It was all about the Grand National as winning jockey Leighton Aspell teamed up with owner John Provan and trainer Dr Richard Newland at Sunday’s meeting at Market Rasen.
Dr Newland saddled winners in the first and fourth races on the card and had time to reflect on how a big race at Market Rasen last July saw Pineau De Re, his National winner, finish well down the field and led to a change in tactics for the horse.
Speaking from the winner’s enclosure he said: “We ran him here in the Summer Plate and he finished well down the field.
“It was too short for him and now we know why. He clearly stays well. We brought him back to Market Rasen in August and he finished second. We were just trying to get him qualified for the Grand National at that time.”
The GP turned racehorse trainer from Worcestershire was in fine spirits from the start as Dalmo won the opening selling hurdle with Ali Sterling on board in what was a Lady Riders Selling Handicap.
The jockey had her mount at the front for much of the £2,053 race as he put some poor form in five previous outings since the turn of the year behind him.
Dalmo is also owned by the owner of Pineau De Re, John Provan, who was also at the course and making a visit to another winner’s enclosure, be it a more modest one than that at Aintree 24 hours previously.
In the fourth race it was the turn of Leighton Aspell to taste success again as in the first chase of the afternoon he teamed up with the eight-year-old Ardkilly Witness to win the Double M Novices Steeplechase. The horse is trained by Dr Newland who is a part owner.
Both Aspell and Dr Newland were presented with champagne by Chairman of Market Rasen Racecourse Colin Booth to mark their success at Aintree the previous day.
Dr Newland carried on with his celebrations as his winners came home in Lincolnshire, but he was a proud man as he looked back 24 hours to the biggest day of his life.
He said: “Everyone in National Hunt racing dreams of getting a Grand National winner. I was worried he had hit the front too soon, but as the post got nearer I felt confident he would win and that they could not catch him.”
Aspell too relieved the greatest career moment with the crowd: “It will sink in eventually that I have won the Grand National.
“I was lucky to get the ride on a good horse. When I got away and he had jumped the last I heard the commentator say he was six lengths clear. I just love horses.”
The same goes for all three as it was a day to remember at Market Rasen as well as at Aintree, as winning owner, trainer and jockey came to celebrate in the environment they know and love-with the racing fraternity at a traditional racecourse-Market Rasen.