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Racing: Weather could rain on Captain Cat’s parade

Roger Charlton: Fears for favourite. Picture: Getty

Roger Charlton: Fears for favourite. Picture: Getty

  • by PETER ALLISON
 

Roger Charlton has warned that the ante-post favourite Captain Cat would be doubtful for tomorrow’s William Hill Lincoln if Doncaster receives its expected rainfall.

The Beckhampton trainer has stressed that good ground is crucial for the five-year-old, who has been the subject of sustained support for the feature on the first day of the Flat turf season.

Charlton tweeted: “Captain Cat declared for the Lincoln but he’s unlikely to run should Doncaster get the rain that’s forecast of 10mm and 20mm, good ground needed.”

The going on Town Moor was described as “possibly on the quick side of good” by clerk of the course Roderick Duncan yesterday morning, but rain was due to come in overnight.

He said: “We are good at the moment, possibly on the quick side of good, but there is a lot of rain forecast to come in tonight and the early hours of tomorrow morning.”

Captain Cat was handed stall 15 at the live draw on At The Races following the 48-hour final declaration stage. From 79 horses left in at Monday’s confirmation stage a maximum field of 22 remained in the Lincoln, with the next 22 going for the consolation William Hill Spring Mile.

There would have been relief all round in the Tim Easterby camp after Off Art took the final place in the line-up and was given stall 14. There are two previous winners, with last year’s hero Levitate in stall eight and the 2011 victor Sweet Lightning racing from number 18.

Meanwhile, Hunt Ball is “99 per cent certain” to line up in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree a week tomorrow.

The nine-year-old was bought by American-based ownership syndicate Atlantic Equine last May, having previously carried the colours of Anthony Knott to a number of victories, including at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival. He was unable to make a significant impact during a summer campaign in America but has run two encouraging races since returning to Britain with champion trainer Nicky Henderson, most recently finishing fourth in Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase.

Atlantic Equine’s Stephen Price said: “Unless the heavens open, I think he is 99 per cent certain to run in the Nat-ional. You don’t get too many opportunities to own a horse running in the Grand National and the owners are all really looking forward to it.

“When Ben Nevis won the race [1980] he was owned by Americans and ridden by an American [Charlie Fenwick] and a lot of Hunt Ball’s owners were there.

“Barry Geraghty has to choose between riding him and Triolo D’Alene. I guess it will become clear after both horses have done their final piece of work. If Barry doesn’t ride, I would imagine Andrew Tinkler will ride Hunt Ball again.”

 

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