“He’s made his money for the year, and for next year as well!” exclaimed David Menuisier, the trainer of the seven-year-old Migration, who defied history to win the Lincoln Handicap on the opening day of the turf season.
The burden of running off a higher mark than all the others in the field had been too much for every horse who had tried since 2004, but Migration defied 9st 12lb, less Benoit de la Sayette’s 3lb claim, to win the £150,000 showpiece.
“We felt he was so unlucky in the Balmoral at Ascot, he went along the rail and got blocked. He was running off 109 so I always felt he could win a heritage handicap. We’ve taken our time with him and I genuinely felt we had him spot on,” Menuisier said.
“He’s so lightly raced, he doesn’t have much mileage and he’s been giving us the right signals all the way through. We were actually quite confident,” he added.
Heavy ground might be expected to take its toll on a topweight, but Menuisier said: “He’s a mudlark, he absolutely loves it, so when the others stop he keeps going.
“I was with one of the partners during the race and I said ‘he’s travelling better than everybody else, now it’s going to be a matter of getting the luck to get through’ – and he did. The rest is history really.”
As in the Dubai World Cup last week, Simon and Ed Crisford suffered the agony of being mown down late on with a big prize at stake. Stablemate Awaal was unable to resist Migration seven days on, while Algiers could not cope with Ushba Tesoro at Meydan.
“It’s the name of the game,” Simon Crisford said. “You’ve got to take it on the chin. Awaal has run really well, I’m very happy with him. We’ve got a lovely horse for the rest of the season ahead of us. He likes that ground and we might step him up in distance.”
George Boughey, who trained third-place finisher Baradar, was also pleased with his horse’s performance. “I’m very happy,” he said. “He’s run a big race and I think seven furlongs is his ideal – he bolted up here over seven on this ground. Kevin said he just didn’t quite see it out as well as possibly stouter-bred horses.”
Menuisier has his sights set on bigger prizes for Migration now. “I think this is the end of handicaps and I hope he can go to the next level,” he said. “We’ll have to look for some black type now. We’ll be patient because he runs well fresh and he’s made his money for the year – and for next year as well!”