Key angles and top trainer quotes on their runners in the Lincoln consolation
32Red.com Spring Mile Handicap | 1m | 4yo+ | ITV4/ATR
A race for horses who missed the cut for the Lincoln that always proves a fiercely competitive event in its own right.
Lightly raced and progressive four-year-olds have the best record in recent years, with eight of the last ten runnings going to members of that age category, including the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ballet Concerto 12 months ago.
During that period there have been winners drawn high, low and up the middle, but last year it did seem an advantage to be berthed low as the first five home came from stalls 6, 3, 1, 9 and 7.
Haggas's Choice has the ideal profile
Original Choice certainly fits the profile of recent winners, being aged four and open to further progress after just nine starts.
He boasts similar form to Lincoln favourite Fire Brigade, having chased home Michael Bell's runner at Haydock last June before landing a Class 2 Thirsk handicap in smooth style the following month.
The son of Dragon Pulse missed an intended start at Wolverhampton a fortnight ago, but trainer William Haggas is happy with his condition.
"He's a nice, progressive horse who won't mind the ground," Haggas said. "I don't think he's got a lot in hand on the book, but he's pretty fit."
Sir Roderic particularly well handicapped
Of the more exposed members of the 21-strong field, it's doubtful there is a better handicapped horse than Sir Roderic, who creeps in towards the bottom with just 8st 10lb to carry under Oisin Murphy.
Sir Roderic drew a blank last year after an explosive three-year-old campaign in which he scored five times, looking particularly well suited by plenty of cut in the ground.
As a result of a winless spell in 2017, he begins his new campaign off a mark 15lb lower than when finishing 12th in this race last April.
However he fares on Saturday, he seems sure to pay his way in mile handicaps this term, and trainer Rod Millman said: "He's pretty straight, but the West Country has experienced its worst weather for 15 years and conditions down here haven't been ideal.
"He's had a wind op since his last run and I'm hopeful – more than confident – of a big run. The ground is in his favour."
No surprise if Taqdeer rises to challenge
Many punters will be drawn to Hamdan Al Maktoum's Taqdeer, a five-year-old trained by John Gosden having only the fourth start of his career.
Last seen on a racecourse when landing a 1m2f handicap at Newmarket at the beginning of May in 2016, his form has worked out well and it is obviously highly significant that his leading connections have persisted with him.
What the rest say
Adam Ryan, assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of Brilliant Vanguard
He was a big improver last year and racked up a hat-trick. I'm very happy with him. He'll enjoy the big pace to run at and I'm hoping he can make a good start to the year.
Karl Burke, trainer of Seduce Me and Georgian Bay
Seduce Me will like the ground, but I think she'll come on for the run. Georgian Bay is well in himself. He won the seven-furlong ladies' race at Ascot on soft ground last July so clearly handles some cut.
Hugo Palmer, trainer of Humbert
It's his first time on turf for a long while. He missed last summer with an injury, but we'd always felt he was a soft-ground horse. The ground at Doncaster I imagine will be dead and lifeless – it was under snow not long ago – but I think he'll handle it. He's in great form and technically 2lb well-in. This has been his target all winter.
John Quinn, trainer of Moonlightnavigator
He's in good form and will appreciate the ground. I expect him to run a nice race.
Declan Carroll, trainer of Titus
He's ready to start off and he looked quite a promising horse in Ireland early before losing his form. He's an impressive horse and I like him a lot but it will depend on just how well he handles the soft ground.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Dark Devil
He'll need to step up on what he's shown so far, but he'll love the ground and is very fit.
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