The Lincoln 2018 - stats and tips: Haggas holds key to Flat opener

By Tom Peacock@tompeacock
Thu 22 Mar 2018

By Tom Peacock

The Lincoln Handicap:

One of the great old handicaps, with several centuries’ worth of history, the 32Red Lincoln continues to mark the start of the British Turf season. It has been staged at Doncaster since 1965 since the closure of Lincoln racecourse, where the fine grandstands remain until this day.

With £100,000 of prize-money and another field of potential improvers, it is reassuring that the race retains its prominence in the calendar and will not clash with the All-weather Championships or Meydan’s Dubai World Cup meeting next week.

Some 73 horses were left in at Monday’s confirmation stage, with only the top 22 facing the starter over the straight mile.

Lincoln Handicap recent trends:

  • The Lincoln Handicap has not been a good race for favourites (although Oh This Is Us was only beaten a whisker by Bravery last year). The last market leader to oblige was Penitent in 2010, and all the winners since have been at least 12-1.
Betway Lincoln Day - Doncaster Racecourse Bravery just pipped Oh This Is Us 12 months ago but last year's runner-up will not run on Saturday. (PA)
  • With a big field down the straight course, the draw is vital. In recent times, those with particularly low or high stalls position have tended to fight out the first four places:

2017: (20-2-21-4)

2016: (22-2- 18-21)

2015: (15-6-19-12)

2014: (3-22-20-18)

2013: (3-1-19-10)

  • Ante-post favourite Lord Glitters is currently on joint-top weight of 9st 10lb but recent winners have come from a narrow range. Seven of the last eight have carried between 9st and 9st 4lb.

Four against the field for the Lincoln Handicap:

Addeybb - William Haggas:

General odds: generally available 8-1

Newmarket-based Yorkshireman William Haggas loves to target one at the Lincoln (he has won it three times with High Low in 1992, Very Wise in 2007 and Penitent in 2010) and this gelding, who is now assured of a place, looks deserving of being in calculations.

Not seen as a juvenile, he quickly strode through the ranks and was third in a competitive handicap at a rain-softened Glorious Goodwood before beating the useful Afaak and Fire Brigade in the Silver Cambridgeshire.

Should be fine on the likely conditions and a potential improver.

Escobar - David O’Meara:

Odds: generally available 20-1

David O’Meara won last year’s renewal with Bravery on his debut run for the yard, having left Aidan O’Brien and it is not far-fetched to see this recruit from Hugo Palmer repeating the feat.

A smart juvenile once quietly regarded as a Classic prospect, he essentially failed to go on as a three-year-old but did show some promise after first-time gelding on soft ground at Goodwood.

Changed hands for 100,000gns and the handicapper is starting to give him a chance now.

Mitchum Swagger - Ralph Beckett:

Odds: generally available 20-1

Another with the potential to be invigorated by a move in yard, Mitchum Swagger has switched from David Lanigan to Ralph Beckett, who won the first Group race of the European Turf season through Air Pilot in France last weekend.

Always well-regarded at his old yard, and even given a go in last year’s Group One Lockinge Stakes, he was there or thereabouts in several Pattern events before a moderate effort at Ascot in October. Has run well fresh in the past.

Dark Red - Ed Dunlop:

Odds: 33-1 with Bet365

A standing dish in signature handicaps for a couple of seasons, losing one in the stewards’ room last summer and running an impressive third in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot.

Dunlop reached for the blinkers last October at York, and it worked the trick when he won well, and it was interesting he decided to run the six-year-old without headgear on what looked more like a pipe-opener at Kempton this month.

[Watch Replay](//)

Could go nicely at a price provided there is a strong pace, particularly if blinkers come back on.

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