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Doncaster: David Menuisier hopeful as Migration looks to recapture winning form in Lincoln

David Menuisier is keeping his fingers crossed that Migration can recapture his old sparkle when bidding for back-to-back wins in the Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday.

The veteran gelding finished strongly up the stands’ rail to storm past well-fancied duo Awaal and Baradar 12 months ago, scoring at 18-1.

He struggled to reproduce that form thereafter, trailing in well beaten on three subsequent outings, but they were all hot contests.

Migration stepped up to Group Three company in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown, had to carry over 10st in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot and signed off his season in a Listed contest at Saint-Cloud.

The handicapper has thrown him a lifeline by dropping his mark to 4lb above last year’s Lincoln triumph and Menuisier is hoping the fire still burns as brightly at the age of eight.

“Obviously, it’s a hard task but he is well, we know he likes the course and he likes to run fresh and he always runs well at this time of the year, so fingers crossed that the stars can align again,” said the trainer.

“He kind of lost his form late on last season, so it’s hard to predict what’s happening with those older horses.

“He stayed in the yard all winter, I didn’t give him a holiday this time around because he had a long break last summer, so we tried to keep him up to his work a bit more.

“We’ll see if it makes a difference. The ground will probably be very similar and maybe we just need a bit of luck.”

Awaal is the ante-post favourite to go one better this term after 56 entries stood their ground for the one-mile contest.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s five-year-old is back on the same mark after also going on to be placed in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot and Newmarket’s Bunbury Cup before faltering in the second half of the season.

September course and distance winner Liberty Lane is also prominent in the betting for Karl Burke after being gelded over the winter.

John and Thady Gosden will seek to strike for the second time in four years via Mostabshir, while Jack Channon will bid to match the exploits of his father Mick with 2022 hero Johan.

“Awaal had to settle for second place behind Migration 12 months ago but Simon and Ed Crisford’s runner is being well backed to go one place better this time in the opening major handicap of the Flat season,” said Coral’s John Hill.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield added: “Last year’s runner-up Awaal, who has been our best-backed horse ante post, remains in the reckoning at the five-day stage and sits proudly at the front of the market as favourite for the Flat turf season’s traditional pipe-opener.”

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