There was not a single mare in action at the Mother’s Day meeting at Market Rasen and it was a bitterly cold afternoon for those mums who did feature in the crowd.
The topical tip of the afternoon was ‘The Big Freeze’ who ran in the third race, but could only finish third.
Trainer Charlie Longsdon and jockey Noel Fahily did have the warm satisfaction of a double however. It began badly for the duo, when in the opener Spirit of Shankley failed to score despite being sent to post the 1-6 favourite. The-five year -ld could finish only second to Gee Hi in the TJS Van and Truck Rental National Hunt Novices Hurdle. Longsdon’s five-year-old was later reported to have bled through the nose during the race.
Gee Hi moved clear two flights out, extending his advantage to six lengths by the time the post arrived, proving yet again there is no such thing as a dead cert in racing.
Lucky Landing, trained by Tony Coyle, was sent off the 2/1 favourite in the second race, the Class 4 Double M Novices Hurdle. The seven-year-old had run a close second at Carlisle only three days previous, but seemed to be the better for that as he romped home six lengths clear under Brian Toomey. He will have a better race though in him than this, probably before this season is out.
Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddled Bowie (5-2) in this race and he was given a good ride by Harry Haynes, who got his mount to stay on well through the run in.
After their frustration in the opener, Longsdon and his jockey Fehily did not need to wait long for their winner as Little Chip (6/1) put some moderate form and some shakey jumping early in the race behind him to claim the Harry Hall Happy 80th Birthday Handicap Chase by three and a quarter lengths.
Another success for the Longsdon/Fahily duo came in the 4.50pm as they completed their double with Topaze Collonges (7/2) in the Double M Handicap Chase, holding of a late challenge from Oranger the 2-1 favourite.
Dominic Elsworth combined with top weight Sixty Something in the feature race, the £7,800 Calverts Carpets York Handicap Hurdle. After injecting some pace into the race with a lap to go, Paul Webber’s grey (13/2) looked well in control but idled in front as the post approached. He just about had enough to see off Crowning Jewel by a length.
Another odds on favourite to get beat came in the Delaney’s Golden Birthday Bash Novices’ Handicap Chase as 4/7 shot Cara Court jumped poorly. Ohms Law (12/1) was the one to take maximum advantage and provide a first win for Hinckley trainer Anthony Day under Rules.
There was a much improved run here for Xenophon, trained by Michael Chapman across the road at his Woodlands yard. Xenophon was a fair juvenile hurdler but was switched to fences by Chapman. His form over the largest obstacles has been far from convincing but this was a better effort from the 33-1 shot under 10lb claiming jockey Gerrard Galligan. The distance was only one length between first and second, though only five went to post for a modest race.
Wily Fox (4-1 favourite) won the final race on the card, the TJS Self Drive Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, to see off a challenge after the last from O’Malley’s Oscar.
Xenophon (right) trained by Market Rasen trainer Michael Chapman, clears a fence in style with jockey Gerrard Galligan in the Delaney’s Golden Birthday Bash Novices’ Handicap Chase before finishing second.