Doncaster clerk defends 'concrete' ground claims ahead of Flat season opener Lincoln as gamble reported on 16-1 outsider
DONCASTER clerk Roderick Duncan has defended the state of the course ahead of Saturday’s Unibet Lincoln.
The northern track has faced criticism for ‘concrete’ like conditions just three days before the Flat season opener.
Trainer Roger Fell posted a video on Twitter which showed areas of firm ground and little, to no grass.
Fell admitted he wouldn’t be chancing his Lincoln hope Anythingtoday on the ground after his owner walked the track and sent over the video which was then posted.
But Doncaster clerk Duncan, who said the ground on the straight course would be Good to Firm by this afternoon, explained the full situation.
Duncan said: “Look we’ve had 800 horses bash round our National Hunt course over the winter and they cross the track in three places.
“And on top of that, Doncaster is a public space and throughout lockdown we have had hundreds of people walking the course.
“And certainly through the worst winter weather when we have the jumps course covered, they walked on the Flat course.
“Is the grass cover how we’d like it? No, it’s a little bit behind where we’d want to see it. But that’s a combination of factors.
“And this year, as the cycle goes, the November Handicap comes around later and the Lincoln comes earlier in March.
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“There’s not much we can do between now and the weekend. The weather needs to be right for the best conditions.
“We’ve had the BHA course inspector round the last week and they were complimentary about the growth underneath.”
Conditions are softer on the round course, and there is rain forecast for Friday.
Duncan continued: “We’re currently good, but drying with bright sun and strong wind at the moment.
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“I expect us to change that to good to firm on the straight course, the round course is a bit more sheltered and there’s a bit of easier ground going away from the grandstand.
“There’s an amount of rain forecast for Friday but there is some disagreement amongst the forecasts as to the volumes. Three to five milimetres seems to be the average, but our own forecast is from three all the way up to 15.”
Bookies Paddy Power have reported a gamble on Andrew Balding’s Grove Ferry, with Brunch also popular.
Spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Some punters are clearly expecting Grove Ferry to sail across Town Moor and he’s been popular each-way with William Carver’s 5lb claim negating his penalty for scoring at Lingfield.
Unibet Lincoln Odds (Sponsor odds)
Eastern World 3-1
Brentford Hope 6-1
King Ottokar, River Nymph 9-1
Ascension, Born To Be Alive, Grove Ferry 16-1
“There’s also been a few quid knocking around for last season’s three-time winner Brunch.”
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