The Lincolnshire flag flew over the grandstand and it was certainly ‘Lincolnshire Day’ at Market Rasen on Sunday.
Brigg trainer Nick Kent led the celebrations with his Scawby owner Victoria Cottingham, as Ivans Back won the second race of the afternoon, the 32RedSport.com Handicap Hurdle.
Jockey Adam Wedge timed his run perfectly, getting him to the front two out, and though Dontupsettherythem set chase on the run in, Ivans Back held on, the 15/2 shot coming home to rapturous applause. It has been a far from easy winter for Kent in his Newstead Yard after a bug struck back end, but this was a giant step forward.
He said: “I’ve not had many runners since November but through the time after the bug struck, my owners have been fantastically supportive, they have really stuck by me.
“Adam gave him a brilliant ride and the ground was just right for him. He’s been off since Boxing Day but he will get less rest now, that’s for sure. He will go chasing and I know he jumps well as he has been successful point to pointing.”
The opening Maiden Hurdle had only three runners, but there was a bit of an upset as the 11/10 favourite Black Jack Rover got beat by the 5/2 shot Forever Field, who had Peter Carbery aboard.
The third race was another Lincolnshire success, this time from the south of the county as Grantham trainer Chris Bealby saddled the Irish Bred Sir Lynx (9/2), who had Tom Messenger up.
Grimsby Town FC director Michael Chapman brought the ‘The Society Man’ over from his Woodlands stables less than a mile away. The eight-year-old ran a decent race but did not make the frame.
Sir Lynx jumped well and proved too brave for his rivals. The winner has had five months off recently but won a chase at Southwell last Spring. That was his only win in 26 starts, but he is back in at a decent mark now and may be able to progress again.
Beilby was pleased, not least because it was his birthday: “It’s the perfect way to celebrate. We have always known he stays three-miles and this proved it,” he said.
“The good ground suited him and Tom said he was always travelling well. Hopefully in three weeks we can find another race for him. I don’t think the handicapper will be two hard on him.”
The fourth race was won by Quiet Candid (5/1), who had Jeremiah McGrath on board. He had run well in his first two starts over hurdles but this was his best effort yet and he clearly likes the ‘good’ ground.
One of the most popular wins of the day came from Mr Wiseman (10/3), who has won six races at this course in his long career. The multiple chase winner had not been in much form in his previous two races.
Now 13 years of age, the grey veteran, trained by Nigel Hawke at Tiverton in Devon, jumped superbly in the 32Red Class 4 Handicap Chase, the £6,000 feature race of the afternoon and clearly benefitted from being on a better mark again.
Hawke felt his long journey had been worthwhile, just as on so many days at Market Rasen.
“I have had him in my yard a long time now and its all been great fun. I think you will see some more of me this summer hopefully, Market Rasen does such a great job with summer racing.”
Three key dates on the summer calendar are Friday June 5 for a revamped Ladies Day, Saturday July 18 for Summer Plate day and Saturday August 15 when the great Welsh singing legend Tom Jones follows the evening racing.
Before that though there is the Easter Monday meeting in two weeks time.