2024 UK Flat Season Begins Today

Doncaster first due off @ 15h20

The 2024 UK Flat season starts at Doncaster racecourse this afternoon.

It’s been five months since the last turf meeting, and the stands in South Yorkshire are sure to be packed.

Track conditions are likely to remain soft.

Doncaster Racecourse – Let the Flat Season begin (Pic – Doncaster Racecourse)

The Premier Raceday meeting features the William Hill Lincoln Heritage Handicap (17h35). Run over the straight mile, 21 runners contest the £77,310 first prize.

4/1 favourite is Liberty Lane from the inform Karl Burke yard. He has been gelded since his flop in the Cambridgeshire when last sighted in September and is now drawn on the stands wing in stall 20.

A course and distance winner on soft ground, he is very much in the mix. His draw is a concern however, and earlier races run down the straight should be noted with a view to track bias.

Chazzesmee, bred by the legendary punter Barney Curley, has been well supported in the ante-post market to land the prize just five days after winning the Irish Lincolnshire. The six-year-old, trained by Fozzy Stack, is a top-priced 9/2 after opening at around 10/1.

Joey Sheridan keeps the ride after their success at the Curragh on Monday. However, no horse has successfully completed the double in the same season.

It was good to hear that veteran jockey Joe Fanning is now back in the saddle. The 53-year-old has been out of action since being knocked out when unseated just past the line after winning a race at Wolverhampton last month.

He is looking forward to teaming up again with The Gatekeeper on Saturday. The Charlie Johnston-trained runner is a best-priced 12-1 for the Lincoln, having returned from a 625-day break to win four times in 2023, including twice on soft ground.

Awaal, declared in a first-time tongue-tie, is another not easily discounted on his best form from last season. The Crisford trained five-year-old jumps from stall-gate five and could go one better than last year when only beaten a length and a quarter by the re-opposing Migration who now carries top-weight.

At around 10/1, the selection is another course and distance winner – Johan from the Jack Channon stable. Drawn down the middle (12), he gets the services of ex-champ Silvestre De Sousa and has always excelled when returning from a break. The stable is also in great form at present.

Later on the card, the Ed Walker-trained Harper’s Ferry could take some beating in the William Hill Epic Value Maiden Stakes (18h10). He ran above market expectations when almost winning at Newmarket on debut in October, coping well with the soft ground, and he’s bred to enjoy this step up in trip to ten furlongs.

The Doncaster first is off at 15h20.

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