Redcar creates racing history by hosting the traditional first big race of the British Flat season on turf, when the £100,000 William Hill Lincoln Heritage Handicap heads a quality programme this Saturday as the U.K's 2006 campaign on the Flat bursts into life.
It's the first time for over 40 years this famous Heritage Handicap over the straight mile has not been held at Doncaster, as in 1965, the race was transferred from the now-defunct Lincoln racecourse to the South Yorkshire venue. Doncaster is undergoing major redevelopment and is due to re-open for racing in the summer of next year. The race's origins can be traced back to the mid 19th Century on the Carholme at Lincoln, and there should be a maximum turnout of 30 runners for this year's renewal.
Last season's champion trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, who sent out Stream Of Gold to win last year's ‘Lincoln' - his first success in the race - will be hoping to emulate the feat with King's Majesty, the four-year-old vying for favouritism with Cesare, trained by fellow Newmarket trainer, James Fanshawe. The winner of two year's ago, Babodana, is around 20/1 with the race sponsors, while Gentleman's Deal, Kamanda Laugh and Dansili Dancer are also prominent in the ante-post betting market.
Racing on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 2-05 p.m. with The William Hill Spring Mile, a £25,000 Handicap race also over the straight mile for those horses entered for but eliminated from the big race.
The other feature races on Saturday, all sponsored by The William Hill Organization, include the Cammidge Trophy, a £30,000 Listed race for sprinters over six furlongs and the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes, a contest for precocious two-year-olds, the traditional pipe-opener for juveniles on turf.
Last year's winner of the Cammidge Trophy, La Cucaracha, went on to be one of the best sprinters in Europe last year, winning the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August for Yorkshire owner-breeder, Guy Reed.
A giant screen, situated opposite the main stands will enable racegoers to follow all of the action; there's a selection of children's entertainments in the Course Enclosure, while musical entertainment is provided by a couple of bands.