Billed as the feature race on the first Saturday of the new British flat racing turf season, the Unibet-sponsored Lincoln Handicap is run over a distance of 1m at Doncaster racecourse.
In recent years the race has been dominated by horses aged 4 years-old, winning 10 of the last 17 renewals, while with three wins in the last 13 runnings trainer William Haggas is the man to look out for.
Weight-carried has been a big trend in recent years with 16 of the last 17 winners carrying 9-4 or less, while 9 of the last 17 (53%) were officially rated between 95-100.
Despite, being a competitive handicap the favourites in the betting don’t have too bad a record either with 4 of the last 17 (24%) winning, but also note that 10 of the last 17 favourites were unplaced.
The 2021 Lincoln Handicap will be run on Saturday 27th March 2021
Unibet Lincoln Handicap Betting Trends
17/17 – Aged 6 or younger
16/17 – Carried 9-4 or less in weight
15/17 – Had won over at least 1m before
14/17 – Had won between 2-4 times before
13/17 – Drawn in stall 9 or higher
12/17 – Having their first run of the flat season
11/17 – Winning distance – 1 length or more
10/17 – Unplaced favourites
10/17 – Returned a double figure price in the betting
10/17 – Aged 4 years-old
9/17 – Officially rated between 95-100
9/17 – Placed first or second last time out
8/17 – Had raced at Doncaster before
7/17 – Raced at either Newmarket or Lingfield last time out
7/17 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
7/17 – Won last time out
5/17 – Placed horses from stall 12 (1 winner)
4/17 - Placed horses from stall 16 (1 winner)
4/17 – Winning favourites
3/17 – Trained by William Haggas
2/17 – Trained by Richard Fahey
2/17 – Trained by John Quinn
2/17 – Ridden by James Doyle (last 2)
9 of the last 10 winners carried between 9-0 and 9-4 in weight
Just 1 winner has carried 9-10 in the last 34 runnings
The average winning SP in the last 17 runnings is 13/1
Note: The 2006 renewal was run at Redcar and the 2007 running was staged at Newcastle
Lincoln Handicap Recent Winners
2020 - Cancelled (Covid)
2019 – AUXERRE (5/2 fav)
2018 – ADDEYBB (5/1)
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)
2007 – VERY WISE (9/1)
2006 – BLYTHE KNIGHT (22/1)
2005 – STREAM OF GOLD (5/1 fav)
2004 – BABODANA (20/1)
2003 - PABLO (5/1)
Note: The 2006 renewal was run at Redcar and the 2007 running was staged at Newcastle
Let’s look at some of the key trends……………………
Age Concern: In recent years, the bulk of Lincoln Handicap winners have been aged 6 or younger. You have to go back to 1998 (Hunters of Brora) to find the last horse to win aged 7 or older, while delving further into this stat - since 1965 with only seen two successful horses aged 7 or older! It’s actually the 4, 5 and 6 year-olds that have by far the best records, but if you want to target just one of those three age groups, it’s the 4 year-olds that have edged it with 7 wins in the last 12, including the last four renewals!
Weight Watchers: Being a handicap, then the weight carried is another thing to consider. With a whopping 16 of the last 17 (94%) winners carrying 9st-4lbs or less this trend is a must to have onside. While, in more recent times, 9 of the last 10 winners won carrying between 9st and 9st-4lbs on their backs, including last year’s winner – Auxerre (9st 2lbs). That’s a small weight window that will certainly help put a line through a lot of the runners. It might also pay to note that in the last 22 runnings (since 1998) we’ve only had one winning horse carry less than 8st-9lbs!
Trip Advisor: With the race being run over 1m and the majority of runners having tried this trip in the past, then most will get a plus on the stat that’s seen 15 of the last 17 winners being previous winners over a mile – but it’s still worth noting. What it does tell us, however, is that horses stepping up from 6f or 7f, with no previous winning form over 1m+, haven’t fared well.
Recent Form: Coming into the race off the back of a decent recent run is another thing to look for. 9 of the last 17 (53%) winners finished first or second in their last race, with 7 of the last 17 (41%) coming here off the back of a victory. If we add in that 14 of the last 17 winners have won between 2-4 times previously in their careers, then this is another stat that should help to whittle down the big field. Finally, don’t be too concerned if your fancy is having its first run for a while as 12 of the last 17 winners won this on their seasonal reappearances.
Course Knowledge: Having previous course form at Doncaster has been another thing to look for in recent years with 8 of the last 17 winners having raced on Town Moor before. Also pay closer attention to horses that ran at either Lingfield or Newmarket last time out – 7 of the last 17 winners did just that!
Draw Bias: With normally around 20+ runners, then the draw is worth considering too. With a huge 13 of the last 17 (76%) winners coming from stalls 9 or higher this has been a solid stat that was again backed-up 12 months ago when the Charlie Appleby-trained Auxerre won from stall 17. Hopefully, this trend can instantly put a line through 8 runners! Also look for the horses drawn between 12 and 16 - in the last 17 years we’ve seen 9 placed.
Market Leaders: Considering the competitive nature of the Lincoln Handicap, it’s actually been fairly kind to punters recently. We’ve seen 4 of the last 17 favourites win (24%), while for the last two years we’ve also seen the ‘top two’ in the betting finish first and second. Having said that, the average winning SP in the last 16 years is still around 13/1, while even though the market leaders have a good record, we’ve also seen 10 of the last 17 jollies finish unplaced – suggesting the favourites tend to either win, or finish out of the frame.
Trainer Watch: With only four different stables having won 9 of the last 17 runnings between them then it would be foolish to overlook the trainers that like to target this prize. Those stables are William Haggas (3), John Quinn (2), Mark Tompkins (now retired) (2) and Richard Fahey (2). Therefore, it goes without saying anything they have entered should be respected (we can check nearer the time), plus it’s worth pointing out that Haggas, who won the race in 2018, also landed the prize in 1992, so he’s actually got four wins in this race under his belt.
TQ VERDICT: The previous race will give us a few pointers regrading the draw, so do take note of that. In recent years though horses from stalls 12 and 16 have a decent record of being placed (1 win each too) – with that in mind Grove Ferry (12) and Ouzo (16) might be worth noting in the betting. All of the last 17 winners were aged 6 or younger, so that might be seen as a negative for the older horses in the race – the last horse aged older than 6 to win the Lincoln was in 1998. The horses aged 7+ in the race are - Librisa Breeze, Born To Be Alive, Kynren, Graphite and Scottish Summit. It’s another race the Richard Fahey yard like to target too – they won the race in 2012 and 2015 recently – but they don’t have a runner this year! In the last 3 or 4 seasons we’ve also seen a bit of an influx of the slightly bigger yards running horses here and that’s backed up with the Charlie Appleby yard winning two of the last four – they run the 4 year-old, Eastern World here and after a smooth success over at Meydan last month, looks a decent prospect for the Godolphin team and could easily be better than a handicapper. But the only niggle is that he ran here over 7f last September and was a beaten favourite. Yes, he’s been gelded since and that’s clearly worked after that recent win in Dubai, but he was smashed 13 lengths in that Donny race in Sept by the Gosden runner – HAQEEGY. This 4 year-old is up 8lbs for that win, but it’s interesting that connections are offsetting much of that with Beniot De La Sayette’s 7lb claim. Draw 10 looks okay as this will give him options to go higher or lower, and even though he’s got a small bit to prove over the trip he’s another that’s been gelded since his last run and that might just eke out a bit more improvement – Gosden won this in 2009. The smooth travelling Brentford Hope can’t be ruled out either, but might have liked softer ground, while River Nymph, Brunch, Ascension and Danyah are others to note. But with 9 of the last 10 winners carrying between 9st and 9st4lbs the other of interest is the Charlie Fellowes-trained KING OTTOKAR (e/w). This 5 year-old hasn’t quite progressed as Charlie had liked, but he’s slipping down the handicap still and has threatened to win one of these big handicaps. He’s run well at the track before too and we know he stays further (has won over 1m2f). Any rain would be a help, but he’s run okay on quicker ground in the past too. The first-time cheekpieces are also an interesting addition.