Despite heavy going, Market Rasen races went ahead with its latest meeting, the highlight of the afternoon was a double for in-form trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Aidan Coleman.
There was plenty of close finishes later, but the afternoon opened with a runaway win for hot favourite Carry on Sydney (8/15) in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
Trained by Oliver Sherwood, the four-year-old made an impressive start to his hurdling career, finishing second at Newbury. He had several of the Market Rasen field behind him that day and comfortably confirmed the form here with his eight length win. Leighton Aspell was on board.
Then came the double for Williams and Coleman. In a field low on quality in the Mares Maiden Hurdle, Rosa Fleet (10/1) eased through from two out to win by 10 lengths.
A hint of ability had been shown in two Uttoxeter bumpers and Coleman took a strong hold to keep his mount tucked in just behind the leaders until two out. The 13/8 favourite Rising Teal was third in the 10 horse race. Rosa Fleet will have to show further improvement though if she is to score again and compete in better company.
Williams and Coleman completed their double in the third race, the EBF Stallions Novices Hurdle Qualifier. The pair teamed up with Panama Petrus, (11/4) but this time the jockey had to work hard to get his charge up by half a length over Shimla Dawn ,the 4/5 favourite.
Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings saddled Balinderry, who led them around on the first circuit of the fourth race, the Whistle and Flute (Barnetby) Handicap Hurdle. He was 7lb out of the handicap though and predictably could not sustain his effort.
Grate Fella won last time out at Catterick but here it was Irish bumper winner Saffron Wells (4/1) who showed the other seven runners a clean pair of heels. There was an impressive 11 lengths between the winner and 5/1 shot Too Generous with the favourite in third.
The winner was on a useful mark for handicaps and there could well be more visits to the winner’s enclosure if this form can be sustained.
Feature race of the afternoon was the Class 3 Handicap Chase. The heavy going was bound to take its toll in the final three races over the bigger obstacles. Winner of the feature was the Renee Robeson trained Benefit Cut who had booked Sam Twiston-Davies for his only ride of the afternoon. That was probably the key to the well backed 6/4 favourite’s chances and he produced an impressive display of front running to claim a nine length win.
The Eric and Lucy Papworth Handicap Chase, over 2 miles 6 furlongs, proved a real test of stamina. A pile up at the final fence left Divine Intervention on his own with only Doubletoilntrouble 23 lengths behind for company over the finishing line. The winner was second in the Foxhunterchase at the Cheltenham Festival last March but would almost certainly have not won here but for the mishaps of rivals.
Gollings saddled Honest John and the booking of Tony McCoy won the 10-year-old plenty of market support. Like a few others in the race it was not his day, nor for once was it McCoy’s, who failed to land a winner on the afternoon.
The bumper at the bottom of the card was won by the Tim Vaughan trained Qualviro (5/1). Local eyes were Galunt Nuit trained locally at Riby and often seen in Brocklesby point to points. Ridden by Tom Strawson the 10-year-old had to be pulled up.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is Sunday, February 16.