Varian may abort bid for Lincoln glory with lightly-raced Prince

DECISION TO BE MADE: Roger Varian
DECISION TO BE MADE: Roger Varian

Zabeel Prince will be in action as the Flat season gets underway at Doncaster on Saturday, but trainer Roger Varian is yet to make a final decision on which race he will feature in.

The one-mile 32Red Lincoln Handicap is the meeting’s feature race and Varian’s five-year-old has an entry, with bookmakers making him a 14/1 shot.

However, the Unibet Doncaster Mile Stakes is also an option for the son of Lope De Vega, who won three of his four outings in 2017.

“Zabeel Prince has been confirmed for the Lincoln but we have also given him an entry in the Listed Doncaster Mile earlier on the card. We will make a decision much nearer the time,” said Carlburg Stables’ Varian.

“He is in good form and has been training well, while it has always been the plan to start him out this weekend.

“He is lightly-raced for a five-year-old and was on a steep upward curve last year, with his final run in the Balmoral Handicap best ignored having come too soon after his victory at York.

“I hope he is capable of improving again this summer and we will make a decision on his starting point for Saturday when we have seen the entries for both races.”

Another horse in a similar situation to Zabeel Prince is Hugo Palmer’s Humbert.

The four-year-old has been busy on the All-Weather since December, racking up victories at Kempton twice and Wolverhampton.

He has an entry for the Lincoln, but Kremlin Cottage Stables-based Palmer may sway towards the 32Red.com Spring Mile Handicap.

“He will definitely be making the trip to Doncaster but we do not know what race,” said Palmer. “He missed much of last season with an injury and we did not get him back until November.

“He has done nothing wrong since then and looked good on the All-Weather. It has been a pleasing start for him.

“It is nice to have a runner on the first day of the season, and he is in good shape.”

Two trainers from Headquarters currently have the joint second favourites to win the Lincoln, with William Haggas’ Addeybb and the Michael Bell-trained Fire Brigade both available at 8/1.

David O’Meara — based in York —has the 7/1 favourite, last year’s Balmoral Handicap winner Lord Glitters.