The Flat Is Back!

Features | 28th March 2023

Flat racing returns this weekend with Doncaster’s traditional turf season curtain raiser taking the centre stage

Flat Is Back

It might come on April Fools’ Day but there’ll be no joking around in Saturday’s feature races. The Pertemps Network Lincoln is the first big handicap of the season. 

The historic mile contest, as the name suggests, was run at Lincoln racecourse for more than a hundred years before its closure in 1964. The race switched to Doncaster the following year and it is always hugely competitive. This year it has attracted its usual mix of unexposed improvers, in-form all-weather winners and seasoned handicappers. 

There’s a high demand for a spot in the starting line-up, so the Pertemps Network Spring Mile serves as a consolation race for horses that don’t make the Lincoln cut.

Early Prizes

The meeting kicks off with the first turf race of the season for two-year-olds. Despite taking place so early in the calendar, the Pertemps Network EBF Brocklesby Stakes has been won by some smart youngsters in recent years. 

Persian Force landed the prize 12 months ago before going on to win the Group 2 July Stakes later in the summer. The previous year’s winner, Chipotle, subsequently landed the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and the 2016 hero The Last Lion later won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. 

There are also two Listed races on the card. The Pertemps Cammidge Trophy has attracted a decent field of Sprinters, including last year’s Sandy Lane Stakes hero El Caballo, while unbeaten Poker Face and dual Group 2 winner Lusail are among the entries for the Doncaster Mile. 

There’s also a decent Flat card on Kempton’s all-weather. The ten-furlong Listed Racing TV Magnolia Stakes is complemented by the Racing TV Queen’s Prize Handicap over two miles. Last year’s winner Bandinelli, trained by Charlie Appleby, is among the entries for the staying contest.

Family Fun DAy

The Best Of The Rest

There are also jumps meetings at Stratford and Uttoxeter on Saturday, as well as an all-weather evening fixture at Chelmsford. The following day there’s a super Sunday in store for racing fans. Doncaster’s opening Flat fixture continues with some competitive handicaps and there’s an excellent jumps card at Ascot. 

There really is something for everyone this weekend with excellent Flat, all-weather and jumps racing. It’s another sign spring has finally arrived, with so much to look forward to in both racing codes in the coming weeks.