Market Rasen’s Thursday meeting staged the first qualifiers of the new season in the ‘Jockey Club Grassroots Hurdle and Chase Series’.
The third race, the £9,000 chase, was the first of these which will culminate at Haydock in April.
And it was won by the most impressive winner of the afternoon. Richmond, the evens favourite, gave jockey Liam Treadwell his first of a double and it was an impressive display of jumping that was given by the Venetia Williams trained nine-year-old.
He made all, barely touching a twig and held on despite a mistake two out.
Treadwell said: “He has been busy at home. He is a lovely horse and stays well. This suited him and I hope it is a stepping stone to bigger things.”
The going, officially soft, heavy in places on the chase course, probably suited.
Disappointingly only four went to post, but The Society Man, trained over the Willingham Road by Michael Chapman, was kept on well by Joe Cornwall on board to finish second. That meant the horse has ended up being second in no less than six races this year. He unseated Cornwall here 10 days ago when looking likely to make it only a second career win. The duo at least managed to stay intact this time without really mounting a challenge to the winner.
The second of the grass roots qualifiers was the fifth race, the ‘Connolly’s Red Mills Handicap Hurdle’ and the winner here was the Irish bred 11-year-old Dunlough Boy, the 9/2 joint favourite. He also made all fences. It was not quite in the same style however as the horse was not fluent two flights out and was awkward at the last.
Liam Treadwell’s double was completed on Desilvano (15/8) in the bumper at the end of the card.
Racing opened with a win for the Brian Ellison trained Gone Forever (5/2). Danny Cook on board held him up early before getting to work two out and ahead at the final flight.
Charlie Longsdon saddled the runner up Atlantic Gold but went one better in the second race with Shantou Magic, a 9/2 shot. Noel Fehily gave him an impressive ride, driving the seven-year-old clear approaching the last. The horse had fallen last time out and needed to get over that according to his trainer.
Longsdon said: “He had a bad fall at Carlisle but his luck changed here today. I don’t want him in big handicaps, this was a good race for him.”
Richie Mclernon was the one to take a tumble this time, parting company with Catching On three out when well placed.
Biggest price winner of the afternoon came in the feature race the ‘PHS Besafe Bright-Gear Workwear Solutions Handicap Hurdle.’
Bottom weight was Master of the Hall and he proved to be master of this race as well winning by three lengths from the 9/2 shot Drum Valley, Home Run, the 13/8 favourite stumbled, unseating his rider two out. The winner was sent in front approaching the last by jockey Joe Colliver who claims a 5lb allowance which took even more off his mount’s back. The 10-year-old ran on strongly on the run in and clearly likes the Lincolnshire air having won twice here in the summer.
Trainer Lucinda Egerton has never had a winner under rules before Thursday and only got her license at the end of last year. She was overjoyed to saddle the winner Hi Bob (5/1) in the sixth race. He was another to lead all the way and Danny Cook kept him up to his work until the line. The jockey completed his double as well with the win.
But it was Egerton who wore the biggest smile in the winner’s enclosure.
“Danny did a great job on him. I only got my license last December and I’m chuffed to bits to get my first winner,” she said.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is Thursday December 4 and after that all eyes will turn to the big Boxing Day meeting and the opening of the new enclosure and facilities.