Racing: Clues point to Russian

THERE ARE times when the gods of punting seem to be trying to tell you something, and the aftermath of the Spring Mile Handicap at Doncaster yesterday was one of them. After heavy rain at Town Moor on Thursday turned the ground soft, this was probably the best clue anyone might get to the effect of the draw in today's Lincoln Handicap, but the evidence, to say the least, was mixed.

The winner, Bomb Alaska, was drawn 19 of 19, while the next two home came from 16 and 15, which would seem to indicate a clear bias in favour of high numbers. Yet while Bomb Alaska left a box tight against the stands rail, he raced down the middle and finished up much closer to the far side. The same was true of Zurs, the runner-up, and as a result the outcome should be ignored.

The message from the gods, then, seems to be that the Lincoln is a race to leave alone. But then it always is, and no one ever takes much notice. Every single one of the 24 runners has some sort of chance, which means that you could have a bet in the race every year from now until 2023 and still not be sure of finding a single winner.

Little wonder, then, that when William Hill's recent flotation was called off, their PR department came up with a "free" bet on the Lincoln-Grand National double by way of apology to those who had registered to buy shares. Many City reporters whose only experience of racing is an annual freebie at Ascot or Cheltenham duly declared this to be a generous offer, regardless of the fact that the odds against finding both winners will be at least 100-1, and probably closer to 300-1. That publicity alone will more than cover the tiny amount they may eventually pay out.

Anyone who does have a free bet, though, should look beyond the market leaders, Captain Scott and Right Wing. Perhaps the only point of serious interest in the Spring Mile was the performance of Scene, a galloping companion of Captain Scott, who was fancied yesterday but trailed home last. Captain Scott, of course, knows nothing of this, and may well follow up this month's victory in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton, but Scene's dismal effort hardly inspires confidence.

Right Wing, third last year, is a difficult ride, but this still leaves 22 possibilities, and Russian Music (3.40) can be nothing more than a hopeful choice based on a point of handicapping. At this meeting 12 months ago, Russian Music was second to Hornbeam, giving him weight. Now, he is getting weight from the same horse, having plunged down the handicap. On his day he is very useful and Gay Kelleway, his trainer, is more than capable of getting him ready first time up.

The rest of the card is more manageable, though hardly any easier. Cretan Gift (4.15) is the pick of the field in the Cammidge Trophy, while Largesse (4.45), who improved significantly last year, may continue on the upgrade in the Doncaster Shield. But there is more of interest at Newbury, where WILMOTT'S FANCY (nap 3.30) must go well in the novice hurdle final, and Menesonic (next best 2.30) can beat some well-known but declining names in the handicap chase.

A more significant race, though, is at Leopardstown tomorrow where Stravinsky, the 2,000 Guineas favourite, makes an unusually early seasonal debut for a Classic contender. Since his trainer is Aidan O'Brien, you have to assume that he knows what he is doing.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal for Real Madrid against Juventus
football
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)
film
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power