Matt Chapman: The bookies better beware of Auxerre in Doncaster’s Lincoln Handicap

The Lincoln Handicap kicks off the turf Flat season on Saturday and Matt's all in on Godolphin's big race favourite...

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The times they are a changing, with Flat racing all the way on ITV Saturday and seven races to enjoy from Doncaster and Kempton.

Let’s get straight to it, and the 1.50pm at Doncaster is the Listed Cammidge Trophy over 6f. I’ll have a few quid eachway on ARBALET, who stays strong and has met plenty of decent horses in his time. His placed efforts behind Expert Eye last term gives him every chance of hitting the frame for Hugo Palmer.

Next up at Doncaster is the Spring Mile at 2.25pm. Total flyer here, but PETRUS is down to a mark of 91 from 101 and had been gelded. He’s got bits and bobs of form that would give him a chance for Brian Meehan if at his best and will be tasty odds.

It’s the Doncaster Mile at 3.00pm. Hard to get away from the Royal Ascot Balmoral Handicap winner SHARJA BRIDGE, a quality horse for Roger Varian rated 110. Andrea Atzeni should get a nice win out of him before a possible tilt at the Lockinge at Newbury later.

Auxerre

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Finally at Doncaster, the big betting race of the day, the Lincoln Handicap over 1m at 3.35pm where Paddy’s paying the first 6 home. I’m all over the market leader AUXERRE, who is up in the handicap but could still be absolutely chucked in off a BHA rating of 100.

What I love about this horse is that he could easily go a bit further than 1m, so a large field and strong gallop should be absolutely up his street.

For a Godolphin horse a mark of 100 means the son of Iffraaj is only beginning to verge on Listed Class, so Auxerre could easily be capable of much better. He’s up 7lb for a narrow success at Kempton in October, which is fair enough, and while his last two efforts were on artificial surfaces, he’s already proven on turf at Newmarket and Haydock.

Trainer Charlie Appleby was awesome in 2018 with a Derby success via Masar and victory in the Melbourne Cup. A win from Auxerre would kick-start his 2019 season in the UK in the perfect fashion.

Meanwhile, at Kempton there’s a Listed race over 1m 2f at 2.05pm. I would have taken on MATTERHORN if drawn high, but with the plot stall in box 1 for a front-runner surely his winning run will continue for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning. He even gets a bit of weight from some of the others.

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Next at Kempton is a 6f handicap at 2.40pm. Hard to be confident about GILGAMESH, who is not the most consistent for George Scott. However, his second two runs ago would give him every chance each-way here in a tough heat.

And finally at Kempton a competitive handicap over 1m 3f at 3.15pm. The draw favours a big run from KELLY’S DINO, who has been most consistent for Karl Burke. The gelding has run well at Wolverhampton last time and prior to that at York, and the latter effort would give place claims.

So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

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What do you think?