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22 Dec 2016

The Lincoln Handicap - Race Profile

First published on a previous Key Racing News blog, 2nd April 2016.

Thanks for the nice emails we received for the Irish National race profile last week which yielded 33/1 and 40/1 SP placed selections. Races that roll over and offer so much betting scope are rare indeed, but analysis of the Lincoln, a notoriously tricky race, does yield some interesting angles. Especially as there is now a fair block of relevant data since 2008, when the re-laid course was first used, and since when the standard has markedly risen.

Although much is made of winners who have occasionally come from the all-weather or Dubai, by far the most successful group are still those who arrive here after a break of at least 120 days, and there is probably a good reason for that. Horses who like softer conditions tend to have a break mid-summer rather than winter, and can largely stay in training from autumn to be fresh and ready to roll first time up in spring - that is often forgotten. So whereas it's tempting to side with race fitness, results speak differently.

Looking at all renewals at Doncaster this century, there have been 13 winners from 306 runners, a tough-looking winners to runners ratio of 23.54:1. However, restrict this to runners off 120 days+, aged 4 to 6yo with a maximum rider allowance of 5lbs and this instantly cheers up 14.1:1. Stick to runners drawn 16 or lower (particularly relevant when it's soft) and this becomes 11:1.

However, as mentioned above this becomes much more interesting since 2008, where the data is more relevant to the current era and track conditions. Then we have 6 winners from 50 qualifiers, a ratio of 8.33:1. If we discount the outsiders above 25/1 - who in that time have failed to get a single runner in the frame, even to 5 places - this improves to 6 wins from 39, or 6.5:1. In fact with this criteria to 5 places, we achieve 17 from 39 (43.6% win or placed), including the winners in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 & 2015, at starting prices up to 25/1.

In fact, looking over the results, anything that qualifies between 16/1 and 25/1 is something of an EW no-brainer. 7 from 15 have won or placed (incl. wins at 20/1 and 25/1) - this is where the peak betting value lies. Running the criteria over the field reveals 4 qualifiers this year; Lord Of The Land, Mutarakez, Express Himself & Storm Rock, the first 3 have all been fairly well found by the market but STORM ROCK is at least available at 12/1 to 5 places; he goes on the ground, is a 4yo, progressive.

Outside the trends BIRDMAN looks interesting for the place market. Runners drawn higher than 16 have a poor win record but do get placed - he looks reasonably treated with his riders' allowance and he loves it at Donny, especially in properly soft conditions.

Herbie is one of the resident pro-gamblers in ENIGMA:

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** Feedback: Birdman made the frame in 4th, closing fast 14/1 **

Gabriel wins the 2015 William Hill Lincoln Handicap
Gabriel wins the 2015 William Hill Lincoln Handicap

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