Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Plenty to love for Flat fans already struck by Cupid's Arro

David Baxter sets the scene as Doncaster ace Atzeni goes for first Lincoln

Andrea Atzeni celebrates his fourth consecutive Racing Post Trophy victory at Doncaster in October
1 of 1

Last weekend we witnessed dynamism in Dubai as Arrogate started the World Cup like a banger with 200,000 miles on the clock before cruising round Meydan in the manner of a new Ferrari to record an astonishing victory.

That whetted the appetite for Flat fans and, with just an H separating the Dubai World Cup winner from the Yorkshire town of Harrogate, the county is in the spotlight as Doncaster's Betway Lincoln meeting ushers in the British turf season.

While not quite a phoney war, the Flat takes a quick back seat as the Grand National hogs the headlines next weekend, before it returns to centre stage. However, there should be enough excitement on Town Moor to sate starved Flat aficionados for another few days.

Recent history dictates there is only one man to call upon in big races at Doncaster, Andrea Atzeni. Winner of two of the last three St Legers and the last four Racing Post Trophies, Atzeni has a phenomenal record at the track when the stakes are high.

He is yet to win the Lincoln but, having lost the chance to ride original ante-post favourite Morando, he has now moved to the new market leader Yuften.

Given his record on Doncaster's straight mile, it would be no surprise if Atzeni aces it again, although the 22-runner Lincoln provides a different challenge to a small-field Group 1.

Jack Robinson (1896, 1897, 1898 and 1910) leads the way for trainers with four victories in the Lincoln, but Richard Fahey could move one behind him if any of his five-strong squad obliges.

Fahey has won the race twice since 2012 and Gabrial heads his challengers.

Gabrial with connections after winning the 2015 Lincoln

Should the eight-year-old win it would be his second victory in the race, a feat achieved by only two other horses, while a success for Heaven's Guest would have a different kind of significance as it would be jockey Sammy Jo Bell's first since returning from serious injury.

Betway Lincoln card

An important element of the return of the turf is the latest crop of juveniles hitting the track and the Brocklesby is the traditional starting point.

While perhaps not the race of old, it carries enough history for the purist and is still relevant after producing subsequent Middle Park winner The Last Lion last year.

But for those watching ITV Racing's coverage on Saturday, the Brocklesby, which this year has two divisions, will not be screened on ITV4.

It was traditionally the card's opener, a position which seemed a good fit as it introduced new horses for a new season, but that is no longer the case.

This time the two divisions will be run at 4.10 and 4.45, so only At The Races viewers will be able to watch, which seems a shame.

There is quality action on the all-weather at Kempton, with the Listed Magnolia Stakes and Rosebery Handicap.

In the Rosebery, the betting suggests there is a handicap blot, with Big Country a well-supported favourite.

Rosebery Handicap card

Formerly with Charles O'Brien in Ireland, the four-year-old has joined Mick Appleby and hosed up by seven lengths in a Wolverhampton maiden in February.

That led to a 9lb rise, but Big Country is at the foot of the weights in the Rosebery and, having been a 16-1 chance at the start of the week, is now a quarter of that price.

It could also be a good day for Archie Watson, with the rookie trainer holding a pair of live big-race chances.

General Hazard wins on his first start for Archie Watson at Newcastle in March

General Hazard is undefeated since joining Watson and bids for a hat-trick.

In the Magnolia he has Absolute Blast, who was highly progressive with Iain Jardine and continued in that vein when third in the Winter Derby at Lingfield on her debut for the yard.

An important element of the return of the turf is the latest crop of juveniles hitting the track and the Brocklesby is the traditional starting point
E.W. Terms
Sky bet