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Stall six is Lincoln's favourite number.

As expected, stall six proved the most sought-after berth when the draw was made for Saturday's Worthington Lincoln Handicap before racing at Doncaster yesterday.

Three of the last nine winners of the Flat turf season's curtain-raiser have come from that stall, with those drawn six making the frame in five of the previous six runnings of the race.

So when Full Monty star Steve Huison, who thankfully kept his clothes on this time, pulled disc No 5 out of the bag to signify Right Wing at the inaugural draw ceremony, it came as no surprise when National Trainers' Federation chief executive Grant Harris, representing the four-year-old's trainer John Dunlop, plumped for box six.

It was the first time that connections could nominate their choice from the stalls available after the British Horseracing Board granted a change in the rules for the Lincoln.

Right Wing's connections having benefited from first choice, the bay was promoted to 6-1 (from 7-1) joint-favourite with the Tote, a position he shares with Michael Bell's Solar Storm, who will emerge from stall 14 after his name was pulled out 23rd of the 24 declared runners. "I can't be accused of making a mess of it, as we had Hobson's choice," said Bell.

"But as long as he gets a good lead he will take all the beating. Punishment (stall 16) and Albert The Bear (13) are near so there will be a bit of pace.

"We haven't been dealt any favours but you need luck in running wherever you are. I wanted to be low but I would still rather be 14 than 20 or above, but who knows?" Despite his ill fortune, Bell praised the innovation of the public draw, adding: "I think it is a good idea and it adds a bit of spice. ''

A predictable pattern soon emerged for a far-side preference, with the first boxes to go being six (Right Wing), four (Ginzbourg), five (Sharp Rebuff) and three (Kala Sunrise) before Sheik Maktoum Al-Maktoum's racing manager Bruce Raymond opted for stall20 when Hajr's number came out.

"I spoke to Michael Hills on the way up and he is riding the horse," explained Raymond. "I said, `Where would you rather be?' And he said, `I'd rather be the stands' side'.''

Coral bet: 6-1 Solar Storm, 7-1 Right Wing, 10-1 Rock Falcon & Nomore Mr Niceguy, 12-1 Hunters of Brora, 14-1 Gulf Shaadi, 16-1 Lionize, Consort & Young Precedent, 20-1 Hajr and La Modiste.

The Tote bet: 6-1 Right Wing & Solar Storm, 7-1 Rock Falcon, 12-1 Gulf Shaadi, 14-1 Consort, Lionize & Nomore Mr Niceguy, 16-1 bar.

Ladbrokes bet: 6-1 Solar Storm, 7-1 Right Wing, 8-1 Rock Falcon, 10-1 Nomore Mr Niceguy, 12-1 Gulf Shaadi, 14-1 Consort, Lionize and Young Precedent.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 27, 1998
Words:454
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