• Racing/
  • Tullius Rides High For Lincoln

William Hill Lincoln (Heritage Handicap) (Str) 1m

  • (4yo+, 1m, Class 2, 17 runners)
  • Winner £62,250 2nd £18,640 3rd £9,320 4th £4,660 5th £2,330 6th £1,170
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 1m 40.17s
  • Off time: 15:51:36
Full result
Result 15:50 Doncaster
Pos Horse Distance/th> Odds
1st 4 Ocean Tempest 20/1
2nd 2 Tullius 7/1j
3rd 15 Robert The Painter ½ 25/1
4th 9 Sweet Lightning nse 11/1
  • Last Updated: March 28 2014, 14:09 GMT

Connections of Tullius are optimistic the six-year-old can make up for a long time on the sidelines with a big run in the William Hill Lincoln, the feature race on the opening day of the turf Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday.

Tullius: Lincoln hopeful
Tullius: Lincoln hopeful

The Andrew Balding-trained gelding was off the track from August 2012 to October 2013, but is now believed to be right back to the kind of form that saw him win seven times before injury intervened.

"He had injury problems last year and was never right," said Sam Hoskins, manager of owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

"Andrew is very bullish about him and feels he is back in the shape he was in 2012 when he won the Group Three Sovereign Stakes, but it's a very hard race to win.

"The ground is now soft and having a 22 draw on the stands side is probably good on that ground so he's got every chance. Off Art and Gabrial's Kaka, I think, are the big dangers.

"The plan is for Oisin (Murphy, jockey) to come late. We'll see.

"He's not ridden him in a race before, but he has been riding him at home the whole time and this has been the aim for a while.

"He has got a lot of weight and the stats are probably against him on that front but he is the class horse in the race.

"With Oisin's 3lb claim he'll carry 9st 7lb and the bottom weight is 8st 8lb. We're as hopeful as we can be."

Balding confirmed the horse's well-being, saying: "He's in good form. At home he seems somewhere near his best.

"Even though he's got a big weight, he's got the form in the book and should be competitive in a big field. That shouldn't be a problem to him and he's won under these conditions before.

"There are plenty of nice horses drawn near us and we are hoping for the best."

Off Art won all his three starts last term and just scraped into the race at the bottom of the handicap.

The rain-softened ground will hold no terrors for the colt, according to his trainer Tim Easterby

"He's in good form and I think the ground will be OK for him," said the Great Habton handler.

Ocean Tempest is fit and well after a spell in Dubai and his trainer John Ryan feels he can do himself justice.

"He ran very well out in Dubai for the class he was in and a couple of times he picked up some nice prize-money for us," said the Newmarket handler.

"We're bringing a fit horse back. The Lincoln is always a tough handicap and unfortunately we're at the top end of it this year whereas they might be a few better in at the weights than us.

"The trip and everything should suit him. I wouldn't be bothered about the ground. He handles all sorts.

"Adam Kirby is the man in form. He's ridden the horse and in work for me at home as well. It would be nice to finish in the first four."

David Simcock is concerned about the rain-softened ground for Whispering Warrior, who showed his vitality with victory in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton on the all-weather three weeks ago.

The Newmarket trainer said: "He wouldn't want the ground too soft.

"Good ground would be perfect, fast-side no problem at all, and you'd argue the mile is slightly on the sharp side.

"Whatever happens, he'll be staying on really strong at the end.

"I'd like to think there's some improvement to come and it would be nice to be competitive in a race like that."

Chookie Royale is another who goes into the big handicap with an all-weather success, in the Listed Wulfruna Stakes.

His rider Tom Eaves believes the Keith Dalgelish-trained top weight can transfer that form to the turf.

"He's improved so much and done well. I can't see why he can't put it on to grass," Eaves told At The Races.

"He goes there fit and well from the all-weather and is in good shape.

"I think he's quite versatile regards the ground and he's a lot stronger now.

"I couldn't have been more impressed how he won the last day. When you go there on the back of a run like that it's always a plus."

Jeremy Noseda reports Consign ready to go to war with the aid of what he believes to be a decent draw from stall 13.

"We won't know until the race (Silver Race) before, but at this moment it looks a good draw to me," the Newmarket trainer told www.jeremynoseda.com.

"The horse is in great nick and good ground is ideal for him."