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Spring E/W Double – Lincoln/Grand National

Saturday sees the return of the Flat season in Britain with the feature event being the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster. The race is seen by some punters as the first leg of the Spring Double, the second part being the Grand National.

At this stage, the Lincoln looks a strong renewal with a whole host of smart handicappers that are on the fringe of Listed and Group company. The two at the head of the market Mange All and GM Hopkins both look solid with each looking to have a bit more to give in terms of handicap rating, but look short enough considering how competitive the field looks.

With several of the contenders potentially lacking in race fitness, it could pay to find one that may have the slight edge at this stage in the season. At a price, EMPIRE STORM is the first part of an each way suggested double. His form at the back end of the UK turf season looks strong with placed efforts at Ascot behind Intransigent over seven furlongs and Bronze Angel on Champions Day over a mile. Over the winter in Meydan, he has held his form with two placed efforts behind Tamarkuz who given his conditions is a top performer on dirt. 25/1 is an insulting price for a horse with the level of form he has and, whilst he hasn’t won since 2012, he has real place claims.

The Grand National’s complexion will change on Wednesday when the latest forfeit stage will reveal more about who will be likely to take their chances on April 11th. To complete the each way double, ALVARADO looks a solid selection. His rider, Paul Moloney, has been placed in every National since 2009 and was fourth on this horse last year. He looked to revel in the challenge that Aintree provides and a pipeopener at Doncaster will have blown the cobwebs away. He has been trained for one day only and, with bullish comments from the trainer, 33/1 is simply too big to ignore.