Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mastermind Can Provide Answer to Lincoln Puzzle

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mastermind Can Provide Answer to Lincoln Puzzle

Article excerpt


WE'RE normally reeling from Cheltenham by now but instead teeter, disorientated, on the eve of the Lincoln - the new turf Flat season started with the Gold Cup yet to be run.

Town Moor mists enhance the sense of unreality here in Doncaster. Amid a nation dazed and confused by the shock of foot-and-mouth disease, is a singularly appropriate sponsor for tomorrow's big race.

What we need is a spark of excitement to light the season ahead.

After two years of French exile, the Ramdens are back in town to provide it.

Trainer Lynda and husband Jack are ready to charm and frustrate punters once again, reinstalled in their Breckenbrough House base near Thirsk. They may wish to embark on a winning note.

They purchased Mastermind out of Paul Cole's yard on the strength of his third to Prince Alex at York last August.

He tried to slip his field on entering the straight and was only collared just outside the final furlong by the well-handicapped winner.

Running-on Nooshman took second from our fading hero, for whom 10 furlongs stretches his stamina a little.

The runner-up had also been third in the John Smith's Cup, went on to second in the Cambridgeshire and was then recruited by Godolphin. Mastermind was conceding 1lb to him at York - an impressive effort from both three-year-olds against older horses in a competitive race.

Mastermind remains on the same 100 rating, but looks open to improvement enough to land a big handicap such as this.

He's done well over the winter and the fact he stays beyond a mile will help in testing ground. Although his best form has come on a faster surface, he ran well for a long way in very soft going in the French Derby.

Drawn 4, he relies on Hail The Chief or Kirovski to make the pace among those drawn low, while Bomb Alaska, Peartree House and Ridgeway lead the charge on the other side.

A lead would be preferable until the latter stages, but Mastermind showed at York that he's perfectly capable of making his best way home alone.

Stablemate John Ferneley won last year's Lincoln when also trained by Cole, then exiting from stall 1. …

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