Sunday’s Rural Charities Raceday meeting at Market Rasen saw Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell in the saddle in more modest surroundings the day after his Aintree win.
Aspell was on board Doctor’s Orders for trainer Lucy Wadham in the opening race, the ‘Watch RacingUK on Sky Channel 432 Maiden Hurdle’. Going to post before a more modest crowd huddled up against the gale was a world away from the event 24-hours earlier when he won on racing’s biggest day on Many Clouds saddled by Oliver Sherwood. It was Aspell’s second win in the National in successive years. 12-months ago the 38-year-old jockey was on board Pineau de Re for Dr Richard Newland and in 2014, just like in 2015, Aspell’s big day at Aintree was followed with a trip to Market Rasen the next afternoon.
Aspell though did not ride a winner this time, Doctors Orders, perhaps not quite feeling himself, failing to get in the frame in a race won by Oh Land Abloom (9/2) with Trevor Whelen on board.
There was local as well as national interest in this first race of the afternoon as Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddled Hillview Lad ridden by Dougie Costello. The interesting seven-year-old is now owned by Newstead Priory Racing Club, having got off the mark with a win at the fifth attempt in Irish Maiden Points in October. This though was his hurdles bow and it proved too much to ask as he finished midfield after showing up well for much of the race.
There was another first at Sunday’s meeting as it featured as the first meeting for new General Manager at Market Rasen Nadia Gollings.
Chairman of Market Rasen Racecourse Colin Booth said: “Nadia needs little introduction to many Market Rasen regulars. Two of her happiest days in racing so far were spent here at Market Rasen as Local Hero, trained by her father Steve Gollings, completed the double winning both our flagship Handicap Hurdles in July and September 2012.
“We are pleased to have her leading our team at Market Rasen racecourse.”
Despite a blunder at the last flight Quebec (9/2) with Jack Sherwood, nephew of Grand National winning trainer Oliver on board, took the second race the ABN Novices Hurdle while the JH Walter Hurdle saw Lebeccio (18/1) follow up an impressive second at Sandown to provide a win for trainer Charlie Mann and jockey James Davies.
For the feature race of the afternoon former England footballer turned top trainer Mick Channon eased Warden Hill back into the fray in his first run since Boxing Day in the £12,000 Brown and Co Novices Chase, the fourth race on the card. The three-mile-one-furlong contest represented a steep drop in class for the seven-year-old after coming out best of the rest behind Cheltenham Gold Cup StarConeygree in Grade One company at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Only four started in the race and the winner did not have it all his own way. Jonjo O’Neill saddled the favourite Favoured Nation (11/4) in the RacingUK Handicap Chase and had Richie McLernon in the saddle.
Kayfton Pete (7/4f) is one who has won good races at Market Rasen and was the pick to do so again in the Join The Racing UK Club Handicap Chase which followed. The nine-year-old is a few pounds lower over fences than he was over the smaller obstacles when second in a hurdle at Southwell late last month. There is an argument he might have needed that a bit, too, on his first run since November. He delivered here by six lengths.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is Friday May 8.