Market Rasen Racecourse meet beats equine flu racing suspension

The grey Parlour Maid (nearside) battles with Quantum of Solace over the final fence on the way to victory in the handicap chase Picture: Peter Thompson EMN-191102-113558002
The grey Parlour Maid (nearside) battles with Quantum of Solace over the final fence on the way to victory in the handicap chase Picture: Peter Thompson EMN-191102-113558002

Last week’s meeting at Market Rasen Racecourse was one of the last in the country to go ahead before cases of equine flu suspended racing nationwide.

The immediate future of racing for the rest of the month was thrown into doubt after several stables were hit by the highly contagious virus with racing suspended for six days until Wednesday.

There were fears Market Rasen’s next meeting on Sunday would come under threat if the suspension was extended, but the British Horseracing Authority last night confirmed racing would resume tomorrow.

The highlight of last Tuesday’s meeting was the dual between Parlour Maid (5/2) and Quantum of Solace (5/4f) in the £8,511 Sherwood Marquees Mares Handicap Chase.

Trainer Robert Hawker had entered the lightly-raced eight-year-old Parlour Maid and the fact she made the long journey from Frome, in Somerset, indicated that trainer and amateur jockey Shane Quinlan meant business and so it proved.

Quantam, under Paddy Brennan, had to find solace in being runner-up after a ding-dong battle in the straight.

This was a third consecutive second place after being narrowly beaten at Ffos Las and Huntingdon.

Parlour Maid opened her account over fences at Lingfield three weeks ago, and this was a decent follow-up for the grey.

Bingley trainer Sue Smith is always there or thereabouts when it comes to producing winners at Market Rasen.

Here, Dartford Warbler won the three-mile chase having made all from the start.

Not young at 12, he clearly still loves racing, and particularly at this track.

Praeceps was entered at Ascot for just after Christmas, but was a non-runner there, and the snow then prevented him getting out of Alan King’s yard to run at Sandown.

Willie Hutchinson had the ride when he finally came under orders in the opening hurdle at Rasen, and his win at 5/2 rewarded his Essex owners, as well as punters. Praeceps will be one to watch at the Cheltenham Festival next month where he is entered in the Triumph Hurdle.

Sam Twiston-Davies will be a jockey with an eye or two on rides in the world-famous festival, but in rather more humble surroundings in Lincolnshire he had the ride on Earlofthecotswolds (9/4f) in the Happy Birthday Jim Gott Handicap Hurdle.

Soft ground clearly suited the five-year-old who had a decent record in bumpers behind him before turning to the smaller obstacles.

Another star performer on the afternoon was in the EBF Novices Hurdle qualifier where Boldmere (14/1), under jockey Kielan-Woods, outsprinted Garrettstown who had champion Jockey Richard Johnson up.

Clarendon Street was sent off the 11/10 favourite, and after beating Boldmere by 10 lengths last time out at Warwick, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old would have fancied his chances again.

But he ran disappointingly to finish fifth.

There were no local yards represented at the afternoon meeting.