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Lincoln Handicap Preview – March 2017

Architect Tips Previews the Return of the Flat

The Betway Lincoln Handicap is a very difficult puzzle to solve with such a large field. However, I have narrowed it down to four horses that I would like to talk about. Let’s go into detail.

YUFTEN has improved the best part of last season and won the Balmoral handicap impressively last October and shown he retained his ability when a respectable third at WOLVERHAMPTON on his return a few weeks ago when staying on strongly to just miss out on winning. However, he looks way too short in the market for a race of this nature and even with top-class jockey ANDREA ATZENI remaining in the saddle, there is no value whatsoever and I will be looking elsewhere at bigger odds.

The Challengers

ZHUI FENG, is a decent horse and spent most of last season running in all the competitive handicaps and won at this level in a small field at GOODWOOD before running a blinder to finish 6th of 18 runners in a class 2 at NEWBURY over 1m2f. ZHUI FENG was then a creditable 5th of 31 runners in the Betfred Cambridgeshire having looked at one stage he would win but could only stay on at the same pace over 1m1f. He ran below par in a Listed race in France but was then 12th of 19 runners in the Balmoral handicap at ASCOT behind YUFTEN, but had the outside draw to overcome and he held every chance 2f our but found no extra close to home beaten only 3 lengths. However, ZHUI FENG looks a better horse this season than last and ran a cracker on his return when a close-up 4th in the Winter Derby over 1m2f and again was positioned well to strike but needed the run. That looked as more of a preparation for this event today and it should have blown away all the cobwebs. ZHUI FENG has a nice weight and has been left on the same of 102, which leaves him well in here and connections would have had this race in mind for sometime. He goes well in big fields and is a regular at this level. ZHUI FENG could represent some decent value and is a guaranteed each-way player.

DOLPHIN VISTA has a good strike rate with four wins, three seconds and a third from 14 career starts. Trainer RICHARD FAHEY does well in these kind of races and DOLPHIN VISTA rarely runs a bad race and would have been PAUL HANAGAN’S first choice of the FAHEY four runners in the race. PAUL HANAGAN could have chosen any of the stable’s runners as he’s ridden many of them before to victory but clearly feels DOLPHIN VISTA is the best chance of going close. He carries a light weight of 9-0 and has been kept fresh for this race in mind. Stall 10 looks quite fair and the quicker the ground, the better this horses chance. DOLPHIN VISTA should give a good account of himself here and could be the dark horse in the race.

DONNCHA goes well at this track having been second last year in the Betfred mile back in April 2016. He’s a consistent horse overall and has a fantastic record of running well in big field handicaps. JAMIE SPENCER is an interesting jockey booking and this horse ran well on every start last season roughly of a similar mark on a few occasions. DONNCHA looks sure to be in the firing line IF he acts as good on the better ground because he’s shown all his best form on a slower surface and this ground may catch him out. If he was double figure odds then I possibly would consider him a serious each-way contender but at single figure odds, I will be avoiding this time around.

How do we bet?

Many horses could be given the chance such as YUFTEN, BRAVERY, DONNCHA, INSTANT ATTRACTION and many more…However, two stand out for me as strong each-way contenders which are ZHUI FENG and DOLPHIN VISTA. Firstly, this race has been dominated for the last 10 years by horses aged between 4-6 (both are 4). Horses that win this race are mostly rated between 90 and 104, ZHUI FENG (103) and DOLPHIN VISTA (99) and horses carrying less than 9-4 regularly go well in this race. Both horses tick those boxes and ZHUI FENG looks to have been primed to run a big race and along connections and rider who are going well of late. He’s a horse that should be competitive if things go his way. Lastly, DOLPHIN VISTA is the choice of PAUL HANAGAN which is significant and he looks like he’s been kept fresh for this race and gets in here off a low weight with a decent draw. I can see both of these running big races and I will play both each-way in an ultra competitive handicap to kick start the flat season.

ZHUI FENG – 0.5pts e/w
DOLPHIN VISTA – 0.5pts e/w

Grand National Festival

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