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Doncaster tips for the Lincoln: Vetiver and The Gatekeeper can shine in Flat season curtain raiser

No sooner is the Cheltenham Festival behind us than trends analyst Andrew Of Fiosrach turns his focus to Doncaster, where the Lincoln traditionally raises the curtain on the forthcoming Flat season.

After the highs of a profitable Cheltenham for this trends column, we are struck by a relative dearth of decent jump racing, so we thought we’d take on something easy like a 22-runner handicap on the opening day of the Flat season! 

Personally, I feel the wise option is to be wary of betting on the Flat until closer to the end of April as my own analysis is more skewed towards form than trends and I like to see the form settle as a new season unfolds.

That said, this race is chock full of a mixture of usual suspects and fresh faces that always make this Flat season curtain-raiser such a brilliant spectacle and a fascinating betting event.

15.35 Doncaster: William Hill Lincoln (heritage Handicap) (1 mile straight)

I will use the trends below to reduce the massive field and hopefully find the winner or at least a decently priced place option:

  • 19/20 – Aged 6 or younger 
  • 18/20 – Carried 9st-4lb or less in weight 
  • 17/20 – Had won over at least 1 mile 
  • 16/20 – Had won between 2-4 times
  • 15/20 – Drawn in stall 9 or higher 
  • 15/20 – Having their first run of the Flat season 
  • 14/20 – Winning distance of 1 length or more 
  • 13/20 – Unplaced favourites 
  • 12/20 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting 
  • 11/20 – Aged 4 years old 
  • 10/20 – Officially rated between 95-100 
  • 10/20 – Placed first or second last time out 
  •   9/20 – Had raced at Doncaster before 
  •   8/20 – Came from the top 3 in the betting 
  •   8/20 – Won last time out 
  •   8/20 – Raced at either Newmarket or Lingfield last time out 
  •   6/20 – Placed horses from stall 12 (2 winners) 
  •   5/20 - Placed horses from stall 16 (1 winner) 
  •   4/20 – Winning favourites (1 in the last 10 runnings) 
  •   3/20 – Trained by William Haggas 
  •   2/20 - Ridden by Benoit De La Sayette (2 of last 3) 
  •   2/20 – Ridden by James Doyle (2 of last 4) 
  • 10/13 -  carried between 9st and 9st-4lb
  •     7/9 - aged 4 or 5
  • Just 1 winner has carried 9st-10lb in the last 37 runnings 
  • Richard Fahey, Charlie Appleby, John Quinn and John Gosden have trained 2 winners apiece 
  • The average winning SP in the last 20 runnings is 14/1

Using the trends, we reduced the runners to a shortlist of four, which excluded Liberty Lane the 4/1 favourite:

The Gatekeeper was last seen winning the 20-runner Balmoral Handicap on soft ground at Ascot in October, having also come fifth in the big-field Spring Mile here last April, and course form is a plus in this race. 

The Charlie Johnston-trained five-year-old was also second in the Golden Mile at Goodwood on soft going, so he seems to prefer big-field mile races with some give in the ground.

Suggested best bet (1): The Gatekeeper each-way in the 15:35 at Doncaster

 

Blues Emperor is an Irish raider from the Johnny Murtagh stable and he has a 12 percent strike rate from 50 runners in GB over the last five years. 

The five-year-old won a decent handicap at the Curragh last July on good ground and has also won over the trip on soft going, leaving his only real negative as his lack of course experience.

Lattam won the Irish Lincoln last season in a field of 27 runners on soft/heavy going at the Curragh, and finished six lengths behind The Gatekeeper at Ascot. 

The Julie Camacho stable is in reasonable form on the all-weather and if Lattam can reproduce his form from Ireland last year, then he should go close here.

Vetiver has only had seven career starts, winning three of them and placing in two others. He finished fifth behind The Gatekeeper at Ascot and that was his final run last season. 

Andrew Balding’s four-year-old has won over a half-furlong further, so there should be no concerns over the trip and he has run well on the going, so if improving over the winter he could run into the places.

Suggested best bet (2): Vetiver each-way in the 15:35 at Doncaster

 

There are two short-priced horses in this race – Liberty Lane and Chazzesmee at 4/1 and 11/2 respectively, but favourites have a poor record in this race, so I will stick with the trends. 

I am selecting two on the trends analysis and am suggesting an each-way bet on The Gatekeeper and on Vetiver

As usual, please be sure to shop around for extra places, as the bookmakers will have offers up for the first major handicap of the flat turf season.


READ MORE: Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Doncaster, Newbury and Bangor on March 23

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