Wet Wet Wet may have been the star attraction on Saturday at Rasen, but despite some small fields, the racing was not overshadowed.
Feature race of the evening, the £10,000 Jane Clugston Challenge Cup Handicap Steeplechase, saw 8/1 shot Makethemostofnow under Paul Maloney just get up by 3/4 length over 15/8 favourite Pantxoa.
Back to winning ways when reverting to fences last season, the Evan Williams trained nine-year-old has often been held back by attitude and was typically so when last seen at Cartmel in May. Here though he jumped better than his rivals but had to work hard to beat the favourite on the run in.
Market Rasen trainer Michael Chapman seems to have a useful horse on his hands in The Society Man and he ran a big race over this course and distance last time.
Only five went to post in the Immingham Transport Novices Chase, but Joe Cornwall had the local horse well placed and challenging two out. He could not get the better of Ainsi Fideles (4/11f) though, who had 19 times champion jockey Tony McCoy up.
The four-year-old has a generous weight allowance and this completed a trio of wins for the David Pipe horse, who clearly has more to come. He showed his class here and gave his four rivals a lesson in jumping, barely touching a twig on the way round. The Society Man will have his day, he won over hurdles and looks likely to score over the bigger obstacles before long.
Admiral Hawke won the opening selling hurdle, the 13/8 favourite, trained by Brian Ellison and ridden by James Cowley, defeating his seven rivals by a massive 22 lengths. The horse probably needed the outing when pulled up at Uttoxeter last month.
Lucky Cody went to post in the second race as the 1/3 favourite and with McCoy on board punters looked elsewhere for a gamble. Labouring from three out, McCoy had long given up the chase on the favourite when the post arrived and the duo finished third.
The loud cheers from the packed stands told of the gamble made on 11/4 shot Alphabetical Order as he saw off his three rivals by eight lengths for a popular win, though probably not with the bookies.
On board the winner was young 7lb claiming jockey Alan Johns, who was all smiles in the winners enclosure: “It was pretty straightforward in the end.
“I beat McCoy on the run in at Newton Abbot and that was a real thrill. This was easy compared to that. This was just my third win over hurdles and its a great feeling.
“I just want to continue to improve and get more winners. I think the horse will improve his jumping and get more wins over hurdles. I am really pleased with him tonight though.”
Another outsider in 9/1 shot Tarvini won the Class 4 hurdle. He has shown poor form through this year, but is treated well in the handicap as a result. Having 10lb claimer Jack Savage on board also helped.
In the gathering gloom the final race, also a handicap hurdle, saw Lava Lamp give Vale of Glamorgan trainer Evan Williams his second win of the night.
He was another to benefit from a low mark and with a 7lb claimer on board in Conor Ring. He had to work hard to get up by a neck, but with McCoy on the 8/11 favourite Bathwick Man, it would have been another satisfying moment for a young jockey to see the champ off.
Rasen Rocks again with another music night on Saturday August 30.