EVENING sunshine and a post-races concert by singer James Morrison meant a large crowd in party mood for Music Night at Market Rasen races on Saturday.
On what was a low key card, there was still some interesting racing with a number of outsiders upsetting the form book.
Winner of the opening maiden hurdle was 9-2 shot Red Tyke ridden by Dougie Costello. The three-year-old was twice a soft ground winner on the flat but got up from 7-1 shot Snowed In.
Lucy Alexandra gave a splendid ride to 10-1 shot Lillioftheballet in the second race, the Prelude Race Meeting Next Novice Hurdle.
Alexandra had her mount in front two out and looked to be facing a challenge from odds-on favourite Piment D’Estruval.
The favourite from Tim Vaughan’s Vale of Glamorgan stables, lost out by three lengths .
The winner had showed little in bumpers or hurdles in the past, except a hint at something better over hurdles last time out at Perth when unplaced.
Stewards looked at the win but recognised the comments of Gilbert’s representative that the faster ground at Market Rasen had worked in the horse’s favour.
In the Elizabeth Hargreaves Memorial Handicap Chase the first fence in the straight had to be by-passed after issues were raised over the low sun shining in the faces of horse and rider.
Market Rasen trainer Michael Chapman saddled the six-year-old Epee Celeste with Alice Mills on board. Chapman’s charge won a three-horse race at Cartmel last month, but this was a more competitive affair.
There was little between front and back of the field as they entered the straight for the final time in the race of just over three miles.
Outsider Baily Storm (8-1) barely touched a twig on his way round under David Bass. The horse, now a ten-year-old, won five out of seven races in 2009-10, but more recently he has failed to finish in five races from nine.
Not lacking in stamina, the horse is now trained by Lawney Hill after losing the plot for Tim Vaughan and here he stayed on well to see off 5-4 favourite Quinder Spring.
The latter was a wide margin winner at Cartmel last month in a poor field and the 12lb penalty proved decisive here.
The fourth race was the Cook and Reay Birthday Bash Handicap Chase and top weight Rebel Dancer, (15-2) trained by Ian Williams and ridden by Paddy Brennan, just got up from Kai Broon and Tom Scudamore.
The winner only had one hurdle win from 26 starts for Philip Hobbs and Williams, but he was a triple flat winner in France so has some speed.
This was only his third chase start and there are certainly further wins in him over the larger obstacles.
Claude Carter went to post in the Christmas Party Day 6th December Handicap Hurdle on a new high career mark after a win over course and distance last time out.
He defied a penalty here impressively having been sent off at 9-1, though it helped having apprentice Callum Williams in the saddle, who was claimimg 5lbs.
After being held up early on he took the lead on the flat after the last to get up from 2-1 favourite Favours Brave.
In the final race, the Malton Marquees.co.uk Handicap Hurdle, 12-year-old veteran Glingerbank (9-2), with Brian Harding up, got up by a length from Mavalenta, also 9-2.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is the end of summer Prelude Meeting on Saturday September 29.