With the UNIBET Lincoln Handicap just under two weeks away we wanted to whet your appetite with some stories of previous renewals. The start of the British flat season is always a weekend of top quality racing.
1. The 1948 Lincoln Handicap (still run at Lincoln then) had 58 runners, a record for a British flat race. The winner was the 33/1 shot Commissar, trained by Arthur Budgett and owned by his brother Alan.
2. The best horse to run in the Lincoln didn’t win it; Sceptre, a three-year-old filly, was heavily backed to win in 1902 but went down by a head. She went on to win the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger, the only outright winner of four of the five classics.
3. In 2009 Expresso Star was jockey Jimmy Fortune’s third triumph in the Lincoln Handicap. He’d been the ante-post favourite since January, but only on the morning of the race did his trainer confirm he would run. His SP was 100/30, the shortest priced winner since 1942.
4. After a short-priced Lincoln favourite hit the bookies in 2009, they suffered again the following year when Penitent spreadeagled the field to win at 3/1. Later in his career he had problems with his feet and joints, yet still managed to win eleven races in all.
5. An exciting finish to the 2013 Lincoln ended in favour of Levitate, who came out on top by a short head and a nose. Darren Egan’s three-pound claim was crucial. This was one of four wins for Levitate at Doncaster.
6. Gabrial had a rough passage in the 2015 Lincoln, but found daylight just in time and got up in the last 50 yards to win in a photo finish. Gabrial won nine of his 93 races and is one of a host of horses containing the name of owner Dr Marwan Koukash’s son.
7. Rain-softened ground meant the 2016 Lincoln was seven seconds slower than the previous year’s race. Secret Brief, who won a £280,000 sales race as a two-year-old, had the benefit of being trained in the warmth of Dubai prior to winning the Doncaster feature.
8. Bravery, a Ballydoyle cast-off, won the 2017 Lincoln on his first outing for his new owners. They bought him for about a tenth of the amount his previous owners had paid. He looked like a bargain. Unfortunately, after his Doncaster victory the horse failed to win any of his 21 future races.
9. In 2018 Addeybb gave William Haggas a record fourth training success in the Lincoln. He looked like a Group horse in a handicap, and so it proved. So far, he has won 11 of his 20 races, including the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day and a £674,000 Group 1 in Australia.
10. Auxerre had only raced four times, winning three of them, before lining up for the most recent running of the Lincoln in 2019. The heavily backed 5/2 favourite led all the way and won easily. The sky was the limit for this four-year-old, but he died before he could run again.