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The Stanleybet Lincoln Handicap is the traditional curtain raiser for the Flat season and a bookies' benefit. The sound of grubby, rapacious hands being rubbed together as a field of 22 line up with no seasonal form as a guide is as deafening as it is nauseating.
Favourites do win but in the last 10 years there have also been three 33/1 winners and one at 20/1. To make the Lincoln even more of a lottery, it is a race where few trends are reliable.
Lightweights used to fair best but since 1997 no winner has carried less than 8st 9lb. Most crucially, the draw bias seems to swing like a pendulum. Based on Friday's Spring Mile your selection should be drawn low. Divine Gift (stall six) is an interesting runner and one of the more progressive horses in the race. But his neighbour in stall five, St. Petersburg, has equally sound claims. He is tough and consistent and represents last year's winning trainer Mark Tompkins. His most notable win last season came over this distance on similar ground and after a two month lay-off, suggesting he is best fresh.
Over the jumps Tanikos is strongly fancied to land the Cantorspreadfair.com Handicap Chase at Newbury. The Henderson team is flying and this horse looks full of potential.
3.00 Doncaster: St. Petersburg (each-way)
3.20 Newbury: Tanikos (win)