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|Akhu Najla||16/116/1||Ante Post
E/W (4 places)
15:30 Saturday 1st April
|Place BetPlace Bet|
Date of Tips: 20/03/2023
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (09:13 20/03/2023) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
No sooner have we put the Cheltenham Festival to bed then we begin to concentrate on the impending start of the Flat season, and first leg of the “Spring Double” – the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Spring Double, the second leg consists of the Grand National at Aintree and I shall also be giving you my ante-post thoughts on the Merseyside marathon in the coming days.
So how does the 1m Lincoln Heritage Handicap betting currently shape up?
Currently heading the lists is the Simon & Ed Crisford-trained Awaal (7/1). The four-year-old is progressive and came through the ranks last year. He is highly likely to get the cut in the ground he so requires and this stable saddled the runner-up last year. Everything points to a bold showing from this recently gelded Lope De Vega horse.
Jockey Kevin Stott, who starts his new job with Amo Racing on March 1st and can look forward to partnering the well fancied Baradar (10/1) in the Lincoln Handicap on April 1st as one of his first major assignments. Amo made a flying start to last year’s Flat season at this fixture 12 months ago so they will be expecting great things from trainer George Boughey.
Trainer William Haggas knows what it takes to send out a Lincoln winner having completed the feat four times on Town Moor since 1992. Haggas intends to be there with both Al Mubhir (14/1) and Montassib (16/1), both of whom would prefer some rain, so connections will be praying for some early April showers.
Al Mubhir was the comfortable winner of a 1m handicap in heavy conditions at Haydock at the end of last season, while Montassib was a close fifth in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot last June.
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing must be quietly confident that their four-year-old Atrium (14/1) can take top honours here. This son of Holy Roman Emperor already has a feel for this 1m Doncaster straight after scoring over the same course and distance, in soft going, in mid-September. William Buick was in the plate that day.
Roger Varian is a shrewd cookie when it comes to plotting a horse for a big handicap and his Kingman-colt Akhu Najla (14/1) may just be the perfect candidate. Slightly disappointing when sent off the favourite for Haydock’s Old Boston Handicap, Varian is sure to have his four-year-old spot on for his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster.
The Charlie Hills-trained Wanees (14/1) is certainly paying his way, clocking up four victories from just seven starts thus far. He ran well in the Britannia Stakes last season before signing off in style in the Old Boston Cup at Haydock. You certainly won’t bet against him being in the frame once again on his seasonal bow.
The Crisford’s are also represented in the race by Croupier (16/1) who they are hoping can deal them a good hand in the first big handicap of the season. The four-year-old finished on a high last season and connections say he will be suited by the one mile trip.
Horses that are fit and in form from the all-weather are always worth following in the Lincoln and one such entry that fits those criteria is Alrehb (16/1) for the Kevin Philippart De Foy yard. The six-year-old has won twice in recent months and he actually finished a narrow runner-up here in a 7f sprint which formed part of a Racing League feature.
Majestic (14/1) for Jack Channon is no forlorn hope either. The five-year-old was a model of consistency last term and sprang an end of season surprise by lifting the Cambridgeshire Handicap at odds of 25/1. Whether he finds this Doncaster trip a little too sharp remains to be seen, but he has to be given some consideration.
Possible outsiders to ponder over are Karl Burke’s Eilean Dubh (25/1) who ran with credit in the Lincoln Trail at Wolverhampton and will appreciate being back on turf, plus Great Max (25/1) who may well appreciate a new training regime and change of scenery at Alice Haynes’ place.
Something at the back of my mind keeps telling me to side with Roger Varian in the Lincoln. Varian has had plenty of success at Doncaster down the years, especially with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle and I would be happy to see him declared to ride Akhu Najla.
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