David O'Meara has a great chance of landing the first big handicap of the Flat season.
David O’Meara saddled runner-up Mondialiste in this race 12 months ago when he had the misfortune to run into Gabrial, who was good enough to finish third to the legendary Frankel in the Sussex Stakes in 2012, not to mention a fine third behind Solow in last year’s Goodwood showpiece.
Mondialiste went onto prove himself a Group One performer when winning the Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Woodbine in September and the Upper Hemsley trainer is clearly hoping that he discovers a similar rich vein with Lord Of The Land, who, like Mondialiste began his racing life in France.
Lord of the Land (102) may be rated 3lb inferior to what Mondialiste (105) was going into the Lincoln, but the son of Shamardal has all the attributes to go one better in this year’s race.
He won first-time out as a three-year-old and went on to win another two of his five starts that season, but, just as crucially, he was forward enough to run Don Bosco to three-quarters of a length in a condition race at Maisons-Lafitte over ten furlongs on his reappearance last April, so clearly comes to hand early.
Lord of The Land had enough speed to win over six-and-a-half furlongs on the all-weather at Deauville in August and went on to exact revenge on the tough-as-teak Don Bosco over a mile at Fontainebleau the following month and remains relatively lightly-raced after only nine career starts.
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O’Meara will no doubt be trying to plough the same furrow he did with Mondialiste later in the season but Lord Of The Land has reportedly being coming up to expectations on the gallops and, from a stable that enjoyed two winners at the meeting last year, he could well be capable of providing his trainer with a first Lincoln success.
William Haggas is no stranger to Lincoln success and the Newmarket trainer will be bidding for his fourth victory in the race with Mitraad, following High Low (1992), Very Wise (2007) and Penitent in 2010.
The Aqlaam gelding has been putting in some sterling effort on the Newmarket gallops in his build up to the race and hopes are that if he remains fully sound then he could well prove a Group class performer in time.
He looks nicely weighted on 8st 13lb, off a mark of 99, but he has only had three career runs and is clearly not the easiest to train. His defeat by Hakka when a short-priced favourite at Chelmsford last August doesn’t really give that much encouragement that he could be a handicap blot but Haggas has proven himself to be a master of his profession and he has to be feared.
Richard Fahey finally prospered in the race with Brae Hill in 2012 and last year with Gabrial, but his plans for the day are unlikely to be known until much nearer the time and it is not worth hastening a guess as to which is number one but Heaven’s Guest has the right credential on his head defeat of Balty Boys in a seven-furlong heritage handicap at Ascot last Summer. One that could go well at big odds would be Eve Johnson Houghton’s What About Carlo, who finished fourth in the race 12 months ago and, if the ground is riding soft or heavy, will be right in his element.