The William Hill Lincoln has produced its fair share of upsets down the years. Sweet Lightning was a 16/1 chance when successful 12 months ago while there have also been 33/1, 20/1 and 22/1 winners in the last ten years. However, favourites have begun to fight back in recent seasons and Eton Forever will be bidding to become the fourth market leader since 2005 to triumph when he faces the starter at Doncaster this Saturday.
Roger Varian‘s charge is certainly worthy of his lofty position in the betting for the first big race of the turf season in the UK as he won over C&D in April last year and ended 2011 with an excellent second to Man Of Action on Town Moor. Eton Forever (a general 11/2) is 6lb better off for one-and-a-half lengths so should, theoretically, turn the tables though the Godolphin gelding has had a couple of runs in Dubai and could be sharpened up by the fitting of blinkers. There is also the draw to take into consideration as it’s anyone’s guess as to which side of the straight mile at Doncaster will prove advantageous on fairly quick ground. Eton Forever is drawn low while Man Of Action (a general 14/1) is high and certainly not without a chance, though connections also run Start Right (a general 12/1) who is now visored and is probably the more consistent of the pair.
Brae Hill was second last year and races off the same mark again. He is a general 20/1 but may have been undone by a berth down the middle of the track, which could also count against Fury (15/2 at Skybet) and Pintura (25/1 in most places). Let’s take the view that the far side will hold sway in the draw as several fancied horses are among those drawn low and take a chance on the relatively unfancied Askaud.
Rookie trainer Scott Dixon has already had plenty of winners on the all-weather and has inherited several decent handicappers from Dandy Nicholls – this fellow is one of those. He ended last season competing in Listed company having won at Goodwood and Haydock and his ability to stay further than this mile will stand him in good stead as the Lincoln is always an end-to-end gallop. The four-year-old should be able to grab the rail from the one stall, which will help keep him in a straight line, and looks great each-way value at the current 33/1 with Ladbrokes.