Ended Cheltenham week last week with a bang: Emigrated ran out a readily winner at 16/1 at Wolverhampton! That was on the All-Weather, the surface so familiar to readers of this blog…. BUT I have to tell you: the flat is back! Well and truly – the holy turf, the smell of flush green grass in the air – it’s Lincoln Day!
Let’s not get carried away, though. It’s an incredibly difficult day betting wise at Doncaster. Huge- and ultra-competitive fields, soft ground and often little recent form in the book of those fancied in the market.
It also will take still some time until the flat moves into full swing. Hence the brown colour of Fibresand, Tapeta and Poly will continue to dominate for another while…. at least this blog. For a change, not today, though.
2.25 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile
Those at the head of the market should dominate naturally… yet in a big field that isn’t always the case eventually. However, the Spring Mile this year seems to have a bias toward favouring the high drawn numbers, as this is where most of the pace lies.
That means, bar the jolly Taqdeer, the likes of What’s The Story, Original Choice and Kynren should be thereabouts. However, I quite fancy a little flutter on long-shot Apex King.
There is little in his form to suggest that he will go close. His comeback at Chelmsford was dire. He’re hoping he simply needed that run. Last season was a massive disappointment, on the other hand. Apex King looked so promising during his juvenile campaign.
Nonetheless, he remains lightly raced. Only eight starts to date, he ran only three times last year, and he was a late April foal, so maybe he simply outran expectations as a two year old and needed last season to catch-up.
Another holiday under his belt, now fitted with blinkers for the first time – something that can have a significantly positive impact on sons of Kodiac – he remains of interest. Particularly on ground that can suit. He won on good to soft already, and his full-sister Miss Ellany managed the same.
Likely to be race fit, trip and ground potentially a good combination, with the potential improvement for blinkers fitted and a near perfect draw, gives Apex King at least a real chance to outrun his massive price tag.
10pts win – Apex King @ 33/1 VC
3.35 Doncaster: Class 2 Lincoln Handicap, 1 mile
The race that gives the traditional start of the flat season its name – as ever an incredibly tricky puzzle to solve. I don’t dare to say I have the answer to it. However, I dare to say to have a value bet. Rather unoriginal, yet with proven track record: Gabrial.
The now nine-year old won this very race in 2015 and twelve months ago was only one lengths beaten in fourth off 4lb higher than today. His only other start at Doncaster, also over a mile, was a Listed success over a mile. Fair to say Gabrial loves it to thunder down the Doncaster straight.
He tried his luck on the All-Weather over the winter. He ran well enough in a couple of races, though his form tailed off a little bit when last seen. I wouldn’t worry too much – he proved to be nearly as good as ever when placed twice behind Arcanada at Lingfield.
Two win off 104 as a nine-year old, despite his proven record and potentially fair mark, judged on last year’s run, is still a big ask. Nonetheless, with conditions sure to suit, as soft ground does not hold any fears for Gabrial, he should run his race. Whether that is enough to win remains to be seen. At the given price he’s certainly one I’m rather siding with than not.
10pts win: Gabrial @ 31/1 Matchbook