The British turf flat season is back and it kicks off with the Unibet Lincoln. Ed Nicholson, Head of Unibet Racing Sponsorship & Communications takes us through 5 races on the card.
1.25pm Unibet Brocklesby Conditions Stakes
The flat is back, and Unibet are delighted to sponsor the first turf race of a new season and how marvellous that it’s the Brocklesby, a race which for those of a certain age traditionally heralded the start of a new season for many years in the past. For the last five seasons it’s been towards the end of the day, but we’re proud to reinstate it as the opening race.
The race was always one that trainers like the great Jack Berry would target for his precociously bred two-year-olds, and 10 speedballs will aim to follow in the footsteps of recent winners like Show Me Show Me, Izzer, Requinto Dawn and Santry while in 2016 the Mark Johnston trained The Last Lion won; a horse who would go onto finish 2nd at Royal Ascot (Norfolk stakes) before plundering a notable Group1 prize in Newmarket’s Middle Park in late September
The last 22 runnings has seen the race won by many different trainers, but of those still training, Richard Fahey has won it the most times with 3 successes in the last 10 runnings so his VINTAGE CLARETS must be given extra special attention.
The race has been won by horses with all sorts of starting prices, including three favourites and two second favourites, but as winning SP returns of 25/1, 14/1 (twice), 12/1 and 10/1 (twice) demonstrate it really is a difficult race to fathom.
2.00pm Unibet Doncaster Mile
Unibet ambassador Richard Hannon saddles two interesting runners in this listed contest, BEAT LE BON won the 2019 Unibet Golden Mile at Goodwood and was subsequently placed in group company. But he failed to win last term and his handicap mark is beginning to come down, a little, as a consequence. He caught the eye on the AW recently and it may be he will go close at a big price – at time of writing Unibet offer 16/1.
MONTATHAM, the 7/2 favourite, finished an excellent 2nd in last season’s Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot prior to winning at the York Ebor meeting but ended the season on a disappointing note when trailing home when well fancied for the Cambridgeshire. He would be a poignant winner for connections given the recent sad news regarding the recent death of his owner.
2.35pm Unibet Spring Mile
A maximum twenty-two runners have been declared and this looks a typically difficult race to work out. In the last five years the winning SP’s have been 7/1, 50/1, 8/1, 20/1 and 14/1 with just three favourites obliging in the last 21 renewals.
Joint top weight is the Godolphin owned DUBAI SOUQ who has only raced four times in two seasons. The fact that connections continue with such a horse at the start of his four-year-old career suggests they feel he may be capable of improving further and maybe even making up into a listed or Group class performer If that was to be the case, he should take this.
3.10 Unibet Lincoln Handicap
The first big race of the new turf season, the Unibet Lincoln is always a race I’ve always looked forward to, and even more so now Unibet sponsor it.
Since we took over the sponsorship, lightly raced four years have dominated the event with future dual G1 winner Addeybb winning it in 2018 prior to Auxeree plundering the prize in 2019 – the last time it was run.
This time around those looking for a similar profile horse to the two mentioned above will look no further than the well backed favourite Eastern World. Owned and trained by the same connections as Auxerre, EASTERN WORLD is another four-year-old who looks capable of progressing into a group performer and showed improved form to land a 9f turf handicap at Meydan in Dubai on 13th February by a comfortable 3 ½ lengths. He has been well backed in recent weeks and is currently 10/3 favourite with sponsors, Unibet.
Unibet ambassador Richard Hannon (read his Unibet blog each week through the flat season starting this Friday) has two Unibet Lincoln runners in OUZO and MAN OF THE NIGHT who are currently both offered at 20/1 by Unibet. Find out what Richard thinks of their chances - and see them on the gallops – in the video attached.
Unibet jockey ambassador Jamie Spencer also has a ride on one of the more fancied runners in BRENTFORD HOPE who at this time last year was well forward in the betting for the Epsom Derby. He is capable of better and a fast run straight mile race might be just what he requires. He is currently 17/2 with the sponsors.
Other horses to note include Karl Burke’s BORN TO BE ALIVE who took Wolverhampton’s Lincoln trial on 13th March. That race has been a launching pad for several horses who have run well in the real thing in recent years. Despite being seven, Born To be Alive is relatively lightly raced having had just 16 runs in his career and at 16/1 with Unibet may well be a popular each way selection.
Talking of each way, Unibet are offering 6 places each way in this year’s Unibet Lincoln handicap (1/5th odds a place) and we’re also offering you a very special sign up offer.
If you open an account and your very first racing bet is a losing one, we’ll refund your stake (up to £40) as a bonus, and we’ll give you a £10 casino bonus for you to enjoy on our site. For more details click here and visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C’s.
3.45pm Unibet Cammidge Trophy
Unibet Stewards Cup winner SUMMERGHAND has an obvious chance in what promises to be a fast run event. The David O’Meara trained seven-year-old has run 40 times on turf and reached an all-time high having plundered the Unibet Stewards Cup from a rating of 108, carrying top weight. He was given a mark of 113 following that win and so was upped in class to run in the G1 Sprint Cup on his next appearance and then in G3 company for his last two turf runs of the year. This year he has already been out three times on the AW and ran an eye-catching race last time to place 2nd. He may well be worth chancing today, with fitness assured. Unibet make him 5/1 second favourite behind Brando.
Brando, at 9, continues to defy his age and is rated 116 by the BHA. Although he failed to win last term – the first time that has happened since his 2-year-old days in 2014 – he still ran some fantastic races, notably when denied by a nose to land the G1 Qipco Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October. If that Brando turned up here, there would only be one winner. He heads Unibet’s market at 9/4