The Lincoln Handicap is the first feature handicap race of the new flat season and traditionally takes place at Doncaster on the opening Saturday of the new turf campaign. It is open to thoroughbreds aged four years old or older and is run over a distance of one mile.
A race called the Lincolnshire Handicap was first run over two miles at Lincoln in August, 1849. In 1853, a new fixture was staged at Lincoln in February and featured a race called the Lincoln Spring Handicap, run over a mile and a half.
The distance of this event was reduced to a mile in 1855 and moved to a date in March. In 1859, the two races merged to become the Lincolnshire Handicap, run over a mile in March and this race continued up until Lincoln racecourses closure in 1964.
In 1965 the race transferred to its current home of Doncaster and was renamed the Lincoln Handicap.
Trends And statistics (Last 10 Renewals)
2017 – BRAVERY (20/1)
2016 – SECRET BRIEF (12/1)
2015 – GABRIAL (12/1)
2014 – OCEAN TEMPEST (33/1)
2013 – LEVITATE (20/1)
2012 – BRAE HILL (25/1)
2011 – SWEET LIGHTNING (16/1)
2010 – PENITENT (3/1 fav)
2009 – EXPRESSO STAR (10/3 fav)
2008 – SMOKEY OAKEY (10/1)
As you can see four to six year olds have dominated the last ten years of this race with four-year-olds leading the way in recent times.
If you are a fan of the older sprinter then it is worth noting that there has only been one winner aged six years old or over in the past twenty years. That would be a negative for Gabrial, Donncha and Withernsea.
Horses carrying 9st 1lb+: 5-14-82
Horses carrying 8st 9lb to 9st: 4-12-95
Horses carrying 8st 8lb or less: 1-4-32
Nine of the last ten winners have carried all carried between 8st 9lb and 9st 4lb.
If you are a follower of this trend then you will be concentrating your picks on the horses numbered 8-22 in the handicap.
Horses rated 99 or higher: 4-13-79
Horses rated 90 to 98: 6-16-121
Horses rated 89 or lower: 0-1-6
Eight of the last winners were officially rated 95 to 102.
Five of the past ten winners had won one of their last two turf starts.
Seven of the past ten winners were having their first run of the year.
Eight of the past ten winners had previously won a race worth more than £11,000 some time in their career.
Only one of the past ten winners had previously won at Doncaster.
The Michael Bell trained Fire Brigade is the favourite for the contest, backed in all week to a rather meagre price of 11/2.
He was a progressive sort last term ending his season on a final mark of 98 after setting off on just 71. That rapid rise through the ratings last term came on the back of four wins, two of which were on soft going. With conditions expected to be exactly that on Saturday you can understand why there has been massive support for the four-year-old.
Ryan Moore has been booked to ride so understandably there are a lot of positives for this gelding but his less than generous odds, which may even contract further on the day, will have many punters searching around for the alternative each-way value in the race.
Canny trainer Willie Haggas has not targeted the Lincoln very much over the years, sending out just six runners in the last twenty years .But from that sextet he has enjoyed two winners and a placed horse.
Those statistics make the very lightly raced Addeybb a very notable contender. The Pivotal gelding has won three of his five career starts, including leading home a large field in the Silver Cambridgeshire on his final outing of last season (Afaak second, Fire Brigade third).
He is clearly progressive, however it must be noted that his two defeats came on his only two races on the soft.
One horse who certainly will not mind the underfoot conditions and any further rain is Mitchum Swagger.
The six-year-old is a well known mud lark and is pretty well handicapped. He changed hands for 75,000gns at the sales in November in a move to Ralph Beckett’s yard. You would like to think that Beckett will have him ready and raring to go after his seasonal break.
Martyn Meade is no stranger to readying one up for the start of the season and he is doubly represented here by Dolphin Vista and Chelsea Lad (nb).
Meade’s runners boast proven form in big-field handicaps, Dolphin Vista having landed the Cambridgeshire at odds of 50/1, while 16/1 stablemate Chelsea Lad finished fourth.
The latter named, who will be partnered by Oisin Murphy on Saturday, drew a blank in seven starts last season but was knocking on the door almost every time.
His last run, when second in the 1m4f November Handicap at Doncaster, was arguably a career-best, and Meade believes his breakthrough with the five-year-old is just around the corner.
Horses that are fresh from the all-weather always perform well in the Lincoln and that fact gives Mick Appleby's BIG COUNTRY (NAP) a big shout on Saturday.
Big Country took his 100 per cent record on the all-weather to three when running out the winner of Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton.
The five-year-old gelding is clearly in good heart and Silvestre De Sousa takes the ride.
888sport suggests: Big Country and Chelsea Lad (e/w).
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*