Perfect weather brought the crowds to Sunday’s meeting at Market Rasen, but it was the third race that brought a golden smile to the face of local trainer Michael Chapman.
Local interest came in the Double M Sandwich Bar Novices Handicap Chase.
Tayarat and Xenophon were brought across the Willingham Road on the short journey from Chapman’s Woodlands yard.
It proved well worth it as the nine-year-old Tayarat (8/1) showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heals, that is all bar his stable companion Xenophon, sent off at 9/2, who chased him home in second place.
Tayarat,part owned by Chapman’s wife Mary, won over course and distance last month and had produced a solid third at the course just 10 days ago.
Xenophon, a six-year-old has a poor strike rate with only two wins from 40 races under rules. Statistics don’t lie but his form has been much better of late and he had been placed in his last four starts.
From two fences out the local duo were well clear of the rest but Joe Cornwall had the edge in the run in on the older horse.
Chapman’s stable has had quite a turnaround lately, which the veteran trainer, who started out in 1972, attributes to the fresh grass of spring as well as the warmer weather.
“These two are both summer horses and I am a great believer in them staying outdoors. They don’t respond to being indoors so long in winter, “ he said.
And he had a precious memory to share on the subject: “I once spoke to the Queen Mother at Ascot and told her how I liked the horses to get out and about and she nodded her agreement.”
Chapman plans to take Tayarat to Cartmel this Saturday and find another race over this weekend for Xenophon.
“The handicapper will put Tayarat up in the weights though after this win,” he added.
There was plenty of interest away from the local stable in the rest of the card.
Market Rasen is a rugby town and Rolling Maul (7/4f) was the obvious fancy in the opening maiden hurdle. Trained in Pembrokeshire by Market Rasen specialist Peter Bowen, the six-year-old had won several bumpers in 2013 and his win here may give him a bright future over the smaller obstacles.
Bowen said: “He ran very well and I think he was helped by a visor this time.”
A Little Bit Dusty (13/2) took the second race, the Ken Slater Memorial Handicap Chase. With Tom O’Brien on board this is another who has scored well on the flat and then went hurdling. With this success he should find success over fences too.
The Class 3 Handicap Hurdle saw an impressive win from Enchanted Garden (3/1) who had Brian Hughes on board for Malton trainer Malcolm Jefferson. Hughes was looking back to see if he had any rivals after the last. They were well distant.
The six-year-old had scored impressively here in January and he clearly responds on the track as this was a bigger win than on that winter day.
The feature chase of the afternoon was the fifth race, the £15,000 Daniel Noble Birthday Handicap Chase. From the final bend there was only one winner. 19 times champion jockey AP McCoy had held up Vulcanite (11/8f) on the first circuit but coming down the hill into the straight he made his move and eased him through to an easy win, despite jumping left at the final fence.
Vulcanite is trained at Chipping Norton by Charlie Longsdon and McCoy was in the famous silks of owner J.P. McManus.
McCoy had to pull up Ballylifen in the next where Book’Em Danno (4/1) showed again how much he loves the track for his fourth win here and a double on the day for trainer Bowen and jockey Jamie Moore.
The bumper at the end of the card was won by the odds on favourite Altoir from the yard of top trainer Nicky Henderson.
The afternoon’s racing was given the title Newcomers Day and there were visits to the weighing room and to the start for racegoers to enjoy with fascinating explanations along the way by former jockey Robert Bellamy.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Friday June 6.