David Ord has a horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's 32Red Lincoln - and sides with a race-fit Big Country in a fascinating heat.
LORD GLITTERS: Just the sort his fantastic trainer excels with and already landed one big pot when winning the Balmoral at Ascot in October. We haven’t seen the best of him yet and must be a major player despite the burden of top weight.
MITCHUM SWAGGER: Third in the 2016 Hunt Cup off 108 but only seventh in the Balmoral in October off today’s mark of 105. Switch to new yard could spark a revival but needs to.
BIG COUNTRY: Five pound penalty for winning the Wolverhampton trial but still warrants plenty of respect for his shrewd connections. Equally effective on turf, he’s six pounds higher than when touched off in the John Smith’s Cup in July but has the assistance of Silvestre De Sousa and a fitness advantage over most of these rivals.
GABRIAL: Stable stalwart who won this race in 2015 and finished fourth last season. Now nine but four pounds lower than his 2017 mark and clearly this test suits him.
BALLARD DOWN: Showed improved form when thumping Master The World at Newmarket when last seen in July and connections have been making bullish noises in the build-up. Looks the type to make his mark in valuable big-field handicaps such as this.
DARK RED: Enjoyed good season in 2017, winning valuable pot at York in October and finishing third in the Balmoral. Crept up the handicap as a result for all he’ll be sharper for a pipe-opener at Kempton earlier this month.
DOLPHIN VISTA: Sprang a 50/1 surprise when landing the Cambridgeshire in October but overall profile is very hit and miss. Last seen over hurdles at Fakenham in January.
CHELSEA LAD: Nearly horse in the big handicaps last season and ended campaign with fine second in November Handicap. He returns to a mile here and while effective at the trip, he looks ideally better suited by further.
VIA VIA: Seemingly not been the easiest to train and handicap mark has crept up to 101 after good run in Newmarket Listed race. Last win was off 85 and not hard to look elsewhere.
NOT SO SLEEPY: Best form is over further and even that leaves him with something to find here. Too free over a mile-and-half at Newcastle in January and is prone to being keen through his races.
KINGS GIFT: Gelded since a no-show in the Cambridgeshrie and while a third behind Mojito at the York Ebor meeting shows him in a better light, it also suggests he has little wiggle-room with the handicapper right now.
LONDON PROTOCOL: Twice a winner in France last season. He cut little ice on two subsequent starts in this country and again made no impact over in Meydan recently. Plenty to prove right now.
GREY BRITAIN: Another to struggle in Dubai this winter but capable on his day – winning Listed race at Newmarket in May and running well to hit the frame in handicap at Glorious Goodwood.
ADDEYBB: In very good hands and counted handicaps at Ascot and Newmarket among his 2017 haul. More to come this term too and no surprise to see him towards the head of the market.
REPERCUSSION: Impressive winner of his final start at Newmarket where he looked to be transformed by the application of a tongue tie. No surprise to see that retained here but it needs to bring about further improvement from a ten pounds higher mark.
STAMP HILL: Was a revelation when landing the International at Ascot on King George day and only seen once more in 2017 when never featuring in a back-end Listed race at Redcar. Eight pounds higher than his summer success here and yet to prove he truly stays a mile, but a contender if he does.
FIRE BRIGADE: The market springer and has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle. Ended last term with a good win at Leicester and looks the sort to improve at four, but the value has long gone.
DONNCHA: Second in the Spring Mile of 2016 and third in last year’s Lincoln from a three pound higher mark than current one. Not too hard to make a case for him despite his form tailing off last summer and Andrea Atzeni is a strong jockey booking.
WITHERNSEA: A third runner for Richard Fahey and one who goes well here but more exposed than most and might need a little more help from the handicapper.
LEADER WRITER: Caught the eye at Lingfield last time, a run that should have put him spot on for this. Won well at Ascot in September and capable of going well for all it will take a personal best to win this.
HAYADH: Won at Wolverhampton in February but will find it hard to dominate these from the front and plenty of others make more appeal.
BRAVERY: Last year’s winner and now five pounds lower. Heads here off the back of a gelding operation and goes well at the track –and fresh. There are worse 16/1 chances around.
It’s no surprise to see Fire Brigade, Addeybb and Lord Glitters at the top of the market but preference is for BIG COUNTRY who won the Wolverhampton trial well and arrives here race fit. He’s capable of winning a pot such as this. Last year’s winner Bravery has crept in a the foot of the handicap and is capable of running well along with Donncha, third home in the 2017 renewal.
- Big Country
- Lord Glitters