County runners fancied to shine in Flat opener
Updated 12:30pm Saturday 29th March 2014 in Sport
North Yorkshire horses filled the first four places in last year's Lincoln Handicap and while it may be asking for the impossible to predict a similar outcome to today's William-sponsored showpiece on the opening day of the Flat turf season, it is far from a remote possibility.
Gabrial's Kaka gets the vote to win for Richard Fahey, who sent out the third and fourth 12 months ago and who took the honours in 2012 with Brae Hill. Winner of both his juvenile contests, Gabrial's Kaka took time to find his form last season, but came good in the second half of the campaign, winning at Pontefract and finishing a good second to Seek Again at York on his final start in October. He has the right sort of profile for the Lincoln and the word from the Fahey stable, also represented by the reliable Hi There, is that he is fit and well for his important assignment.
Tim Easterby, who has been enjoying a purple patch with his jumpers, saddles Off Art, who looks sure to run a big race. Winner of all his three starts last year, his season was curtailed early by a foot problem, but there is more to come from him this term.
Levitate, last year's winner for John Quinn, can not be left out of the reckoning, especially as the Town Moor ground has eased in the last few days. The gelding was also a winner on the course on his final start of the season and, although he has climbed up the ratings, Quinn has handed the ride to talented young rider Joe Doyle, whose 7lb allowance will greatly aid the horse's chances
The North Yorkshire challenge also includes a couple of decent horses from the David Barron yard, Norse Dancer, winner of last season's Thirsk Hunt Cup, and Tres Coronas, who ended his campaign with a cracking third-placed effort in the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket.
Another clean sweep for the local raiders in the Lincoln. It just might happen. Gabrial's Kaka, Off Art, Levitate and Tres Coronas are four horses among a deep and talented North Yorkshire squad, who could dominate the race.
The William Hill Spring Mile, for horses which fail to make the cut in the main event, is headed by Global Village, who missed out by one to get into the Lincoln, in which he finished second last year, beaten only a whisker.
It will be tough for Brian Ellison's charge to concede weight all round this time and preference is for Newmarket raider Gworn, trained by Ed Dunlop, who enjoyed two wins in a consistent three-year-old campaign. Graham Lee has the mount.
Lee also has good prospects of winning the William Hill Cammidge Trophy for the second successive year. Jim Goldie's admirable five-year-old enjoyed a tremendous time of things in 2013 and is up to making a bold bid, particularly with ease in the ground, which he loves.
William Haggas brings out Graphic in the William Hill Doncaster Mile and Seb Sander's mount, who came into his own last autumn, merits every respect in this Listed event.
Also worth noting are the promising Battersea (4.25) and the evergreen Docofthebay (5.00).
Kempton also stages a smart Flat card, in which Mick Easterby's Hoof It (3.30) has to be respected if returning to anything like his best in the sprint handicap. Freddie Tylicki rides
Also worthy of attention are the classy Trumpet Major (2.20) and Vital Evidence (2.55), a rare early runner for Sir Michael Stoute, who will, though, be absent. The Newmarket trainer will be saddling Dank and Hillstar at the Dubai World Cup extravaganza at Meydan.
1.30 Brazen Spirit, 2.05 Graphic, 2.40 Jack Dexter, 3.15 Gworn, 3.50 Gabrial’s Kaka, 4.25 Battersea, 5.00 Docofthebay, 5.35 He’s No Angel.
1.50 Tiggy Wiggy, 2.20 Trumpet Major, 2.55 Vital Evidence, 3.30 Hoof It, 4.05 Crystal Lake, 4.40 Hasopop, 5.15 Noble Protector.
Today’s other meetings: Stratford and Uttoxeter.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Ascot and Doncaster.
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