The 2021 turf season is nearly underway, but there have been concerns about the state of the ground at Doncaster.
The two-day meeting on Town Moor, which is the traditional curtain-raiser for the flat season and features the £100,000 Unibet Lincoln, has attracted 222 entries, but many of those connections are likely to be concerned by a video posted on Twitter by North Yorkshire-based trainer Roger Fell, showing the ground to be very patchy.
Doncaster race course this morning pic.twitter.com/HSmiguEIVa
— Roger G Fell (@rogerfell22) March 23, 2021
However, while admitting that they are not quite where they would want to be just days before one of the biggest meetings in their calendar, clerk of the course Roderick Duncan was keen to point out that the video doesn’t tell the whole story.
Speaking to the Racing Post, Duncan commented “It has been taken at one of the points where the National Hunt course crosses the Flat course. It’s also a pedestrian access point and there’s an extreme amount of wear there.
“With this being a public space, all through lockdown we’ve had hundreds of people walking the course daily getting the exercise that they’re allowed. We’ve had a lot of pedestrian activity, we can’t stop that.
Declarations for Saturday’s racing take place this morning and despite Fell’s concerns, there will be the usual full field for the Lincoln, for which Charlie Appleby’s Eastern World and John Gosden’s Haqeeqy head the market.
Gosden (pictured), who won the race in 2009 with favourite Expresso Star, has enlisted the services of talented apprentice Benoit De La Sayette, who has ridden eight winners this year at a strike-rate of 31%.