Jimmy Quinn still thankful for Lincoln springboard on High Low

Evergreen jockey is twice a winner in Doncaster’s famous handicap.

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Jimmy Quinn owes a lot to the Lincoln Handicap, because it gave him his first big-race win after he came out of the apprentice ranks.

Victory on High Low for Skipton-born, Newmarket-based trainer William Haggas sent the then 24-year-old on his way to a long career – which is still going strong.

The lightweight jockey, who is still gracing the weighing-room at the age of 52, can also boast a second victory in the cavalry charge over the straight mile at Doncaster with Smokey Oakey.

“On one I made all, on the other I came from last,” said Quinn.

“It’s a great start to the season. It can give you a kick-start, because it’s the highlight of the meeting that gets the Flat going.

“It boosted my career when I won on High Low. I was out of my claim the season before, and it helped me quite a lot winning on him.”

High Low won with a rating of 75, off which a horse would have no chance of getting in the historic handicap nowadays.

Quinn knew the horse had plenty of ability, though.

“You can’t get in with that rating any more – it’s so tight, and the weights are so compressed now,” he said.

“His work at home was unbelievable in the mornings. He had some stride on him. He seemed to do his best work from the front end. He had a bit of an issue with the stalls, and used to go in last.

“He was such a good work horse. He showed so much at home, he probably overdid it a little bit, but he was very good.

“He raced on for some time, went jumping until he was 12. He was one of my favourites.”

Quinn had to wait 16 years to win the Town Moor feature again, when he brought Smokey Oakey from the back of the field to land the prize for another Yorkshire-born Newmarket trainer – Mark Tompkins, from Sheffield.

“I’d won on him the year before on very soft ground,” said Quinn.

“Then I had a fall and hurt my back, and Paul Mulrennan won on him on heavy ground at Ayr.

“Mark said he would train him for the Lincoln, and if it comes up soft ground it’s as though he grows another leg.

“The majority of the field came on the outside. I stayed on the rail and then cut across and probably arrived there too soon. He liked to get there in the last half-furlong.

“Mark also had the third (Babodana) that day, and he had some proper handicappers.”

Quinn knew he was associated with another classy performer when conditions were in his favour.

Smokey Oakey, co-owned by actress Dame Judi Dench, proved the point by winning the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown two months later.

“After Smokey Oakey won the Lincoln, he flopped on firm ground, but then I won the Brigadier Gerard on him,” he said.

“Over the years, the Lincoln has improved. You can’t go there with an average animal now.”

Jimmy Quinn still thankful for Lincoln springboard on High Low
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