14:15 BETWAY SPRING MILE (HANDICAP) – 1 MILE
Keystroke is a lightly raced son of Pivotal and he warmed up for this with win in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton a few weeks ago. He is a previous course and distance winner although this will be the biggest field he has ever faced. Jim Crowley keeps the ride on the Jeremy Noseda trained four year old and with him still open to any amount of improvement he has to rate highly on any shortlist.
Master Of Irony has gone well here in the past and has won and been placed from two attempts at the track. Oisin Murphy has ridden him to victory in the past and they sneak in off a nice low weight at the foot of the handicap this afternoon.
Ralph Beckett has his string in decent form and the look a potential threat. Richard Fahey is a man to follow in these sorts of events and it is interesting that he is solely represented by Right Touch this afternoon. His form is all on slightly better ground, but you can never discount one from this yard. Four year olds have a tremendous record in this race and Keystroke can improve upon that. His previous experience of the track ought to stand him in good stead and he looks sure to go well.
14:45 BETWAY LINCOLN (HANDICAP) – 1 MILE
Express Himself can give Jim Crowley an opening first day double by landing the feature event on the card. This one mile cavalry charge is always a spectacle as the flat season gets fully underway. Usually on soft ground in this particular race you want to be drawn low and he is coming out of stall number seven. He has form on the ground and has proven himself at the trip so if arriving in peak form, he ought to have every chance.
Udododontu arrives here following a couple of decent efforts out in Dubai. He has recently been acquired by Godolphin and he has gone well with give in the ground previously. James Doyle takes over in the saddle this afternoon and the duo ought to provide stern opposition for the selection.
You’re Fired must have an each way chance. He revels in the mud and Dougie Costello has partnered him to win before. He is back down to his last winning mark and is another with live claims. Mutarakez and Bravo Zolo are both unproven on such a testing surface and are best watched this afternoon.
Express Himself comes from a yard that can do little wrong at present. Ed McMahon seems to have hit the ground running so far this season and if fully wound up this five year old has to have serious claims.
15:40 EBF & TBA MARES NOVICES’ HURDLE FINALE – 2 M 4 F 118YDS
Surtee De Berlais has enjoyed a couple of months away from the tracks but she is one of only a few in this race that have run well in this kind of company in the past. Oliver Sherwood has enjoyed a decent year and Leighton Aspell knows this six year old mare inside out. She has won on a good to soft surface before and all of her winning has come at flattish tracks such as Warwick and Uttoxeter so this track should be well within her scope.
Ruby Rambler is the only other rival to have competed at this level before and Richard Johnson is an notable jockey booking by Lucy Wadham. She has gone well fresh in the past so a three month break is unlikely to deter from her chances.
She does have to concede weight all around but with all of her rivals beaten in lesser company she looks the biggest threat. Nick Williams also knows the time of day with his runners and Briery Queen was well supported in December when she fell in a listed contest at Haydock.
She has got her confidence back following a win at Doncaster last month and has definite place prospects here.
Surtee De Berlais is still only lightly raced and there should still be plenty to come from this daughter of High Chapparal. She looked as though the step up to this trip really suited her last time and she looks to have strong claims.