Horse racing TV presenter Derek Thompson joins Market Rasen Racecourse punters

Derek Thompson entertaining punters around the parade ring on Sunday. EMN-171007-111454002
Derek Thompson entertaining punters around the parade ring on Sunday. EMN-171007-111454002

Derek Thompson is one of the best known names in racing, and he came up trumps again as the racecourse presenter made his annual visit to Market Rasen Racecourse on Sunday.

He had nothing, but praise for the course which for him has many fond memories.

“When I was 16 I first came here and as a consequence Market Rasen holds very special memories for me,” he told the Mail.

“I remember having lunch with Brian Fletcher who rode Grand National winner Red Rum.

It’s great to be here; I have special memories of the Lucas family who used to run the course.

“It’s a great course, well kept, the ground staff are clearly doing a fine job, particularly at the summer meetings to provide safe going.”

The popular TV personality drew a large crowd around the winner’s enclosure as he went through his repertoire.

Three friends Peter Murray, Alan Doollan and Howard Walker had travelled over together from Liverpool and enjoyed some fun with Thompson as he drew lucky losers in his ticket draw.

“We are big racing fans, it’s a long drive here, but we travel all over. It’s a great viewing course here and you don’t see any litter!

We have just won two hog roasts with our lucky losers betting tickets.”

The good going for Sunday’s meeting attracted bigger fields than many courses in the recent dry conditions.

The opening race was the Tom Halliday Memorial Conditional Handicap Chase, run in memory of the jockey who died at the course, aged 20, after a fall at this meeting 12 years ago.

Trainer Dan and Harry Skelton improved their positions at the head of the trainers and jockeys table at Rasen this season.

Work in Progress won the Novices Chase for them at the last meeting at the course and this time the 8/11 shot won the Don Noble Class 4 Novices Chase.

He took it by an impressive 32 lengths in a race in which some bookies were offering odds of 200/1 for Market Rasen-trained The Society Man from Michael Chapman’s yard.

He did get round to finish fifth of the five runners.

The Skeltons look certain to be back on Summer Plate Day on Saturday week, but will face more of a challenge at the course’s richest meeting this year.

Local bookmaker Don Noble sponsored what proved to be an excellent meeting with a healthy Sunday crowd basking in the summer heatwave.