The Flat is back – and Doncaster’s card on Saturday, featuring the valuable Lincoln handicap, represents the first big meeting of the season.

A few tips, anyone?

Doncaster Tips

  • 3.00 – Asjad @ 5/1
  • 3.35 – Montassib e/w @ 11/1
  • 4.10 – Tacarib Bay

I’m sweet on the chance of James Horton’s ASJAD in the Cammidge Trophy Stakes – a Listed contest over 6f – at 3.00.

The five-year-old took his form to new heights late last year, winning a couple of soft ground handicaps over course and distance either side of a solid third in a competitive, 17-runner affair at Ascot.

Conditions are key on Saturday. We’re forecast soft ground at Doncaster, and he’s one that’s sure to relish it – something that can’t be guaranteed about a few of his 11 rivals, including likely market leaders El Caballo and Commanche Falls.

His peak form is right up there and I’m expecting this improving sort, who goes well fresh, to run a big race.

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Just over half-an-hour later is the big one – the Lincoln.

22 go to post for this fiercely competitive handicap over a straight mile, with William Haggas’ Al Mubhir the market leader at present. He has an obvious chance, but I prefer the claim of stablemate MONTASSIB at almost triple the price (at time of publication).

The five-year-old brings solid form to the table, crucially in big-runner handicaps – he was 5/29 in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June last year before finishing 4/18 in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket a month later.

He’s an incredibly consistent type, who has never been beaten further than two lengths. He’s still improving and will have no issue with conditions. In fact, you could make an argument based off his ready success at Goodwood last May that the selection might be even better on soft ground.

I think Montassib is currently overpriced. He was only ¾L behind Charles Hills’ Wanees, who is a few points shorter in the market, at Haydock in September last year when conceding 8lbs. This time? Montassib only has to give him 2lbs, which should be more than enough to see that form reversed.

He looks a great each-way play, with Betfred paying five places.

Horse Racing Odds

Finally, I’m looking at the Doncaster Mile Stakes at 4.10 – and it’s TACARIB BAY that takes my fancy.

Poker Face could be anything, but ultimately he’s won a maiden hurdle, a novice hurdle and a pretty modest handicap at Pontefract. Is he ready to beat a field of 100+ rated animals? I’m happy to take a chance on the answer being ‘no’.

Tempus is rated 114 and on his best form you wouldn’t oppose him in Listed company. However, he’s not looked the same horse of late and the soft ground is a concern.

It’s not a concern for the selection, whose form on soft or worst reads 131 – with the latter, when he won a 0-105 handicap at Haydock off a mark of 103, arguably being his best piece of form to date.

He’s one you can guarantee will be fit and ready for this having had a lovely spin round Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago and looks to have a fantastic chance for the Richard Hannon team.

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