Champion jockey AP McCoy had gone off to Ireland to ride at Navan and celebrated his 4,000 winners there.
If that was a disappointment for local racegoers at Market Rasen on Sunday, there was joy for local connections for the winner of one of the afternoon’s big races.
Legendary Hop was bred at Market Rasen on land just off the A46 by builder Brian Duke, who had worked at the course in the 1960s and also built stables there.
“It’s a big day, my first win here as an owner, I could see he was going well all the way round. The horse has had 364 days off a course since winning at Southwell,” said Duke.
East Halton man Paul Umpleby is also a part owner alongside trainer Chris Bieby from Grantham and Michael Holmes. Mr Umpleby was delighted like his colleagues.
“Considering she has had a year off she did the job. This is the only horse I am an owner with so it’s a big day,” he said.
The card began with something of a shock in that 1-5 favourite Zamoyski, from the Scamblesby yard of Steve Gollings, suffered a surprise defeat. Winner was the impressive 12-1 shot saddled by Somerset trainer Nigel Hawke. The winner has a decent flat pedigree and will probably progress.
The novices hurdle that followed was claimed by 1-2 favourite Shantou Magic, who had Noel Fehily on board.
The point to point winner had an encouraging start to his national hunt career with a bumper success at Ascot in February and a hurdles win at Fontwell to follow. This is another for the future.
Italian Master had shown some promise on his hurdles debut in April, but his chase debut at Worcester disappointed.
He is now running out of Dan Skelton’s Alcester stable and this was his first start for the new trainer and his charge was well rewarded. Likewise those punters who fancied a long shot at 11-1.
He jumped well and was easing off after the last to claim his success.
The feature race of the afternoon was the £15,000 John Lucas Memorial Handicap Chase won by the Irish bred Gullinbursti the 10-11 favourite who had Aidan Coleman up. The 7 year old had decent form over hurdles and came to Market Rasen instead of going in a Grade 2 chase at Wincanton on Saturday. After this success chasing is likely to be his option in the future.
Gollings saddled Bar de Ligne in this race and the 13-2 shot ran well to finish in 2nd.
After Legendary Hop’s success in the fifth race, where Michael Chapman’s Market Rasen trained Peak Seasons ran unplaced, the final race on the card was the ‘Bon Construction Hands and Heels’ Hurdle.’ Here there was an impressive win from Wily Fox trained by John Eustace at Newmarket, though Bowie trained at Brigg by Nick Kent ran a game race after a lay off for 6 months.
“He’s had a good rest and I am happy in that he ran well and will come on from that.”