Sunshine, fine weather and fantastic racing made for a successful end to the summer season of racing at Market Rasen.
Success for a Brigg trainer, a double for jockey James Reveley and a 14 length win for champion jockey and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Tony McCoy were the highlights.
Feature race of the afternoon was the £28,475 totepool Prelude Handicap Chase. All eyes were on Qulinton to see if he could follow his Summer Plate win in July by claiming September’s big prize.
It was not to be as Benny be Good (20-1) defied the form book to give Reveley a huge win.
Sixteen horses went to post with Welsh trainer Peter Bowen hoping to maintain his record in the race, having won it three times out of the last four years.
Bowen’s North Island was well placed to challenge on the final bend but fell away. Qulinton’s top weight told against him and it was left to Buck Mulligan (16-1) to mount a challenge to the winner.
The winner has become regarded as a Sedgefield specialist, having won there five times from seven. This was his first win on a right handed track and he did it in style for trainer Keith Reveley.
James Reveley started his afternoon with a win in the opening race, the Ronnie Cross Handicap Hurdle, on 7-2 favourite Royale’s Charter. After a lengthy absence, the five–year–old got off the mark at Newton Abbot on his return, but took advantage here of what remains a handy mark with the handicapper.
Rumble of Thunder (20-1) took the £17,000 totescope6Prelude Hurdle, jockey Richie McGrath keeping in with his mother–in–law Kate Walton, who trains the horse.
Rumble of Thunder had two novice wins last year and a three length success at Aintree in May. He has had success on the flat since and saw off some worthy challengers here, not least Drill Sergeant, trained by Donald McCain, son of the legendary trainer of Red Rum Ginger McCain, who died last week. Ginger had been a regular to Market Rasen even in recent years.
Course Chairman Colin Booth said: “Meeting Ginger at the races, and we were so pleased to welcome him to Market Rasen on many occasions, always seemed to make the day special.
“Those of us lucky to know Ginger are also mourning the loss of a passionate supporter of a sport we all love, a man who spoke his mind, but at the same time cared deeply for the horses in his care.”
The John Clugston Handicap Chase almost provided a local winner with Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddling top weight Farmer Frank (17-2).
Kent has now got a full license to operate out of his Newstead yard, prior to that he had plenty of success training pointers and hunter chasers.
Framer Frank has a win from 2010 at Market Rasen under his belt and had every chance entering the straight, but lost to Tom Messenger on Persian Gates who stayed on the better.
Kent was delighted with his horse though. He said: “He was second at Stratford in August but travelled badly to Ffos Las last time.
“He ran a battling race today and jumped well. He loves it here round Rasen. He was top weight, so the handicapper is not helping him. He likes firm ground and I am not sure he will run through the winter. I need to speak to the owner but he clearly has another win in him.”
McCoy romped home by 14 lengths on Arctic Reach (5-1) to win the toteswinger Juvenile Hurdle for trainer Brendan Powell.
Bowen did get reward for his long journey from Pembrokeshire when Book’em Danno (6-1) got his second win of the summer at this track in the novices hurdle and in the bumper at the end of the card, Magnifique Etoile, the 4-5 favourite, romped home by 22 lengths.
One highlight of the afternoon was the award of the Tom Halliday Memorial Scholarship to young Gloucestershire based jockey Ollie Garner. Garner had a winner for Market Rasen trainer Michael Chapman at Cartmel recently.
Garner was delighted to receive the scholarship award to help develop his career. The award is given every year in memory of Tom Halliday who died after a fatal fall at the course in 2005. It was handed over by Tom’s brother James and Tony McCoy in front of the weighing room.