A gloriously sunny afternoon and some quality racing put paid to memories of the ‘Beast from the East’ at Market Rasen Racecourse on Sunday.
The family-themed meeting resulted in a large crowd as the racecourse builds to its busy summer season.
Two feature races took the eye in mid-afternoon last weekend and, as always, the Skelton duo of trainer Dan and jockey Harry attracted the attention.
In the Handicap Hurdle they fielded the five-year-old Wynford, who took the lead after the final flight, having been held up in the early stages.
But the 6/1 shot was then headed by Midnight Maestro (9/2), owned by JP McManus, from Alan King’s Barbury Castle stable.
Jockey Tom Bellamy, who was wearing the famous green and white-hooped colours on board, said: “He gave me a great ride.
“With both stable jockeys injured I appreciated the trainer’s loyalty in giving me the ride. He hung left a bit on the run-in, but didn’t interfere with anybody.”
The Skeltons did not have to wait long for their first success which came in the next race, the feature Dam Busters Chase, offering total prize money of £21,800.
Zamparelli was impressive when getting off the mark at Stratford last month and was equally convincing here.
The 7/4 favourite was held up on the first circuit, before coming through strongly to lead two out. He idled a little on the run-in, but was never really threatened.
“They ran at a nice pace and he kept going up the straight well,” Harry said.
Then thoughts turned to summer Plate Day in July, Market Rasen’s biggest day of the year for quality racing.
“I have been fortunate to win the Summer Plate Hurdle and the Summer Plate Chase on the same day one year. I know we will have horses to run in the race again.”
Skelton also revealed hopes of winning the jockeys championship.
“It is very good now to think back six years to when I was scratching around for decent rides,” he added.
“I’m lucky now to be riding for a good trainer and decent owners with good horses. So I hope I can win the jockey’s championship one year, if not this year.”
The next meeting at the course is on Friday, June 1 when an afternoon of racing will be followed on stage by Brit Award winner Plan B.
Racegoers are advised to book their place in advance at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk