Racing: Doncaster gearing up for Flat start

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Doncaster Racecourse hosts the start to the 2013 British flat feason on turf with the two-day William Hill Lincoln Meeting on Friday and Saturday.

There are seven races on both days with the action on Friday beginning at 2pm, with Saturday’s programme starting at 1.30.

The William Hill Lincoln Handicap – a famous Heritage Handicap over the straight mile which traditionally begins the new Flat season – is the highlight on Saturday, offering prize money of £100,000.

The race was first held at Doncaster in 1965, and last year’s winner, Brae Hill – trained at Malton by Richard Fahey for owner Dr Marwan Koukash - is one of the leading contenders, as he attempts to become the first horse to win back-to-back victories in the race since Babur achieved the feat in 1957 and 1958 at the now-defunct Lincoln racecourse.

Also prominent in the ante-post betting market are Nine Realms, Lahaag and Strictly Silver. The latter recently won the Lincoln Trial on the all-weather surface at Wolverhampton.

Saturday’s action also features The William Hill Spring Mile – the £45,000 ‘consolation’ race for horses entered for, but eliminated, from the big race. The Cammidge Trophy, a listed race for talented sprinters over six furlongs under the William Hill banner, is named in honour of a former chairman of Doncaster Racecourse and Mayor of Doncaster, the late Albert Cammidge OBE. Sprinters are also catered for in a £20,000 Handicap contest also supported by leading bookmaker, William Hill.

The opener on Saturday is The Universal Recycling Maiden Stakes for three-year-olds while The Harriet Powell Handicap Stakes (extended one mile and a quarter) and The Yesss Electrical Handicap Stakes for apprentice jockeys also feature. The latter race launches The ‘Go Racing in Yorkshire’ Future Stars Apprentice Series - a new series of nine races for young riders on the Yorkshire courses which concludes at Doncaster in November.

William Hill also put their name to four races on Friday including a pair of Conditions races - The Doncaster Shield over a mile and a half and The Brocklesby Stakes, a traditional contest for precocious two-year-olds as they make their debuts on turf.

The Crown Hotel, Bawtry support a middle-distance handicap race for gentleman amateur riders, while maiden three-year-olds take part in a contest supported by Yesss Electrical. Three-year-old sprinters take part in The Park Hill Hospital Handicap Stakes over six furlongs.

The rail station-course shuttle bus will operate.