Market Rasen Racecourse had something to celebrate ahead of its latest meeting after being awarded the gold standard by the Racecourse Owners Association for a second year.
Racecourse chairman Colin Booth, who retires at the end of the year, said: “We set enormous importance on our relationship with racehorse owners, trainers, jockeys, and stable staff.”
Thursday’s feature race was the Class 2 £25,000 Lord Tennyson Handicap Hurdle, where the favourite going to post was Grand National-winning trainer Richard Newland’s Duke Street.
But the favourite came in second behind eight-year-old Oscar Rock, an 11/4 shot trained by Malcolm Jefferson at Malton and ridden by top jockey Brian Hughes.
The horse has run in some quality chases including the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
This race though was over hurdles where ‘Oscar’ had dropped down to a useful mark and made a return after 200 days off a racecourse.
Hughes said: “He blundered at the final flight, but is a really good horse and ran well even though the ground today was plenty soft enough for him.”
There were several other highlights including the Class 4 Mares Handicap Hurdle which was won by 22/1 outsider Bonnet’s Vino, trained by Pam Sly and ridden by 7lb-claiming amateur rider Jack Andrews (18).
The trainer, in good form of late, was delighted for the jockey, who was claiming his second win under rules, but the first in competition with the pros.
There were several top jockeys at the meeting with 2015/16 champion Richard Johnson getting a win on 5/6 favourite No Comment in the opening race, the Sherwood Marquees National Hunt Novices Hurdle Class 4.
The ‘Lincs Loos’ National Hunt Flat race, at the bottom of the card, saw another top operator Paddy Brennan flushed with success after a winning ride on Infinite, his 1,001st winner in Britain and Ireland, having reached the landmark the day before at Warwick.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Thursday, December 1 before all eyes turn to Boxing Day and the traditional Lincolnshire festive event.