Marathon ready for battle in Doncaster curtain raiser
Trainer John Ryan is hopeful an extended absence will prove no barrier to last year’s third Battle Of Marathon putting up a big performance in Saturday’s Betway Lincoln.
The former Aidan O’Brien inmate tops the weights for the traditional Flat turf season opener at Doncaster but has not been seen in public since finishing down the field in Ascot’s Summer Mile last July.
"He's in good form, but this is his first run of the year. Last time he had a prep in Dubai to be race-fit,” said Ryan, who lifted the prize three years ago with Ocean’s Tempest.
"I hope we've done enough with him at home and the fair weather has helped getting him ready. There could be a lot of fairer handicapped horses, but there is not much weight range top to bottom.”
A largely dry spell
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan is expecting a largely dry spell running up to Saturday, but Ryan is hoping forecast showers on Tuesday could maintain some cut underfoot for Battle Of Marathon.
“He could do the ground staying as it is – soft, good to soft in places – and with it being the first meeting of the year you would hope it will be soft enough for him,” said Ryan
"The ground was a big plus for him on the day last year, although he has run well on good ground. Adam [Kirby] rode a super race on him to be third and he was unlucky in running, so he could have been a bit closer.”