There was a healthy crowd for Rasen’s Bank Holiday meet, and though fields at the end of the hunt season were small, there was plenty of interest.
The season officially ends this weekend and top jockey Tom Scudamore arrived at Rasen with 98 winners to his name over the past 12 months. His target was 100, a milestone for the jockey without a century of winners before and his two wins on the afternoon saw him over the line with five days to spare.
Scudamore took the first race, the ‘Garnett’s Sweets Novices’ Hurdle’ on board Western Diva (5/2) trained by David Pipe at Wellington in Somerset. Odds on favourite Kelvingrove, trained by Jonjo O’ Neill at his in form Cheltenham yard, was well beaten by the last flight.
Scudamore passed the 100 winner mark to good applause when he steered the nine-year-old Gifted Leader (9/2) to success in the feature hurdle of the afternoon, the fifth race, a £12,500 handicap over 2 miles and 1 furlong. The winner is trained by Ian Williams at Alvechurch.
The feature chase was the £12,000 ‘Watch Racing UK Sky Channel Novices Chase.’ Here Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan saddled the seven-year-old Explained who was sent off at 9/2. Most local fancies were for the favourite Walkabout Creek who Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings brought across the Wolds. He started the 5/2 favourite in a competitive field but finished out the frame. Explained, with Michael Byne in the saddle, got up to win by 3/4 length in a race.
The second race was an all mares handicap hurdle. Sue Smith has a decent record at the track where husband Harvey of show jumping fame has been a familiar face. Rattlin was a ready winner at Wetherby in early December and a decent second on Boxing Day but had gone backwards since the turn of the year. With Daragh Burke on board she bounced back here and was well priced at 3/1. She got up by 1/2 a length from Woodland Walk the 9/4 favourite who had Scudamore on board.
The third race was the Keith Sharp Memorial Handicap Chase where only four ran. The longest race of the afternoon over 3 miles and 1 furlong saw Roc de Guye (10/3) continue his cracking strike rate. This was his first try over the distance and clearly staying is his business, though he will need to show similar desire in bigger fields to really prove his worth. A win over the fancied 6/5 favourite Keltic Rhythm by 13 lengths was impressive enough though.
The Irish bred Wessex King (10/3) claimed the sixth race with Jake Greenall up. The 10-year-old was third last meeting here to Michael Chapman’s Tayarat and a re-run was on the cards before the Market Rasen trainer’s horse was declared a non runner.
Racecourse Chairman Colin Booth was delighted to have Easter Monday racing back. He said: “It used to be a traditional fixture in the past and then we lost the date in the calendar. We had Easter Monday racing in 2012 but then we lost it again in 2013.
“We used to get 10,000 crowds in the old days but although we don’t get that now, it is certainly a good day for people to go racing.”
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Friday May 9.