Weekend Preview – The Flat Is Back & Auxerre Takes Aim At The Lincoln
It’s a big day for all those flat racing lovers among you as the British Turf season starts on Saturday. The Lincoln at Doncaster is always the first major handicap of the season and it looks typically competitive. There is also a top quality flat card at Kempton and if that wasn’t enough it’s Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan where the meeting has been previewed here(Insert Link).
There is so much action on Saturday so we have previewed the four key races taking place in Britain and hopefully we can get you off to a flyer with 4 winners.
This race looks like an absolute minefield and a race I’d be using as a watching brief for the season ahead rather than getting majorly involved. That being said there are some nice prices on offer and we’ll try and find something for an each-way play.
Rampant Lion immediately catches the eye as he’s got match fitness and recent winning form on his side. SDS is also in the plate which is always a positive. He’s yet to finish out the placings for William Jarvis and was a somewhat snug winner at Kempton when last seen.
The Richard Fahey trained Brian The Snail is an interesting contender who is now one pound lower than his last winning mark. All of his victories have come over sprint trips but he was staying on well over 7F on his last start and perhaps the step up to a mile may suit. If it does then he has to be taken seriously.
The other runner of note is the Brian Meehan trained Petrus who faced some tough tasks as a two-year-old in Group company. I think he’s now dropped to a winnable mark and if he’s not fit enough for this, he’ll be a horse to follow for the season ahead.
Selection: Rampant Lion
Sharja Bridge should be difficult to beat in this Listed contest. Roger Varian’s charge has also been held in high regard by connections and finally fulfilled this promise by landing the Balmoral handicap on his final start last season. He’s joint highest rated in the race and is my idea of the winner.
The other joint-top rate runner is Remarkable for the David O’Meara team by he’s got questions to answer having not been seen for 567 days. He was formerly trained by John Gosden and was a good winner of a handicap at Ascot when last seen but a watching brief is best advised for now.
The other interesting runner is the South African import Givinitsum who won both starts as a juvenile in his homeland. It’s nearly impossible to weigh up that form but he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Selection: Sharja Bridge
The big race on the opening day of the flat season is the Lincoln. it’s a race that often sees a Group horse hiding as a handicapper take it and I can’t wait to watch it.
Auxerre could just fit the bill here on what could be a real red letter day for Charlie Appleby who’s got big chances both here and at Meydan. The son of Iffraaj is 3-4 in his career thus far and is a real unknown quantity having won somewhat snugly most recently. I really liked the way he quickened up that day and he’s an exciting prospect.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding Irish raider Saltonstall who’s having his first start for new connections. He’s been the ante-post plunge horse having been as big as 33/1 earlier in the week. Adrian McGuinness does quite well with his string and although he must have a chance, I think he’d like a bit more juice in the ground and is opposable.
Hayley Turner has built up a great relationship with David Elsworth’s Ripp Orf in recent times including when landing the Victora Cup last season. However, I don’t think there is much margin for error of his current mark and will need everything to fall right if he is to feature.
I think Waarif is the each way play in the race, he did nothing but improve last season going up a total of 20 pounds in the handicap. On his final start of the season, he finished 5 lengths behind Sharjah Bridge in the Balmoral. He’s versitiale in terms of ground and could just sneak into the places.
Selection: Waarif – E/W
Michael Bell took this twelve months ago with the Queens Fabricate and he’s back to defend his crown. Much like last year, this will be his seasonal bow and if anything he’s got better form now including when signing off last year by finishing runner-up in the Prix Dollar at Longchamp. This looks a competitive race but he holds strong claims of a repeat victory.
Matterhorn comes into the race with a very appealing profile having in true Mark Johnston style improved markedly with each run. He’s now chasing a six-timer and has won by bigger distances on each start. The sky could be the limit with this son of Raven’s Pass and he’ll be difficult to contain.
Mootasadir is now 5-5 on the all-weather and seems to be going from strength to strength at present. He has to give weight away to all his rivals having won a Group 3 at Dundalk last season but he’s a nice type and will give the favourite a proper test.
Mick Appleby’s Big County seems to have been a model of consistency since stepping foot into his yard. He’s been unlucky to come up against Wissahickon on his last three starts but there looks nothing of that quality in this field and he shouldn’t be underestimated.
Selection: Fabricate – E/W
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