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Horse Racing - Racing: Lincoln dominates as the Flat returns

Doncaster's Lincoln Meeting is the headline act this weekend as Britain's turf season gets under way on the Flat.

It may be sandwiched between Cheltenham and Aintree, but, for this weekend at least, the Flat is right in the limelight as Charlie Appleby and William Haggas fire a pair of exciting four-year-olds at the traditional curtain-raiser on Town Moor.

The Curragh also stages the opening meeting of the Irish turf campaign on Saturday, while there's some excellent fare from Kelso and Carlisle on a big weekend for jumps racing in the north and all the day's action is on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Exciting duo headline Lincoln field

William Haggas bids for a piece of history on Saturday in the Lincoln (15:35) at Doncaster. The trainer has won the prestigious handicap four times with High Low (1992), Very Wise (2007), Penitent (2010) and Addeybb (2018).

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Victory for 7/2 chance Mujtaba on Town Moor would see the trainer out on his own with most wins in the race.

The gelded son of Dubawi is unbeaten after three starts and he made short work of his opening handicap mark of 90 at Redcar when last spotted in the autumn. He's gone up 7lb, but Adam Farragher can offset the bulk of that with his claim.

It's a big afternoon for Farragher and the same can be said of 7lb claimer Harry Davies, who has got the plum ride on 7/2 Modern News for Appleby and Godolphin.

He's only finished out of the frame once in seven starts, winning handicaps at Newmarket, Doncaster and Lingfield to sign off last season.

He warmed up with a pleasing third in a Listed contest at Meydan in February and looks a key player as Appleby bids to make it three of the last six Lincolns.

A year on from Benoit de la Sayette steering Haqeeqy to glory, all eyes will be on these two young riders and their promising equine partners.

A field of 22 are set to contest the Lincoln, with 9/1 Notre Belle Bete a lively contender to give Andrew Balding his first win in the Doncaster feature.

Chindit headlines support acts

There's lots more to look forward to at the Yorkshire venue on what is an eight-race card on Saturday.

The Doncaster Mile Stakes (15:00) has attracted only four runners this year, with 4/6 Chindit holding outstanding claims for Richard Hannon and Rossa Ryan.

He won the Champagne Stakes at this circuit as a two-year-old and has won both starts at Doncaster previously.

On ratings he's going to prove hard to topple, though the Haggas-trained Boosala (4/1) has improved in handicaps of late and merits a crack at this sort of prize now.

The other Listed contest is the Cammidge Trophy Stakes (13:50), where Clive Cox will be eager to see 9/4 chance Diligent Harry strutting his stuff.

He looked a smart sort on the all-weather and on turf last season, winning at Lingfield on Good Friday amongst other things and going close in a Newbury Group 3 in July. He could have more to offer as a four-year-old this season.

French Group 3 winner Garrus and Ayr Gold Cup hero Bielsa for Charlie Hills and Kevin Ryan respectively are amongst the opposition to Adam Kirby's mount.

Meanwhile, John Quinn's Empirestateofmind is 7/2 to bag the Spring Mile Handicap (14:25) and victory there would be music to the ears of Mujtaba supporters given he chased home the leading Lincoln contender at Redcar in the autumn.

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Go North Series finale

For fans of jumps racing this is Go North Weekend, as the popular series concludes with action from Musselburgh on Friday, before heading to Kelso on Saturday and concluding at Carlisle on Sunday.

All three cards have attracted excellent fields and there's sure to be some very competitive racing across the weekend.

In the Schloss Roxburghe Go North Cab On Target Handicap Hurdle (13:35) at Kelso on Saturday trainer Nicky Richards will hope that 9/1 chance Headscarf Lil can give a good account of herself.

The mare has been in good tune over hurdles for months now and her Doncaster fourth in January was another creditable run.

She could never really land a blow in that contest, where the winner dominated from the front, and the form has worked out quite well.

Later on, the Herring Queen Series Final Mares' Novices' Handicap Hurdle (15:15) sees Nicky Henderson's Theatre Glory, trading at 2/1, make her first foray into a handicap.

She has some pleasing form, but gives away lots of weight to the field here, even allowing for Nathan Brennan's 7lb claim.

It's been a superb season for trainer Milton Harris so far and he also puts 5/1 Aliomaana into a handicap for the first time. She's been allotted a mark of 114 and looked to go be going the right way in her recent Wincanton novice win.

Action returns to the Curragh

If Doncaster's feature looks a tough puzzle to solve, then have a try at the Irish Lincolnshire (16:16), which looks even more daunting with 27 runners going to post at the Curragh on day one of their 2022 season.

Trainer Ado McGuinness fires no less than six at the prize, with Star Of Cashel rated 5lb lower than when running well in the contest 12 months ago, while Ryan Moore has been secured to partner 2020 winner Bowerman.

Johnny Murtagh will hope there is more to come from Carrytheone this season, while lightly-raced Ransom could be an intriguing runner for Dennis Hogan on just his second start after joining the yard from Sir Michael Stoute.

There's also Group 3 action for the Fillies' and Mares' via the Park Express Stakes (15:41) at the Co Kildare venue and last year's Newmarket 1000 Guineas scorer Mother Earth will be holding strong claims on her seasonal comeback for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.

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