And so it begins. Those of us with lists in various competitions have sent them off. Seasonal fees, subscriptions and early badges have been dealt with. There are ongoing discussions with The Hon. about which days of the Royal Meeting we shall attend; the search for accommodation at Goodwood continues; the annual Derby Barby at which the survival of my liver is celebrated with medically challenging alcohol ingestion needs managing; question marks over July in Newmarket; and overarching it all the Coronation of HM The King.
Yes, the Flat Season has begun, and in the case of the Coronation, we will all need to be hyper-aware of the newsflow, as this is when one can expect the Government departments to drop taxation and other unwelcome bombshells onto a page buried so deep it will be after “Royal Correspondent predicts King will wear Suit“.
As it currently stands, the collective Kneesup hyper-awareness needs to be moved up a gear, as we are clearly out of kilter. Yesterday, I was hauled from my chair and told to change out of my slack-order djellaba and into the full dining-out kit with 30 minutes’ notice. I was driven off across the county to a dinner date at which we found the hostess in the same state of déshabillé I had just removed myself from. She was deeply startled by our week-early arrival, and we were quite taken aback as well – but in my case, this shock was complicated by the gnawing sense of The Dinner Departed. In wonderfully English fashion, we all stood in the rain apologising to each other until, fully drowned, we drove back home. I feel like writing to The Telegraph to tell The Editor that I have heard and seen the first Cuckoo of spring.
This angst was further heightened by my copy of The New Scientist whose headline screamed:
The hunt for black holes older than the universe itself
Primordial black holes older than the big bang could rewrite cosmology by providing evidence for a previous universe. It’s a wild idea, but some physicists think we’ve got a chance of finding them
(Shurely they must have a new sub? Ed.)
Once I had understood the context and discarded my vision of very very ancient scientists born before the universe existed, all hunting for black holes, I wondered whether any of this would have any impact on the going for The Lincoln, or indeed its outcome.
One thing is for certain – answers of this gravity, depth, wisdom and age will not be found below.
As of Friday, the ground at Doncaster is Soft – Heavy in places, and the grass covering is far from uniform.
1:50 DONCASTER Pertemps Network EBF Brocklesby Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 5f 17 run
Fact: There 18 unraced 2yo in this race. Fact: Bill Turner has 12R – 3W – 3P
NO SINNER 1pt e/w
2:05 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet More Extra Place Races Magnolia Stakes Cl1 (4yo+) 1m2f 7 run
FOXES TAILS 3 pts e/w
2:25 DONCASTER Pertemps Network Spring Mile Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m 22 run
The trends suggest ISLA KAI who is top weight, drawn 1 and has won at Donny before. He’s only 2lbs shy of his last winning mark and he is unbeaten on soft ground. Sadly the bookies know all that too and he is an uninspiring 7/1. Can’t see anything else that isn’t a stab in the dark… it’s a long old season
ISLA KAI 3 pts Win
2:40 KEMPTON (AW) Try Unibet’s Improved Bet Builder Hcap Cl3 (4yo+ 0-90) 1m 12 run
CLIFFS OF CAPRI 2 pts e/w
3:00 DONCASTER Pertemps Network Cammidge Trophy Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 6f 12 run
I have this between KINGS LYNN and VADREAM. The latter seems a very fair price, back on Turf and on the ground, she’ll handle. She finished last season with a 6¼l 6th in the G1 Champion Sprint and was 3rd in a Chantilly G3 and with her allowance and her preferred cheek-pieces, she might well spring a surprise. HM The King might get back from Berlin just in time to watch his KINGS LYNN take this trappy Listed sprint. He, (the horse) has some decent lines of form – but was let’s be fair, mostly disappointing last season. However now aged six and with Listed winning form on the soft (Wentworth Stakes), he might give us all something to cheer about.
Dutch KINGS LYNN – VADREAM for 6 pts (equivalent odds of around 4/1)
3:15 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet Queen’s Prize Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 2m 6 run
AZTEC EMPIRE 4 pts Win
3:35 DONCASTER Pertemps Network Lincoln Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m 22 run
AL MUBHIR has form on the ground at Haydock and has a stiff task not only as the favourite (only 4 of the last 19 winners were top of the market), but is also 7lbs over his last winning mark. MONTASSIB has been aimed at this, but his best form is over 7f. AWAAL is carrying some weight of expectation but shoulders an extra 9lb and ATRIUM is on a hat-trick for Harry Herbert and the Highclere team. Charlie Hills has WANEES, who won twice last season, starting off a mark of 84 and ending with a win (post gelding) off 93. He could still be fairly treated off 96 and has patently shown more at home as he wasn’t part of the general Shadwell clean-out. JIMI HENDRIX stuck in my mind after the Britannia only going down by 1½l to come third after trying to make all. Only time will tell whether that will be his running style in The Lincoln, but I wouldn’t say his winning is out of the question. BOARDMAN is 4lbs better off with WANEES on their Haydock meeting last season when beaten 1½l. He would have finished much closer but was hampered, and if he gets luck in running on his wide draw he could easily make the frame.
ATRIUM 5 pts Win – WANEES 2½ pts e/w – BOARDMAN 1½pt e/w All three with JIMI HENDRIX 12 x ¼pt CFC
16:45 DONCASTER Pertemps Network Maiden Stakes Cl5 (3yo) 1m2f 12 run
PADDY THE SQUIRE runs for Iain Jardine, and his 150,000 Gns price stage suggests observed value. He showed ability on his debut coming 4th at at Southwell and is considered potentially black-type. There are some very decent types here – so only a small interest. See whether you can get 4 places.
PADDY THE SQUIRE 2 pts e/w