Forever favourites for Lincoln

Prince Forever is the new favourite with the sponsors for the William Hill Lincoln after leading ante-post fancies Zaahid and Lang Shining both missed the cut for the Doncaster showpiece.

Prince Forever is the new favourite with the sponsors for the William Hill Lincoln after leading ante-post fancies Zaahid and Lang Shining both missed the cut for the Doncaster showpiece.

The pair, trained by Barry Hills and Sir Michael Stoute respectively, had been well-supported in recent weeks for the first major betting race of the new turf season.

But as none of those above them in the five-day declarations were taken out at Thursday’s 48-hour stage, both missed out.

Zaahid will take his chance in the William Hill Spring Mile, a consolation race for the Lincoln, but Lang Shining will miss his engagement due to the likely soft conditions.

As a result, the Michael Jarvis-trained Prince Forever heads the market at 13-2 and will race from stall 10.

But as this is the first year back at Doncaster since its redevelopment, everyone is more in the dark than ever as to the effect of the draw.

Ger Lyons’ Little White Lie was first out of the hat and will race from stall number six. He has been the one for money since, now trading at 9-1 from 11s.

Kate Miller, spokeswoman for the sponsors, said: “We’re all a little in the dark as to whether a bias will be found on Saturday, and only made one change to the betting on the back of the draw.

“The track at Doncaster has traditionally favoured low-drawn runners in soft conditions, but this stat may not hold-up with the changes made to the track.

“Those to the forefront of our betting hold what we feel are the strongest credentials, in being lightly-raced, young horses, so I guess it’ll be up to the punters to let us know of any mistakes we’ve made!”

Yorkshireman Mark Tompkins likes nothing better than returning to his native county and plundering a top prize and he has two chances this year with 2004 winner Babodana (drawn 16) and Smokey Oakey (drawn 12).

“It’s amazing but Babodana has never won another race since then. He’s had a few near-misses and has paid his way every year since, but he’s just been unfortunate that he hasn’t got his head in front again,” said Tompkins.

“The year he won we could pick our own (draw) and he was last out of the hat and we were drawn right against the stands side rail.

“Whatever happens I think they will come down the middle and we will know our fate when we see the Spring Mile run, so we’ll have a good look at that and see what the draw does.

“Smokey Oakey will love the ground, the more rain the better for him and I think we’ll get it but you never know.

“He sluiced in at Ayr last year on heavy ground and he looks a picture so we’ll hope for the best,” he told At The Races.

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