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THE SPRING DOUBLE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER: Optimism is a major ingredient in all aspects of racing, so we hope that yesterday’s Big Blow will clear the air for Spring, with Cheltenham, the Grand National and the start of the Flat just around the corner. The Lincoln Handicap weights are out and tomorrow the Grand National handicap will be announced, too. Today Daqman has a quick look at the Lincoln, with his early-bird plans.

🗓️ TOMORROW: The Punchestown Grand National Trial.
🗓️ WEDNESDAY: The weights for the Aintree Grand National.


Don’t forget the Flat! It’s the Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday week and 98 entries for the Lincoln Handicap (Doncaster, March 28) have just been announced.

You shouldn’t be a slave to stats, but they are a guide to more than just one event, and the Lincoln results of the last six years suggest that the race is all about a quality four-year-old (the age of the last four winners), carrying between 9st and 9st 4lb.

The last six winners have been rated 99, 100, 100, 100, 100, 102, and the leading handicap trainers have spotted what’s wanted: Charlie Appleby has won two of the last four; William Haggas and Richard Fahey have both won twice in the decade.

Your long-range view is hampered by the obstacle of 98 entries (when only 20 will run); those at the top less likely to drop out; those at the bottom destined for the cut or for support races. But currently, if you apply the age and ratings stats, you get these four-year-olds:

1️⃣0️⃣2️⃣  Epic Hero (Simon Crisford)
1️⃣0️⃣2️⃣  Kuwait Currency (Richard Hannon)
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Blown By Wind (Mark Johnston)
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Fox Power (Richard Hannon)
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣  Mutamaasik (Roger Varian)
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣  Tinandali (David O’Meara)
0️⃣9️⃣9️⃣ Beatboxer (John Gosden)
0️⃣9️⃣9️⃣ Fifth Position (Roger Varian)

I have found that, if you do this listing every year, you will get horses to follow for the early weeks of the Flat season.

Check them out alongside a table of trainers – I call them the Early Birds – who get March-April winners up to the Guineas meeting in early May.

The good news is, I will be doing that list for you in my Flat preview in March. Here’s what happened last year (and I quote from the column):

‘Daqman opened the Flat season with early-bird trainer tips, which produced winners at 14-1, 7-1, 11-4, 5-2, 9-4 and 8-13 over just two days’.


4.45 Plumpton The weather has relented to allow Plumpton to go-ahead today on heavy ground and it will be properly chewed up by the finale.

It’s a desperately poor contest.

Shadow’s Girl has winning form to her name – that was in November when she won on soft ground at Chepstow.

‘Soft’ at Chepstow can also equate to heavy elsewhere and there are no problems on the ground front. However, she has been well beaten in two starts subsequently and may need more relief from the handicapper than the 1lb she gets today.

Dylan’s Sea Song is favourite, the only real angle in his that she is potentially well treated on handicap debut.

But it’s a huge ‘if’ given that she has been beaten an aggregate of over 100 lengths in her three races this season !! Her only real semblance of form came when a 100/1 second in a Newbury bumper which came on much better good to soft ground. Trainer Mark Usher is 0/10 over the last two weeks.

I’m force to look at bigger prices.

Lady Chartreuse might just be worth chancing here for Venetia Williams. She was well beaten on her reappearance at Hereford but that came after a break of nearly a year and she could run a much bigger race here, if reproducing the form from her heavy ground second at Lingfield.

At 7.5 on BETDAQ she’s a low stake bet to win 10 but I will also play in the place market for the same return.

6.10 Wolverhampton The first of two bets for me at Dunstall Park in the two class 2 handicaps on Monday.

Just five head to post fo this one and preference has to go for Clap Your Hands – despite him shooting up the weights. He has stormed home on his last two visits here winning by 9 lengths and 4 3/4 last time and on both occasions he has given the impression that the step up to two miles will suit and also that there is a lot left still in the tank.

It’s a big step up in class for him but with trainer David Simcock in such good form (6 wins from last 19) he should take a lot of beating.

Charlie D was second over course and distance last time out but beaten 10 lengths and two of the other three both have question marks over stamina.

Island Brave (yet to win over 1m 6f), Yellow Tiger (yet to run over 1m 4f).

That might leave Dance To Paris as the biggest danger.

7.40 Wolverhampton Felix with Hollie Doyle aboard are the obvious favourites but a 5lb leap in the weights for a three quarters of length win in a four horse race at Lingfield tempers enthusiasm

Besides, there is a very strong alternative in course and distance hat-trick seeking Kaser who has a 5/12 course strike-rate.

At nearly double the odds of the favourite, makes him much more of a play.

DAQMAN’S BETS (all staked to win 10 points including place bet)
BET 1.5pts win and 4.5pts place LADY CHARTREUSE (4.45 Plumpton)
BET 5.7pts win (nap) CLAP YOUR HANDS (6.10 Wolverhampton)
BET 2.7pts win KASER (7.40 Wolverhampton)

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