Aidan O'Brien: powerful stable contains Derby favourite KingsbarnsPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
O'Brien favourite to land fifth British trainers' title
WITH the start of the British Flat turf season at Doncaster only three days away, Aidan O'Brien has been installed as the 5-4 favourite by Coral to claim a fifth trainers' championship.
O'Brien was fast out of the gates last year, claiming the first four Classics with Camelot, Homecoming Queen and Was before being overhauled in the final weeks of the season by John Gosden.
O'Brien, who was champion trainer in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2008, is in a strong position to land a fifth title with Investec Derby favourite Kingsbarns and Camelot among his arsenal this season.
Coral spokesman David Stevens said: "Aidan O'Brien looked to have the title all but sewn up last year having won the first four Classics, but John Gosden fought back superbly in the second half of the season to win his first championship, although he faces an uphill task to repeat the feat, with the Ballydoyle maestro once again in pole position in our opinion."
Last year's triumph was a first for Gosden but he is only 7-1 third favourite to retain his title, with Richard Hannon Coral's 2-1 second favourite.
John Gosden: two for LincolnPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Gosden could make a perfect start to his title defence after both Lahaag and Eshtibaak featured among the 71 confirmations for Saturday's William Hill Lincoln.
Eshtibaak was clipped to 14-1 (from 16) by Hills, who also shortened Captain Bertie to 8-1 joint-second favourite with Lahaag (from 10).
The opening meeting of the Flat season is set to be run on soft ground after 8mm of rain fell at Doncaster over the weekend.
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said only Thursday was expected to be dry as he changed the official description from good to soft, soft in places, to soft.
"There is rain all days with the exception of Thursday but the forecasts are changing," said Duncan. "They aren't expected to be serious amounts but we will have to keep monitoring the bulletins. The track drains very well and some of the forecast rain hasn't reached Doncaster.
"However, the temperatures aren't going to be there to help it dry out and there are no serious winds so I can't see it moving from soft, not on the forecast I've seen."
British Flat trainers' championship betting
Coral: 5-4 Aidan O'Brien, 2 Richard Hannon, 7 John Gosden, 8 Sir Michael Stoute, Mahmood Al Zarooni, Saeed Bin Suroor, 33 Mark Johnston, 40 Sir Henry Cecil