Welcome back the Flat with the Boy!
27 March 2015
Time to do the biannual juggling act as we make the transition across codes. The Flat turf season starts on Saturday and it is a job to get the brain in gear at the best of times, but having just recovered from Cheltenham we are expected to be spot on and ready for Doncaster. Roll out the green turf for a new season.
William Haggas is favourite to win a record-equaling fourth Lincoln Handicap at Donny with Mange All, a horse who last won back in July at Ascot. Putting the race into context, American Hope, the horse he picked up to beat by a neck, had run a cracker at Royal Ascot when winning the far side in the Britannia Stakes finishing just behind Zarwaan, who was fifth on the nearside.
There was no surprise in the positive ride given to American Hope, and thus it took all of Mange All’s strength, and that of jockey Liam Jones, to reel that rival in. He was in receipt of 13lb. Moohaarib, who is around 14s, was well held.
You suspect even though he was improving, he still wasn’t fully developed last year as he had no answers to The Corsican at Doncaster over ten furlongs, perhaps with muscles not a full growth capacity there were stamina questions to answer.
One thing is evident Mange All doesn’t shirk the issue as he puts himself out there from the off, running in the vanguard which is a positive in a race of this nature. In October he had no answer to GM Hopkins over nine furlongs. That was over a furlong further, and he is now 3lb better off.
A good friend of mine has told me to look no further than GM Hopkins. In fact he said that I should do the Spring double with Rocky Creek in the Grand National - plaudits to Paul Rickerby if it cops!
GM Hopkins seemed to have all before him when running away with that Silver Cambridgeshire, but then what happened in his subsequent two runs? Had they gone to the well twice too often? At 6-4 he had no answer to Homage, another William Haggas recruit. Then in a small field at Nottingham was beaten by Baltic Knight and Moohaarib, the comments were that he could need further. That will work in his favour today.
Bronze Angel is the professional at cavalry charges with two Cambridgeshires and the Balmoral Handicap in October.
Gabrial’s Kaka in seventh won the near side race, but was a long way behind, Belgian Bill was way back in fourteenth. Marcus Tregoning’s star has to be respected, because he is simply very talented.
I’ve gone for Hillybilly Boy, because he is likely to try to make all.
The negative is that previous winners have winning form over a mile and beyond. In the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot over seven furlongs he raced for most of the way in splendid isolation on the far side, but was only beaten six lengths by Louis The Pious. He has so much speed that he will certainly carry them for a long way. All you in-running bettors take note!
He then returned at Lingfield a fortnight ago and he showed running-on tactics without being pressurised too hard to be third to Lunar Deity and Big Baz. A year ago won an 18-runner handicap from Khelman over seven furlongs - he was all out and needed the line. Can he stay? Fingers are tightly crossed.
No doubt stalking him for most of the race will be 2013 French Derby third Mondaliste. He has no stamina problems, and he has transferred from Freddy Head to the shrewd David O’Meara, who is sure to be picking off big races for fun again this season. Have a saver on him - you can probably gather I think the winner will be drawn low.
Stick with the low draw in the Spring Mile as well and go with Certificate, my pick for Roger Varian. He has had only five career starts to date, and is the type to show considerable improvement. I hope he is, anyway!
Cheltenham Festival pointers:
I’ve spent the week spooling through the footage of all the Cheltenham Festival races to see if I can find a few to be on next time. Very apt then the entries should come out for the Topham Chase, as Eastlake was the eyecatcher of the Festival for me in second in the Grand Annual. For a bit of value I’m going to take the 33-1 about Annacotty, as he ran his rivals ragged for most of the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap, and could well put that front-running and immaculate jumping to good use over the big fences.
Thought Champagne James ran well as well behind The Package in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir, and Katie Walsh was incredibly patient on him. If he jumps better at Fairyhouse he could well go close in the Irish National.
Come Sunday evening I’ll finally get some sleep. The 2015 Cricket World Cup will be over and the best players around will relocate to India for the Indian Premier League. The competition Down Under threw up some memorable moments and, despite its longevity, it has been a joy to watch.
I was mentally drained after the semi-final, which saw the Black Caps beat South Africa with one ball to spare. Goodness knows how I’ll survive the final. Hard to believe that in under two months I’ll be watching the Kiwis at Lords - the countdown is on. Oh, did somebody mention the Ashes?
Tanya Stevenson's Saturday tips:
3.10 Doncaster: Certificate at 6-1 generally available
3.45 Doncaster: Hillbilly Boy each-way at 14-1 with Paddy Power.
Tanya Stevenson's Saturday pointers:
Favourites have won six of the last 15 Lincolns to be run at Doncaster.
Seven of the last ten were making their seasonal debut.
Since 1965 horses coming from stall six have won seven times, been second five times and third five times.
Nine of the last ten winners had won over a mile or further.
No winner had won on their handicap debut since 1992.
Seven of the last ten had run at least 15 times prior.
No horse has won it more than once for over 50 years.
Thirty-three of the last 40 winners were aged four or five.
Since 1994 only one winner was older than six.
Two of the last ten winners had run in Dubai previously.
Only two of the last ten winners had previously run in the race (2012 Norse Blues, 2006 Mezuzah).
Only one of the last ten had previously run in the Spring Mile (Ocean Tempest 2014).
The last seven winners all carried over 9st 3lbs.
Nine of the last ten winners were making their seasonal debut.
Seven of the last ten winners were aged four.
Seven of the last ten came from the first six in the betting.
Six of the last nine Spring Miles to have been run at Doncaster were won by horses drawn 14, 15, 16, 16, 17 or 19.
None of the last ten winners had run in the previous seasons race.
Only one of the last ten winners had run in the previous seasons’ Lincoln – 2014 Brae Hill.
None of the last ten winners had come to the Spring Mile via Dubai.
Seven of the last ten had won over at least a mile.
Seven of the last ten winners had no more than 14 career races prior.
Only two of the last ten favourites have won.
Aetna has won both his Donny races.
Jack Dexter has won three of his seven races at Doncaster.
Only two of the last ten winners had run in the race previously.
Only two of the last ten winners had run previously at Group One level.
Three of the last six winners had run in the previous season’s Wokingham.