With the English turf flat season back with us and right away the season’s first big handicap, The William Hill Lincoln, it’s time to get into the swing of things for the next six months or so.  But there’s a feast of international racing on this weekend including the Dubai World Cup in Meydan and the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The William Hill Lincoln (Doncaster; SOFT ; Class 2 Heritage Handicap; 8fs; Post to Post Race 34;    1550GMT)

The usual impossible-to-predict cavalry charge with 22 declared but unexpected rain has caused my ante-post fancy #7 Captain Cat; #13 Bronze Angel and #20 Norse Blues to defect leaving 19 to face the starter.
Usually in soft ground the far side is favoured and it’s interesting to note that 6 of the last 8 Lincoln winners have not had a prep run so the ones to concentrate on are last year’s winner #3 Levitate (16 lbs higher for a SH win); #8 Hi There (significant improvement stepped up to 10f last back-end and right up to his highest ever handicap mark); #13 Bronze Angel (won the Cambridgeshire in 2012 off 1 lb lower but has never won on softer than good); and #16 BALTY BOYS whose prominent style of running is perfect for this as he won’t find any trouble in the big field. He’s also not yet won on softer than good but was hampered when narrowly beaten at Chester on soft last year.
The likely favourites #2 Tullius and #17 Gabriel’s Kaka both have questions to answer. The former is likely drawn on the wrong side (22) and may need a stiffer test of stamina while the latter seems best dominating small fields.
Have a flutter on #16 BALTY BOYS to get first run and hold on from a fast finishing #3 Levitate.

THE SPRING MILE (Doncaster; SOFT; Class 2 Handicap; 8fs; PTP Race 27; 1515 GMT)

Four year olds have an excellent record in this race and the most progressive of them is #6 GWORN who has everything in his favour including a close 2nd over course and distance last May. Main dangers should come from #8 Dance and Dance who is well handicapped now and #19 Dream Walker for whom the rain has come just in time; who is 4-4 for Brian Ellison in races run on softer than good; and whose rider is 1-1 for the yard.


But the ENGLISH RACING BET OF THE DAY runs on the polytrack at Kempton (Post to Post Race 24; 0-105 h/cap; 11f; 1455 GMT) where #12 BISHOP´S CASTLE is very low mileage for a 5yo and his York third when last seen suggested he was well up to winning races off this sort of mark. This is a step up in class but he´s got a featherweight and has untapped potential. Get in early and often!


DUBAI WORLD CUP (Meydan; Tapeta; 10f; Grade 1; Post to Post Race 61; 1805 GMT)

The key to this race is the surface (Tapeta) which was put in at a time when the world seemed to be heading towards synthetics but which has resulted in the best dirt horses now swerving the event. It’s best to stick to those who have shown class on turf or great form on synthetics.

With that in mind, the three to concentrate on are last year’s Epsom Derby winner #12 Ruler of The World (probably better at 12f); #7 Hillstar (only Sir Michael Stoute’s 2nd runner since Singspiel won in 1997); and #8 MILITARY ATTACK Japanese Horse of the Year who should relish all conditions here.


Finally, we travel across the Atlantic to Gulfstream Park for this year’s Florida Derby:

FLORIDA DERBY (Grade 1; 9f; Dirt; Fast; 6.48 p.m. ET)

Despite not having raced since his 5 3/4-length triumph over Conquest Titan in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on Jan. 25, #3 Cairo Prince, recently purchased by Godolphin to have another crack at the Kentucky Derby, will go postward the howling odds-on favourite with only 8 declared. He’ll face a quality group off that lay-off though including #1 Wildcat Red and #6 General A Rod, the first- and second-place finishers in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth here last month, a race Cairo Prince bypassed.
Cairo Prince is undoubtedly the best horse in the race but is coming off a rest and can’t be 100% wound up as this isn’t his long term target so, at likely cramped odds, it could pay to oppose him with #8 SPOT who was purchased privately by trainer Nick Zito for owner Joseph Moss following his fifth-place finish behind Wildcat Red in the Hutcheson, and he bounced back to register a 2 1/2-length victory in the seven-furlong Swale Stakes. He’s working brilliantly leading up to this race.

Zito was quoted as saying; “His work the other day was one of the best workouts I’ve seen in my whole life. My whole life! It tells me he’s going into the race at his very best and that I have SPOT in the right spot on Saturday.”


Good Luck!



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