The Gatekeeper knocking on the door for Lincoln honours

Big Doncaster handicap on the agenda for Champions Day winner.

Charlie Johnston is preparing Qipco Champions Day winner The Gatekeeper and his stablemate Dutch Decoy for the Pertemps Network Lincoln at Doncaster.

The Gatekeeper carried the Middleham Park Racing colours to four victories last season, also scoring at Newcastle, Newmarket and Goodwood, as well as finishing a close second in the lucrative Golden Mile at the latter venue in high summer.

He rounded off his campaign with a surprise success in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot in October and will soon bid to add the season’s first major handicap to his CV, with Dutch Decoy another likely for his yard in the March 23 highlight.

“The Gatekeeper and Dutch Decoy both did their first proper piece of work together on Thursday and they’re our two with the Lincoln as their target,” said Middleham-based Johnston.

“The Gatekeeper will definitely run, Dutch Decoy was a little bit later coming back in and he’ll need everything to go smoothly for the next three weeks to make it, but at the moment the plan is to get them both there.

“The Gatekeeper had an unbelievable year really when you consider he’d been off for 625 days before he came back. He actually won at Newcastle on this weekend last year as his comeback and rounded off the year with a career-best on Champions Day.

“He’s gone up to 100 now, so life is going to be more difficult for him this year, but he was a real top-class handicapper last year and I’ve go no concerns about him going to Doncaster first time out.

“We learnt as last year went on he actually quite likes a bit of dig in the ground, which it would seem fairly certain we’ll get for the Lincoln at this stage, so I’m looking forward to running him.”

Follow us on Twitter racing365dotcom and like our Facebook page.

Race Cards

Latest