Cold weather but hot racing in Rasen

Phoenix Des Mottes (right)  takes a fence in fine style on his way to winning  the third race, a handicap chase on Sunday's card at Market Rasen. EMN-140324-091448001
Phoenix Des Mottes (right) takes a fence in fine style on his way to winning the third race, a handicap chase on Sunday's card at Market Rasen. EMN-140324-091448001
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There was a thin crowd on a bitterly cold afternoon at Sunday’s meeting at Market Rasen, but there were some large and competitive fields.

In the opening Class 5 Maiden Hurdle there was some local interest in Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings’ Jac the Legend, and though he finished fourth, he needed binoculars to see the winner, the odds on favourite Vinstar.

AP McCoy was on board and the win took him further past the 200 mark for the season that he reached last week. In form trainer Donald McCain’s former dual bumper winner is progressing nicely over hurdles.

Jockeys reported the going was ‘good all over’ after the first race and it certainly suited Jack Albert (11/2) who had Brian Harding on board in the second race, a handicap hurdle.

The winner led all the way to follow up his December effort at Musselbugh. Michael Chapman saddled Galley Slave and he ran on well for third.

“He stays for ever and generally comes right in the Spring. The firmer the ground the better and I shall take him to Cartmel, he has won there before,”said Chapman.

The third race was the first chase of the afternoon and Phoenix Des Mottes (11/1) had Joe Cornwall to thank for some impressive riding to win the Class 5 handicap over three miles.

The bottom weight won by an impressive eight lengths. He took advantage of a tumbling mark at Southwell in December but has pulled up twice since. Cornwall took another 5lbs off his back, but there will be a price to pay with the handicapper soon.

Emerald Rose the top weight in the Mares Handicap that followed had not been seen on a racecourse since last November, but she has run well fresh before. So it proved here in the Mares Handicap Hurdle. Dewala led for most of the trip but when the 11/8 favourite pounced at the last flight the latter had no real response and could only salvage second place. Sam Twiston-Davies was on board the winner who was six lengths clear at the winning post.

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The fifth race was the Red Tomb Raider II Slot Novices Handicap Chase and it saw 7/1 shot Smart Catch provide a win for trainer Tony Carroll and jockey Lee Edwards.

The horse has disappointed over heavy ground and shorter trips than the three miles on offer here. In that light his first win over fences was promising enough here on better ground and over the longer journey.

The sixth and final race was the 32Red Poker,com Handicap Chase. BookEm Danno (4/1) won this by an impressive eight lengths with jockey Jamie Moore on board for South Wales trainer Peter Bowen, who has a mightily impressive record at the track.

The eight-year-old is a bumper and dual hurdle winner at the course but this was his first win over the bigger obstacles. Bowen’s horses love the faster ground and we may here more of this one in the summer’s big meetings here. Tony McCoy was on board the 5/4 favourite Spoil Me, but could only manage third

In the bumper at the end of the card Gollings had booked McCoy for the ride on The Grey Taylor. Only one and a half lengths saw him distant from It’s a Sting the 10-1 shot ridden by Dougie Costello.

I suppose one winner on an afternoon is a bit of a lean afternoon for the 18 times champion jockey, but he did ride his 200th winner of the 2013-14 season and that was after being spotted hobbling through the entrance, perhaps still recovering from Cheltenham.