Swiftly Done can sneak wet Lincoln


To think that some of these jockeys will be riding in Dubai next weekend.

Yesterday they rode through sleet and mud at Doncaster as the first day of a new turf season on the Flat permitted only the most sarcastic intimations of the sunlit carnivals to come.

From Australia, for instance, came news that Black Caviar had just extended her immaculate spree to 24. Perhaps she might yet return to Royal Ascot, to redress the indignity of that photo-finish scramble last summer. And then Model Pupil won the feature race by eight lengths, carrying the same colours as another legend of the modern Turf.

There will be no Frankel, of course, this time round. But the carousel keeps turning. The maiden race that opens the Irish season at the Curragh tomorrow was won last year by Dawn Approach, still unbeaten and hot favourite for the season's first Classic, the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, six weeks today. Who can say, then, what satisfactions the Flat will disclose once the sun finally comes out?

Mind you, any punters needing to salve wounds sustained at Cheltenham could be indulged any secret relief should today's card fail to survive a dawn inspection.

At the best of times, the William Hill Lincoln Handicap is a minefield. In this going, it becomes harder still to take sanctuary in the unexposed, well-bred horses towards the head of the market. Eshtibaak and Lahaag, for instance, represent the champion trainer with an aggregate of five handicap starts between them, but this race could summon more brutish, seasoned qualities.

The default option is plainly Brae Hill, who has finished second and first in the last two runnings, but both were on good ground. (They were watering last year, unbelievable as it may seem.) While he does have form in heavy going, he has spent most of his career at shorter distances and conditions could bring him to the limit of his stamina.

Hit The Jackpot is intriguing on his first start for David O'Meara, who continues to improve recruits from elsewhere, but would represent a fairly blind punt after losing his way in Ireland.

In contrast, the principle leap of faith required by Swiftly Done (3.50) is a teenage jockey still very short of experience. But Luke Leadbitter did manage to crack the riddle of Goodwood last summer, relative to which this straight mile should be a picnic, and his mount made very solid strides last year.

After proving that he goes well fresh with a good second on his return, he won consecutive handicaps in the mud – including one over course and distance – and had excuses for both subsequent defeats. Still on a fair mark, he looks a good each-way call to profit from his partner's claim at 25-1.

The Spring Mile, a consolation race for those that missed the cut for the big one, can go to Bancnuanaheireann (2.40). Picked up very cheaply by Mick Appleby last summer, he flew into a close second at Goodwood on his first start on these shores. Though his form was a little inconsistent thereafter, he was a close fourth at 50-1 in the Cambridgeshire and is clearly very much at home with a big field and strong gallop.

Conditions were testing when he won his maiden back in Ireland by nine lengths, while Appleby – who continues to make a very good impression – believes the horse is best fresh and has duly primed him for today's outing.

O'Meara has found an interesting one in Switcher (3.15). Though she does have a few pounds to find, her best form is all on soft ground and the drop back to six furlongs makes sense after she showed bright speed over seven on a couple of occasions last year.

Model Pupil, incidentally, will step up into Group company after storming clear in the closing stages yesterday. This track had long seemed to be beckoning him last season, but he missed the St Leger after a setback and still seemed a little green until woken up by Ryan Moore yesterday.

Charles Hills mentioned the John Porter Stakes at Newbury, though his father's record at Chester – where Model Pupil ran so well last May – will surely make the Ormonde Stakes a tempting alternative route to Cup races this summer. Assuming it ever comes.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Bancnuanaheireann (2.40 Doncaster)

Next Best

Thorpe Bay (2.35 Southwell)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride