Heavy rain at Doncaster has changed the ground to soft and led to three withdrawals from the Lincoln, the traditional curtain-raiser to the Flat turf season, including the ante-post favourite Captain Cat.
But at least they are not thinking about digging up the track and starting again, as Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum hinted they might at Meydan, where the £6m Dubai World Cup will be run this evening.
The synthetic Tapeta surface “changes every few metres”, according to Sheikh Hamdan, who suspects that his runner, Mukhadram, will not take to it. Hillstar and Ruler Of The World, last year’s Derby winner, are other high-profile raiders yet to run on anything but grass in public.
Some of the best in the world have won the world’s richest horse race, including Dubai Millennium and the US Hall-of-Famer Cigar, but the form book has become about as useful as The Beano since Meydan’s Tapeta replaced Nad al Sheba’s dirt in 2010, with only one of the 12 horses finishing in the first three starting at less than 10-1.
So don’t be shy of taking on the favourites with such as Prince Bishop (6.05 Meydan), a revelation since being teamed up with Kieren Fallon this year and around 10-1 after winning a significant trial at the track earlier this month. Red Cadeaux has been around the world a few times, but has a history of producing his best on the biggest stages and also tempts each-way at 25-1.
Soft ground will help Levitate (3.50 Doncaster) complete back-to-back Lincoln wins. He is 16lb higher now, but 7lb of that is taken off by Joe Doyle, a capable and confident apprentice. Off Art and Gabrial’s Kaka are among others to consider.
It might be worth taking a chance that Farlow (3.15 Doncaster) improves for a step up in distance in the Spring Mile, while the progressive Heaven’s Guest (2.40 Doncaster), is fancied to foil the classy Jack Dexter’s bid to win a second Cammidge Trophy.
Stick by Rebellious Guest (2.55 Kempton) in the Rosebery Handicap. He came up a bit short in the Winter Derby at Lingfield last weekend, but his trainer is adamant he is better going right-handed.
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