Who is the only jockey to have won the ‘Spring Double’?
What used to be widely known as the bookmakers’ ‘Spring Double’ involves coupling the winner of the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster with the winner of the Grand National at Aintree. Obviously, both races still exist but, in the heyday of ante-post betting, many column inches were devoted to landing the ‘Spring Double’ and, thereby, the potentially astronomical odds on offer.
Of course, the Lincoln Handicap and the Grand National are vastly different races, run under different codes, so for any jockey to win both during his/her career is a distinctly tall order. Nevertheless, David Victor ‘Dave’ Dick – not to be confused with his father, David Purves Dick, also a National Hunt jockey and, later, a trainer – did so.
Remarkably, for a man who would eventually stand 6′ feet tall, Dave Dick partnered outsider Gloaming to a four-length victory in the 1941 Lincolnshire Handicap, in the days when it was still run at Lincoln Racecourse, before his burgeoning weight put paid to his career as a Flat jockey. As a National Hunt jockey, Dick went on to complete the Grand National Course a record nine times, but won the National just once, under extraordinary circumstances, in 1956.
Dick and his mount, E.S.B., trained by Fred Rimmell, were the principal beneficaries when Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, inexplicably collapsed, just yards from the winning post, with the race at his mercy. Dick confessed to being a ‘very lucky’ winner, but nonetheless won the second leg of a long-range ‘Spring Double’, 15 years after winning the first leg.