Officially opening the UK flat turf season, the UNIBET Lincoln is a race steeped in history, yet we can’t help but ponder why is a race run in Doncaster called the Lincoln.
Lincoln isn’t a million miles away, in fact it’s a mere 40 miles, yet Lincoln races were left at the post in 1964, when the closure of the West Common racecourse, ending nearly 200 years of flat racing in the city.
In its heyday racing in Lincoln attracted jubilant crowds, and the Lincolnshire Handicap was the highlight of the racing calendar. The race was established in 1849 and run over a distance of 2 miles, before being shortened to 1 mile in 1855.
The race is in fact the first half of the Spring Double, the second part being the Grand National, run just 1 week later. However; winning the double is no easy feat in fact the only jockey to have ever won both legs, was Dave Dick way back in 1956!
Nevertheless; the Spring double remains an ante-post betting favourite, giving punters the opportunity to combine two horses in a double bet.
The Lincolnshire Handicap was first run in Doncaster in 1965, and to assist the transfer became known simply as the Lincoln Handicap. The heritage handicap was quick to establish its self as part of a racing programme that showcases world-class racing on Town Moor, and is now worth a staggering £100,000 in prize money.
The 2020 UNIBET Lincoln, represents the 171 running of this historic race, and of course the opening fixture of Britain’s flat turf racing season. Will James Doyle score a hat trick, having rode winners in both the 2018 and 2019 outings, we will have to wait and see.
However; there’s more than one race to be excited about…the UNIBET Lincoln race day also hosts the traditional opening two-year olds race of the British Flat Turf Season, the Brocklesby Stakes. The race shares the same history as the Lincoln handicap, and was also transferred from the former Lincoln racecourse in 1965.
Formally a 12-furlong race, the Brocklesby is now known as a fast and furious five-furlong sprint, and the first opportunity for juveniles to show their form, with many going on to Group 1 success.
Whilst the history books, report Brocklesby winner ‘Donovan’ going on to St Leger Stakes success in 1888, Mark Johnston’s ‘The Last Lion’ was perhaps the most successful graduate of recent years, following his 2016 victory in the Middle Park Stakes.
We of course do not know what the class of 2020 will bring in either race…one thing is for sure the Lincoln is in Doncaster, and the Flat is Back on Saturday 28 March!