Market Rasen races: Capacity crowd for richest meeting of 2016

An estimated 9,000-strong crowd came to watch Saturdays big meet EMN-160718-131545002
An estimated 9,000-strong crowd came to watch Saturdays big meet EMN-160718-131545002

A capacity crowd packed out Market Rasen Racecourse for the richest meeting of the year on Saturday as top jumps trainers targeted the Summer Plate/Lincs FM Ladies’ Day meeting.

The Listed £50,000 Betfred Summer Plate Steeplechase was the feature contest, alongside the £35,000 listed Betfred TV Hurdle, two highlights of the national jump racing season in the summer months.

A fine jump by Dan Skelton on Long House Hall as he wins the Summer Plate Chase EMN-160718-131556002

A fine jump by Dan Skelton on Long House Hall as he wins the Summer Plate Chase EMN-160718-131556002

For the first time since 2002, when top trainer Martin Pipe did it, the two big races were won by the same stable as the Skelton brothers, trainer Dan and jockey Harry, cleaned up with the big prizes.

Recent Market Rasen winners Cut The Corner and Sir Valentino, as well as top-weighted 2014 Cheltenham Festival winner Ballynagour, had also been fancied for the high profile chase.

But it was the Skelton yard’s eight-year-old Long House Hall who showed them all a clean pair of heels.

A pile-up at the last fence probably helped their cause, though, with top jockey Barry Geraghty taking a nasty tumble and being taken to hospital with a broken right arm.

Runners take a flight in the Betfred TV Summer Hurdle with, nearside, the winner Red Tornado. EMN-160718-131742002

Runners take a flight in the Betfred TV Summer Hurdle with, nearside, the winner Red Tornado. EMN-160718-131742002

Dan Skelton, who trains at Alcester, was a delighted man in the winner’s enclosure after the chase.

“To win the two big races is absolutely great, its magic,” he said.

“It has been weeks in the planning. There has been great support here at Market Rasen today.

“It works well between my brother and myself; he does the riding and I do the training, and today we are a winning team.

“The crowd here shows just shows how popular national hunt racing can be on a day when there are some big flat race meetings around the country.”

The trainer/jockey duo had first struck gold in the previous race when they combined to win the Betfred Summer Hurdle with the four-year-old French bred Red Tornado.

Three former winners at the Lincolnshire track – Mountainside, Regulation and Rejaah – were among the 15-strong field of real quality.

Red Tornado was one of two runners lining up for the big hurdle, Moabit was the other, who went to post with four straight wins behind them, underlining the quality of the field.

But it was the Skelton pair’s day in front of an estimated 9,000 crowd.