29th March 2012, 11:05pm
Doncaster Betting: Man Of Action the pick to take the Lincoln Handicap as flat racing returns
Doncaster 3.15pm – Lincoln Handicap – Class 2 – 1m
The first big handicap to kick off the flat season sees a cavalry charge of thoroughbreds compete over the straight mile of Town Moor and my fancy for this race is Man Of Action, currently a 14-1 chance with Bet365.
It is a course and distance winner and for me is still a very lightly raced and unexposed 5 year old. It has had 11 career runs in comparison to say the 33 runs of Pintura, also 5 years old. There are a few in the race with similar profiles but the way this horse won at this course impressed me. It had 2 wins already, both recorded in May and June 2010 on good and good to firm ground but both at Newmarket and both over 7f.
The ground could be a major factor here and last year Doncaster was heavily criticised by a number of trainers for the poor state of the course. The grass had not grown well over a bad winter and there were bald patches all up the course, leaving some patches very firm and leaving many trainers incensed.
Man Of Action raced at Ascot in July and was 2nd to Side Glance. That rival is now rated 115 and is a group 3 winner. It ran over 7f again at Chester but hold up tactics would not be favoured for me there and the horse was last. It wore a first time visor at Sandown in July and couldn’t get a clear run at Goodwood later that month, both these races over a mile. It then went to Doncaster in September to record a course and distance victory in 1m 39s. Last year’s Lincoln was run in 1m 38s if we want to make a comparison.
Man Of Action was drawn in stall 11, which was near the stands rail. It was settled out the back by Frankie Dettori and was last but in touch all the way past the 4f and 3f poles. As the pace quickened he was still sat comfortably on the horse as the other jockeys started getting lower in the saddle and pushing for an effort. He switched the horse late on and came flying up the stands side to win going away for a very cheeky win by 1 ½ lengths but it was eased past the line and I felt he had plenty of horse under him at the finish.
This year it is drawn in stall 20 of 22 but Robert Havlin takes the ride and the horse has the visor removed and is tried in first time blinkers instead. The horse is race fit having been to Meydan just 44 days ago. After winning at Doncaster it went to Newmarket but when Dettori went for the gap it closed and as soon as he realised his chance was gone he was easy on the horse to finish down the field in 19th. It has been poor in Meydan but I am hoping those 2 races have put it spot on for this race.
A slight concern would be a lack of pace as other rivals drawn high such as Start Right, Mull Of Killough, Don’t Call Me and Dubai Dynamo are often held up. The positives for pace would be Light From Mars and Cocozza as they both like to race prominently or make all. Start Right has won by being held up or racing prominently and a prominent race for this one could favour the other Godolphin runner.
Eton Forever is an obvious danger and is also unexposed, having only raced 8 times so far in its career, recording 2 wins and 2 seconds. It is also a course and distance winner (1m38.68s) and was 2nd to Man Of Action here also over this 1m trip.
Cocozza is respected under Joe Fanning and is very lightly raced with only 5 career starts. It has a 7f win at Cork but has been tried over 10f on its last 2 starts. It races off 99 and it is hard to tell if that is a lenient mark or about right based on what limited efforts we have seen so far.
Fury was one that promised so much but delivered so little and has been turned over at odds of 7-4, 5-6 and 5-6. It was very disappointing at both Newbury and Newmarket and was last of 5 and last of 4, beaten 11 lengths and 14 lengths. It was also last of 7 last time out and while Haggas may be respected this horse has a cloud hanging over it with question marks that need answering. I would not be quick to get involved at odds of 7-1.
If a low draw proves advantageous then it could certainly work out well for Edinburgh Knight, drawn in stall 2. It has 6 wins from 20 starts and has won over 6f, 7f and 8f, the last win being over a mile at Kempton on the all-weather surface there. This horse is usually held up too so will also be hoping for a strong pace on the opposite side, should they split into 2 groups rather than take the middle of the track in what often looks like an arrowhead as they race towards the winning post.
Man Of Action looks talented but obviously has its problems with concentration if they are needing headgear. It will need everything to fall right and the gaps to appear but looks over priced at 14-1 when we compare it to a horse like Fury at 7-1. Field Of Dream could put in a decent performance if the ground is on the quick side of good and I feel Edinburgh Knight might need some cut.
2pts EW – Man Of Action 14-1 Bet365
1pt EW – Field Of Dream 25-1 Bet365