Lincoln Handicap

The Lincoln Handicap is the first big betting race of the new flat racing turf season in Great Britian.

It is over a straight mile and traditionally heralds the start of the flat. It is also the first leg of the bookmakers’ Spring Double, completed by the Aintree Grand National.

The race is famous for ante-post gambles, although there has only been one successful favourite in the past ten seasons.

Find out more about the Lincoln Handicap:

Lincoln Handicap

The Lincoln Handicap – Race Overview

The Lincoln Handicap takes place at Doncaster Racecourse in late March or early April and is open to horses aged 4 and over.

The going is usually soft for the opening flat season meeting so that is a consideration when assessing the early entries.

There is always much debate over the best draw but recent history suggests that high numbers hold sway.

Famous Lincoln Handicap Winners & History

The original Lincolnshire Handicap was first run at Lincoln in August 1849 over two miles.

The Lincoln Spring Handicap was introduced in March 1853 with the trip shortened to a mile two years’ later. It adopted the Lincolnshire Handicap title in 1860 and was transferred to Doncaster in 1965 when Lincoln Racecourse was permanently closed.

The renamed Lincoln Handicap gradually became established at the opening Spring meeting to become one of the most prestigious mile handicaps of the season. Ob (1906, 1907) became the first horse to win the Lincoln Spring Handicap twice with only Babur (1957, 1958) able to match his achievement.

The most famous gamble in the race took place on Frankincense in 1968. Barry Hills was travelling head lad to John Oxley and was part of a stable gamble from 66-1 down to 5-1 favourite. The horse eased out to 100-8 on the day but Hills was able to launch his own training career on the proceeds. He would train Pablo, a well-backed 5-1 chance, to win the race with son Michael aboard in 2003.

Frankincense carried 9st 5lbs to victory and the record winning weight in this big race is 9st 10lbs, defied by Cataldi (1985) and Babodana (2004).

Horses that carry more than 9 stone to victory in the Lincoln often go on to make their mark in listed or Group race company (read more in our type of horse races guide).

The classiest winner in Lincoln history was undoubtedly Addeybb in 2018, trained by William Haggas and ridden by James Doyle.

He won the Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2020 and travelled to Australia to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2020 and 2021.

Betting on the Lincoln Handicap

There is a very busy ante-post market for the Lincoln Handicap as soon as the weights are announced.

The recent trend has been for improving four-year-olds who were not fully exposed at three.

There is quite extensive media coverage ahead of the flat season these days and stables like William Haggas, John and Thady Gosden and Charlie Appleby often have one set aside for this race.

2021 Review

Under the guidance of apprentice Benoit De La Sayette, Haqeeqy cruised to victory.

For much of the distance, the youngster, who claims 7lb, had to sit and wait in behind horses, but he never panicked, and once clear, the colt flew ahead of all the other horses.

The winner, who was sent off at 9-2, finished a length and a half ahead of Brunch, Hortzadar (third), and Danyah (fourth).

Previous Winners

Here is a list of the previous winners from the Lincoln Handicap horse racing event:

  • 2010 Penitent
  • 2011 Sweet Lightning
  • 2012 Brae Hill
  • 2013 Levitate
  • 2014 Ocean Tempest
  • 2015 Gabrial
  • 2016 Secret Brief
  • 2017 Bravery
  • 2018 Addeybb
  • 2019 Auxerre
  • 2020 No Race
  • 2021 Haqeeqy

Lincoln Handicap Previous Winners

Key Lincoln Handicap Trials

With this event being the first turf race of the season for most of the participants, it is difficult to highlight any one trial.

The race certainly suits horses with experience in big handicaps such as the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket Racecourse but there have also been winners who ran previously in Dubai.

Those with fewer than four handicap victories tend to do best, being less exposed than most of their rivals. Addeybb had won the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on only his fifth career start and easily shrugged off a 6lbs weights rise at Doncaster racecourse. Haqeeqy had a similar profile, having also won a competitive handicap on his fifth career start.

Lincoln Handicap Betting Trends

As you would expect for a race of this nature, favourites have a modest record.

Expresso Star (2009) and Penitent (2010) were both winning favourites but it was not until Auxerre (2019) that the next market leader obliged. The intervening years yielded a run of long-priced winners including Brae Hill (2012) at 25-1 and Levitate (2013), Ocean Tempest (2014) and Bravery (2017) at 20-1.

Looking further back, the history of the Unibet Lincoln is littered with winning outsiders.

Bronze Hill won at 50-1 in 1973 and Zucchero (2002) was the most recent of several successful 33-1 shots. Punters do seem to have stemmed the flow of shocks in recent years with Addeybb (2018), Auxerre (2019) and Haqeeqy (2021) all being well supported.

Lincoln Handicap Stats

In modern times, only Star Of A Gunner (1987) and Hunters Of Brora (1988) have won the Lincoln over the age of six.

The recent trend has certainly been towards four-year-olds, winning five consecutive times from 2016 to 2021.

There is also a trend towards horses carrying 8 stone 12lbs or more with only Levitate (2013) failing to meet these criteria since 2009.

Almost all recent winners had previously been successful over a mile or further.

Perhaps the most significant stat is that a high percentage of them had won between two and four times in their careers, leaving plenty of scope for improvement.

In terms of the draw, three-quarters of recent winners came from stalls 9 or higher. While this is not conclusive, it does suggest that a low draw should be treated with caution for your Lincoln bets.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

William Haggas equalled Jack Robinson’s record of training four Lincoln winners when Addeybb won in 2018. He had previously been successful with High Low (1992), Very Wise (2007) and Penitent (2010).

Richard Fahey saddled Brae Hill (2012) and Gabrial (2015) while Charlie Appleby has enjoyed recent success with Secret Brief (2016) and Auxerre (2019).

John Gosden trained Expresso Star (2009) and struck again with Haqeeqy in 2021, this in time in partnership with his son Thady.

Charlie Maidment is the only jockey in history to ride four Lincoln winners, his victories coming way back between 1868 and 1873.

In more recent times, Jimmy Fortune was successful on three occasions. Tony Hamilton rode both of Richard Fahey’s Lincoln winners and James Doyle enjoyed back-to-back successes aboard Addeybb (2018) and Auxerre (2019).

Trainer Statistics

William Haggas is in the lead with 3 winners, Very Wise (2007), Penitent (2010) and Addeybb (2018). Although trainers like John Quinn and David O’Meara are not far behind with 1/2 winners.

  • William Haggas 3
  • Richard Fahey 2
  • John Quinn 2
  • Charlie Appleby 2
  • David O’Meara 1
  • John Ryan 1
  • John Gosden 1
  • Michael Dods 1
  • Sir Michael Stoute 1
  • John & Thady Gosden 1

Jockey Statistics

Tony Hamilton and James Doyle are the leading jockeys in the Lincoln Handicap over the previous 20 renewals, having won the race twice each.

Brae Hill (2012) and Gabrial (2012) were both Tony Hamilton winners. Addeybb (2018) and Auxerre (2019) were the James Doyle winners.

  • Tony Hamilton 2
  • James Doyle 2
  • Daniel Tudhope 1
  • Joe Fanning 1
  • Adam Kirby 1
  • Benoit De La Sayette 1
  • Paul Hanagan 0
  • Tom Eaves 0
  • Jamie Spencer 0
  • Paul Mulrennan 0

Lincoln Handicap Odds

The odds for the Lincoln Handicap in 2022 have not yet been released.

The Lincoln Handicap Betting

The odds for the Lincoln can be currently found with the following betting sites, also check out our recommended best horseracing betting sites:

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

Summary of Lincoln Handicap

The Lincoln Handicap is a fiercely competitive mile handicap and one of the toughest races of the season to unravel.

Despite the likelihood of soft ground and uncertainty over the draw, punters have enjoyed recent success with Addeybb, Auxerre and Haqeeqy.

All three were heavily supported in the ante-post market.

Resources

As the Co-Founder of British Racecourses, I love the chance to share my enjoyment of racing with others. As a family, we have always loved the racing and went to Haydock races as kids, as often as we could. We are now lucky enough to own some fantastic racehorses who we will follow around the tracks and we have had some great wins. As part of British Racecourses, I enjoy visiting and reviewing the racecourses that we visit, all of which I think have something to offer and are brilliant in their own ways.