Why is the Lincoln Handicap so called?
Since 1965, the Lincoln Handicap, which traditionally marks the start of the Flat season ‘proper’ in late March or early April, has been run over the straight mile on Turf Moor, Doncaster. However, the race was inaugurated, as the Lincoln Spring Handicap Stakes – later renamed the Lincolnshire Handicap – at Lincoln Racecourse, on the Carholme, on the western edge of the city of Lincoln, in 1853.
Aside from interruptions for World War I and World War II, the Lincolnshire Handicap continued at Lincoln Racecourse for over a century. Indeed, in its heyday during the inter-war period, the Lincolnshire Handicap dominated the horse racing press for weeks on end and, along with the Grand National, formed the traditional ‘Spring Double’. Remarkably, the 1948 renewal of the Lincolnshire Handicap drew a field of 58 runners, which was a record under Jockey Club rules.
Nevertheless, in 1964, the Horse Race Betting Levy Board announced that it was withdrawing financial support for Lincoln Racecourse, thereby forcing its closure. The Lincolnshire Handicap, renamed the Lincoln Handicap, was transferred permanently to Doncaster Racecourse, some 40 miles away; in 2006 and 2007, the Lincoln Handicap was staged at Redcar and Newcastle, respectively, while Doncaster was closed for redevelopment, but has otherwise been held at the Yorkshire venue every year since.