A woman who was walking her dog on the racecourse at Doncaster caused a delay to the final race on Lincoln day. Despite the interruption, the Doncaster team stressed that there was no risk of injury to either the woman or the horses. The woman had no idea that the second division of the 1m2f apprentice handicap was about to start until security staff escorted her off the track.
According to Paul Barker, the Clerk of the Course, the race was already delayed due to a loose horse. When security staff noticed the woman walking her dog on the straight course around the seven-furlong pole, they quickly intervened. Barker explained that while people are allowed to cross the track, they are not allowed to walk along it. It was probably just part of the woman’s daily routine, and she was oblivious to the fact that a race was about to start on the round course. The security staff ensured there was no danger to anyone, and the race started almost ten minutes later than scheduled.
In the end, Aone Ally won the race, ridden by jockey Connor Planas and trained by Lucinda Russell. Russell, who previously landed a double at the Ayr Gold Cup meeting last September with Flylikeaneagle and Engles Rock, was celebrating her first Flat winners in a while.
“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!”
‘The investment has worked’ – Doncaster delighted as prize-money increase coincides with Lincoln boost.
69 horses have been confirmed for Saturday’s heritage handicap because of Doncaster’s investment in the Lincoln.
At the five-day stage last year, there were only 42 confirmations, down from 64 in 2021 and 91 in 2017. However, the race is worth £150,000 this year, up from £100,000, and connections appear to have noticed.
This year, the Lincoln’s consolation race is expected to draw a significantly larger field on the first day of the Flat turf season than it did last year, despite the fact that only nine horses were declared for the Spring Mile—one of which was a non-runner.
Doncaster clerk of the course Paul Barker said: “We’re delighted with the turnout – obviously the increase in prize-money for that race and the Spring Mile has helped. It’s nice to see so many horses standing their ground and we’ll look forward to seeing how many stay in on Thursday.
“After the increase to the prize fund, the Spring Mile is worth only £25,000 less than last year’s Lincoln. The investment has worked for us and we’re more than happy with where we stand. The whole card looks very good and we’ve had increased numbers in the Brocklesby too, so I’m really pleased.”
One of the 69 confirmations was the ante-post favorite Al Mubhir, whose Irish Lincolnshire-winning trainer William Haggas is hoping for a famous double to kick off the new Flat season. However, Majestic’s connections will need a little luck because the five-year-old is number 27 in a race with a maximum field of 22 and is a 10-1 shot. Glorious furnished Mick Channon with his last huge race victor when he won the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September and his child Jack is trusting he could be a springboard to a fruitful mission.
After a successful winter campaign at Meydan with Dubai World Cup runner-up Algiers, Simon and Ed Crisford will be looking to Awaal to kick off their British season in style. In 2022, they had their best season together.
On his final run of the year, the four-year-old easily won a Redcar handicap, winning two of his four starts in his debut season. Given that his Redcar victory came on heavy ground, his connections will be pleased by a wet forecast since he has been gelded over the winter.
Baradar is another prominent figure in the ante-post market for a stable that was another to enjoy a productive winter in the Middle East with Al Dasim. He won his debut for George Boughey in November over seven furlongs at Doncaster.
The Lincoln that was held the previous year was run on good to soft ground, but Barker anticipates heavy rain throughout the week.
“We are currently soft, good to soft in places after a nice dry day,” he said. “It’ll probably be that way tomorrow morning before the showers start midday, and that’ll be with us most of the time until Sunday. If we go down the middle range of the expected rain, it’ll be soft ground on Saturday, potentially heavy in places.”
Lingfield: Unforgotten 14-1 for the Lincoln after successful return.
Paddy Power reduced Unforgotten’s odds for the SBK Lincoln at Doncaster on April 1 to 14-1 (from 20-1) after he won the feature mile handicap for the first time in nearly two years under Robert Havlin.
The grey that was trained by John and Thady Gosden was backed into a 5-4 favorite from 9-4 in the morning, despite being out for 659 days.
Havlin, wearing Godolphin’s all-blue uniform, stayed wide from his stall-ten draw to take second going down the side of the track and kicked off the bend to hold off Tropez Power’s late surge. Godolphin also had a productive afternoon in Bahrain and Dubai.
Havlin said: “Obviously it was great to get Unforgotten back on track after nearly two years out and he did that well coming here on the back of four pieces of work. He’s at the right end of the handicap and hopefully can start making up for lost time.”
When Kevin Philippart de Foy’s newcomer Ermesinde pulled off a 14-1 surprise in the 1m2f maiden, he had something to help him recover from a skiing accident.
The Belgian from Newmarket suffered ligament damage to his ankle when he fell last month on the slopes, but he was able to limp into the winner’s enclosure to celebrate his sixth victory in 2023 and the third time in a row.
Jockey Daniel Muscutt, who won 46 races during the all-weather season after Inaam won the 6f classified stakes for John Butler, is almost as successful.
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