Michael Bell is confident Fire Brigade is ready for the task in hand when he bids to justify strong market support in the 32Red Lincoln at Doncaster today.
The four-year-old has been all the rage for the big mile handicap that signals the start of the Flat turf season, especially after the Newmarket trainer booked Ryan Moore for the ride.
His build-up has gone without a hitch and Bell is hoping the ground will suit – but he has no strong views on whether or not Fire Brigade’s stall 19 draw will be an advantage.
“He’s ready to go. I can’t make head nor tail of the draw, personally, but I don’t think he’s inconvenienced by it and what will be, will be,” said Bell.
“Provided the ground is not gluey, I think he will be fine. We know he goes on soft ground.
“We don’t know about really tacky ground. We can’t look for excuses before the race. We wanted ‘soft’ in the going description and we’ve got it so no complaints there.
“He hasn’t had any training issues at all, so we’re in good shape.”
William Haggas is pleased with Addeybb’s No 10 stall as the unexposed four-year-old bids to take his tally to four wins from just six starts.
“We’re happy with where he’s drawn and he’s ready to go. We just have to hope he’s good enough now,” said the Newmarket handler.
“I think he’ll cope all right with the ground and we’ll see what happens.”
Haggas is bidding for a joint-record fourth Lincoln success.
Asked how Addeybb compared to his previous winners of the race, the trainer added: “I think we’ll worry about that after the race on Saturday.”
David O’Meara has decided to let Lord Glitters take his chance off top weight of 9st 10lb, rather than go for the Listed Doncaster Mile on the same card.
“I was contemplating whether I would run Lord Glitters or not with top weight on soft ground,” said the North Yorkshire handler.
“We’ve opted to go. He’s in good form and his preparation has been good.”
O’Meara received an unexpected bonus when last year’s winner Bravery just made the cut for the maximum 22-strong field.
“Bravery, who won it last year, is in there as well,” he said.
“I didn’t think he’d get in off 95, so that is a surprise.”
Charlie Fellowes hopes Repercussion can cope with a 10lb hike in the ratings for a five-length romp on his last start at Newmarket in September.
“The handicapper hit him hard for his last run, but he is improving,” said Fellowes.
“Luckily, so far he could not have had a smoother preparation. He has not missed a piece of work and he has been ready for a week or two. He is definitely best fresh, which is a plus, and he only showed what he can really do on his last start last year.
“The soft ground is a minor concern, although he did win on good to soft on his last start for us.
“I’ve a feeling he might be better on better ground but he should go on it as long as it is not heavy.”
John Ryan feels Grey Britain will be suited by the conditions and will be race-fit following two runs in Dubai.
“The plan was always to go for the Lincoln and the way the weather’s looking, the ground is going to suit him,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“He does like a bit of cut in the ground. It will be on the easy side, but I don’t think it’s going to be too soft. That would suit him.
“Gerald (Mosse) thought after his last run we’d got him fit in Dubai, which is why we took him over there and not give him a prep race over here as he’s not really an all-weather horse.”
William Knight believes Ballard Down ticks plenty of boxes, despite being absent since lifting a handicap at Newmarket in July.
“He’s got a win over an extended mile and I think he’ll be a mile-and-a-quarter horse in time so he’ll stay the trip okay,” said Knight.
“He’s still lightly raced and unexposed. He’s had his niggly problems over the years, that’s why he hasn’t run since July, but I think he’s got the right profile.”