The Chester Cup is staged at Chester, the Aintree Hurdle at Aintree, the Galway Plate at Galway and the Lincoln Handicap at … Doncaster?!
the first big Flat-race of the year to be run on turf, the Lincoln heralds the
start of the Summer season. It is a time when we look forward to sunny days
spent by the Parade Ring, short sleeves and cool glasses of Champagne; which
probably explains why this year’s Lincoln meeting is currently under threat of
cancellation due to snow.
the race does go ahead, you might be relieved to know that I haven’t a clue
what will win – so I won’t be burdening you with one of my tips. I’ll be
following the jump racing at Bangor, where I hope Call Back will find some
decent ground and win for the first time since Cartmel last May.
the Lincoln is abandoned, we can always re-enact it indoors. If you happen to
possess a set of the old board game Totopoly (being a bit sad, I can’t resist
collecting them and have at least five versions at home), you might recognise
the names of the twelve horses in the game as the Lincoln winners of 1926 –
1937. My personal favourite is “Marmajuke Jinks”.
first edition of Totopoly was released in 1938, twenty-seven years before
Lincoln Racecourse closed down and the mile-handicap moved to South Yorkshire.
The old grandstand at Lincoln stands in front of an ancient patch of
common-land on the edge of the city, known as the Carholme, where the races
used to take place. As if to emphasise the pace at which life has moved on
since the course’s demise, the A57 now separates the grandstand from the track,
creating an unusual and rather splendid folly by the side of the main road. The
space under the viewing steps is used as a community centre, so there’s a
decent cup of tea on offer if you’re passing at the right time of day.
trip to the Carholme offers a salutary lesson to any racecourse manager – keep
bringing in the crowds or you might find yourself sitting alongside the traffic
while your horses run for Monopoly money around a piece of cardboard. It’s not
the reason that we’ve decided to put on record levels of prize money at Cartmel
this year, but it all helps.
next year we’ll move some races from other tracks to Cumbria – I quite like the
sound of the Cartmel-Cheltenham Gold Cup. What do you think?