Where, and what is the Carholme?

The Carholme, or West Common, is a large area of common land to the west of the city centre of Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire, in the East Midlands of England. Nowadays, West Common, which is designated as an area of critical asset and nature conservation importance, constitutes 100 hectares or so of the Witham Valley Country Park. However, from a horse racing perspective, the Carholme was the site of Lincoln Racecourse which, between 1853 and 1964, played host to the race that would become the Lincoln Handicap.

Lincoln Racecourse moved to the Carholme in the late eighteenth century and was improved, including the addition of the first grandstand, at the cost of £7,000 to Lincoln Corporation, in 1826. In 1897, a new grandstand – parts of which, albeit disused, still stand – was built in brick, stone and cast iron to replace the earlier structure. Lincoln Racecourse served as an airfield during World War I, but the popularity of racing at the course suffered a steady decline throughout the twentieth century. Finally, in 1964, the Horse Race Betting Levy Board announced that it was withdrawing its subsidy for Lincoln Racecourse, thereby forcing its closure.

Has any jockey ever won the Lincoln and the Grand National?

The Lincoln Handicap, run over a mile at Doncaster, traditionally marks the start of the Flat season ‘proper’ in Britain and is usually staged a week or two before the Grand National. Collectively, the two races constitute what is known as the ‘Spring Double’ but, granted the distinct demands of the disciplines in which they take place – not least the weights carried by the horses – few jockeys have ridden in, never mind won, both.

Remarkably, the one and only jockey to win both races was David Dick, who is probably best remembered as the jockey of E.S.B., the horse that profited from the inexplicable fall of Devon Loch, just yards from the winning post, in the Grand National in 1956. By that stage of his career, Dick stood 6’ tall and was, at least in theory, too big to a jockey of any description. Nevertheless, as a lithe 17-year-old, in 1941, Dick had also ridden Gloaming to win the Lincolnshire Handicap at Lincoln, which subsequently became the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster.