A big personal milestone on the biggest day of the year at Market Rasen Racecourse, was celebrated by the sport’s most famous name.
Tony McCoy started the afternoon just one winner away from beating trainer Martin Pipe’s record of 4,191 winners. A personal milestone maybe, but a truly significant one.
In the Betfair Summer Plate, which carries the biggest prize nationally in summer jumping, McCoy finally got one up over his former boss and great friend. One was a trainer, the other is a rider, but McCoy had always seen Pipe’s target ahead and one well worth beating.
There was drama of a different kind before the start of racing with a power cut hitting part of Market Rasen in a huge storm, and power supply complications at the course as a result, meaning racing was delayed by over half an hour and McCoy’s mount in the first race was withdrawn.
In the feature Betfred Summer Plate McCoy teamed up with ‘It’s a Gimme’ (2/1f) to take the winner’s prize in the £50,000 contest. It made it four times in 13 years the champion jockey has won this race.
Wearing the famous green and gold hooped colours of J P McManus, McCoy brought through the Jonjo O’Neill trained seven-year-old two fences from home. Thereafter it was a typical ride from the champ that saw his mount get up from stable companion Lost Legend. It’s a Gimme is only a novice but McCoy had no doubts about his ability.
“He is a brave horse and I thought Jonjo did well to put me on the right horse. I thought he would win from two out,” said McCoy.
In the winner’s enclosure O’Neill paid tribute to McCoy: “It’s an immensely personal and individual record to break. Martin Pipe trained all those winners now Tony has ridden even more. He is also a fantastic ambassador for his sport, a top man for the game.”
After the heavens had opened and the start of the first race was delayed for 40 minutes, in improving conditions it was the appropriately named Come on Sunshine (4/1) with Richard Johnson on board who took the opening race, the Betfred Fun and Friendly Juvenile Hurdle.
The Brian Ellison trained three-year-old had opened his account at Hexham last month, but this was a tougher race and the horse responded.
Enchanted Gardens (11/4) had won both his two previous races at Market Rasen, with an eased down success in May being impressive. He saw off his rivals by 13 lengths in the second race here despite a blunder at the last flight of hurdles.
Trainer Malcolm Jefferson said: “He did very little wrong. We could have taken him to Beverley and run him on the flat. He likes better ground really and he likes Market Rasen. I see him as a dual purpose horse.”
‘Rumble of Thunder’ was the topical tip here and he finished a distant third.
The third race on the card was the Betfred Mobile Summer Hurdle, a Class 1 listed race and worth £35,000 prize money, the second biggest race of the afternoon.
Purple Bay (7/1) trained by John Ferguson had 7lb claiming jockey Mikey Ennis on board and the five-year-old won in some style.
“He jumped and travelled so well on what has been a fantastic afternoon. I have entered him in the Gallway Hurdle, the biggest race in Ireland, so we shall see,” said Ferguson.
The jockey described it as an amazing race in which to ride the winner.
“He was going so well two flights out and kept on to the line. It would be great to go to Gallway as my grandfather is Irish.”
McCoy added his 4,193rd winner when scoring on Parlour Games (11/11f) for Ferguson in the B.Eyre and Son Ltd Ford Novices Hurdle.
The 19 times champ was presented with 20kg of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese by the racecourse management in honour of his achievement on a fantastic afternoon of racing.