prices on the winning side of that race tend to tighten up as a result.

With such a large field, shortlisting is a must and I use a number of approaches which include considering the general level of the track, improving horses and, as strange as it might sound, runner that have a good record in valuable races. This initial work gives me a far smaller field to work from and confidence that I have the winner within my grasp. My shortlist for the 2012 Lincoln is as follows.



This Oratorio Gelding never really reached potential as a 3yo under Michael Jarvis and it wasn’t until Roger Varian took over the yard and this one reached the age of four that his improvement appeared. Beginning with winning the Spring Mile at this meeting on his seasonal debut, that result alone is a good indication of his ability to run well fresh. That said, the majority of this field will be doing that at this stage of the year. There may have been a touch of disappointment at the remainder of the season as he seemed to move only about 3lbs forward from the Spring Mile win. %th in the RoyalHunt Cup at Royal Ascot, he finished the season a runner up to MAN OF ACTION once again here at Doncaster  although he was giving the winner 8lbs on the day. The difference in weight will be reduced to just 2lb this time.


A very promising two year old winning both starts at that age at Newbury and Newmarket. 5th in the 2000 Guineas is not a result to be sniffed at on his reappearance as a three year old, although in all fairness he was well beaten, not only by the ridiculously talented Frankel, but by those immediately behind the winner too! There was small improvement when going to Sandown next time out, failing by only a head when touched off on the line by Tazahum in the Heron Stakes. That winner ha done little since to hold that form up, although in third on the day, Neebras did go on to win a listed event at Glorious Goodwood.


This will be a British debut race for Cocozza, running now for Marco Botti since moving from John Oxx in Ireland. He will also be dropping back in trip for this event having run over 10f the last twice. He didn’t manage a win as a three year old which has to be a slight worry despite his position on my shortlist. Botti is one of my favourite trainers for getting something out of a horse and I do have a preference for four year olds for this race. There are also concerns that this ground could be on the quick side for him.


The first of two Godolphin runners on my shortlist both trained by Saeed Bin Suroor. Running in Dubai over the winter there will have been some disappointment that he couldn’t pick up a win, but he looks a good candidate for this event after making some improvement over there. He has been freshened up since his last outing there and arrived back in England last Sunday. This will be the first Time Godolphin have been represented in this race and both Start Right and MAN OF ACTION hold chances.


The second of the pair of Godolphin entries and this one may have the advantage being a previous course and distance winner. Like START RIGHT the ground will be all the better for being good or faster according to Simon Crisford, Godolphins racing manager. Man of Action has also wintered in Dubai and also couldn’t get a win under his belt out there. I think it is significant that both are back to take on this challenge for the stable.


A runner from Jamie Osbourne and an interesting one from the lower end of the draw which saw the winners of both the Spring Mile and Lincoln last season. Whilst the middle of the track is expected to be the place to be this year, the pace looks to be on the lower side for me. He went through the 2011 season without a win, although it is to be noted that he was mainly running in group company, he does have a straight mile win at Newmarket which is a positive. He might not have just enough to win this, but I think a place a a good price is not out of the question.


I think the winner of the race will come from these 6, and I am toying with the idea of twisting them up in Forecast bets. For the meantime though I want to find the winner and I will be backing a pair as I mentioned at the start. From the title, it is pretty obvious my fancy is for START RIGHT. He has finished behind ETON FOREVER, whilst his stable mate, Man of Action has beaten that rival before. I am drawn to this pair and both will receive a straight win bet

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