Looking for class: five Lincoln winners who proved better than a handicapper
The British Flat season and this year's Unibet Lincoln are fast approaching, and the Charlie Appleby-trained Auxerre is the 7-2 favourite for the £100,000 heritage handicap.
The competitive mile contest at Doncaster has a habit of producing winners who go on to bigger and better things in Listed and Group company. Here are the profiles of five Lincoln winners who proved much better than a handicapper
Last year’s Lincoln winner Addeybb did not race at two and was steadily progressive as a three-year-old, winning a handicap at Ascot and placing at Glorious Goodwood before winning the Silver Cambridgeshire.
The Lincoln was his seasonal reappearance and his sixth race, and the William Haggas-trained son of Pivotal showed there was plenty still to come with an impressive win by two and three-quarter lengths.
It proved to be a good Lincoln – runner-up Lord Glitters was second in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot later in the season – and Addeybb would bolster the form himself with a win in the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown on his next start by the same margin as his Lincoln success.
Such was his rapid progress, he was considered a 7-2 shot in the Lockinge, but the good to firm ground at Newbury was not to his liking and he was not seen again until Champions Day when failing to fire on his preferred softer surface.
He is the favourite for the Listed Unibet Doncaster Mile Stakes on this year’s Lincoln card.
Another of Haggas's four Lincoln winners is Penitent, who won the 2010 renewal by two and a half lengths from Prime Exhibit. In the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, the four-year-old won with a minimum of fuss and boasted a lightly raced profile prior to the run.
He was making his seasonal reappearance and had raced five times as a three-year-old, winning a Newmarket maiden and a Kempton all-weather handicap. His three most recent runs had been on the all-weather.
Following his Lincoln success, he was tested at Group 3 level in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom, and although seventh on that occasion, he went on to make an impact at a higher level, winning four Listed races, a Group 3 and two Group 2s – mostly for trainer David O'Meara and Middleham Park Racing – before his racing career ended in October 2015.
Blythe Knight, 2006
Blythe Knight made an immediate impact for John Quinn after switching from Ed Dunlop’s yard prior to his six-year-old campaign.
With the Lincoln held at Redcar rather than Doncaster, he made his move in the final furlong and held on to win by three-quarters of a length from Royal Island. He had been a consistent yet hard-to-win-with handicapper at Dunlop’s and was having his 34th start in the Lincoln, but he made a staggering amount of progress in the years after his Lincoln success over hurdles and on the Flat.
As a seven-year-old he won the Grade 2 Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree before returning to the Flat for a Group 3 success at Epsom in the Diomed Stakes, a race he would also win the following year.
Whilst not the most frequent winner, he was runner-up in another Lincoln, placed in a Group 2 at Longchamp on Arc weekend and was considered good enough by his connections to contest a Champion Hurdle, though he was well beaten.
Stream Of Gold, 2005
Careers can head down all sorts of paths after winning the Lincoln. Stream Of Gold is a fine example of that statement as he ended up competing in Graded company in the US after a brief stint in the United Arab Emirates.
He stayed on strongly to win the Lincoln by three lengths on his seasonal return as a four-year-old. He did not race as a juvenile but ran four times as a three-year-old, winning a Pontefract maiden prior to ending his campaign with a Class 3 handicap victory at Newmarket which earned him an 11lb rise.
Clearly it was not enough to stop him at Doncaster, and Sir Michael Stoute soon tested his abilities in a Group 2 and two Group 3s – he finished fourth each time.
He soon left Stoute’s yard and went on his travels, and when he ended up in the US as a six-year-old he thrived, placing in a Grade 1 at Belmont before matching the achievement at Gulfstream Park the following year, where he would eventually get his head in front again in a Grade 2 handicap.
Right Wing, 1999
If you fail to succeed, sometimes it’s worth trying again until you do. It was an approach which worked with Right Wing, who finished third in the previous year’s Lincoln but ran on strongly in the final furlong of the 1999 renewal to beat Captain Scott by half a length.
He would struggle to kick on for John Dunlop that season but perseverance was once again key, as the new millennium saw a new Right Wing. A Group class Right Wing.
After finishing third again when attempting to defend his Lincoln crown, he made his breakthrough at Listed level at Kempton before placing in a couple of Group 3s.
A trip to Bordeaux Le Bouscat would see Right Wing break his duck at that level too in late October, and returning as a seven-year-old he won his first and only domestic Group 3 – the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket.
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