There was a high number of withdrawals from the Easter Monday meet as heavy morning rain changed the going to soft at Market Rasen Racecourse.
Brigg trainer Nick Kent had optimism his nine-year-old Lost in Newyork could run well in the High Definition Racing UK Handicap Hurdle where only five went to post from 12 declared runners.
Kent’s horse, with Maurice Lineham on board, ran a decent race, but had to concede a five-length advantage to Man of Gold, the 11/8 favourite from Tim Vaughan’s Vale of Glamorgan stable.
There could be more to come from Lost in Newyork who was returning to hurdles after he had failed to complete handicap chases in his last two outings. His only win came back in 2013.
Odds-on favourite Solomn Grundy, ridden by Noel Fehily, won the opening Class 4 Novices Hurdle for trainer Neil Mulholland.
He had impressed in a much better class of race on his stable debut at Plumpton until falling two out. Here Fehily kept on board and the distance was eight lengths in easing up.
Two Yorkshire trainers who always do well at Market Rasen are Malcolm Jefferson and Sue Smith.
Mrs Smith, wife of famed former show jumper Harvey, saddled another winning favourite in Benny’s Well (13/8), and he made all to win the Class 4 chase, but in another poor field of four.
Jefferson’s Cloudy Dream won the £9,000 prize in the feature chase. He had got off the mark when last seen in November at Doncaster and has decent form on soft ground.
The ‘Sue is 60’ Handicap Hurdle did have a bigger field and Moidore (11/2) under the Adam and Charles Pogson jockey/trainer combination delivered the goods in a well-contested handicap hurdle. Brian Hughes was on board.
Fields were generally thin and the crowd was clearly down thanks to Storm Katie’s mid-morning impact. Thankfully the meeting went ahead to the delight of the bank holiday crowd.
It was though a reminder of how things have changed. When racing recommenced at Market Rasen in 1946 after the Second World War, 18,000 packed out the course – and that was the official number. Many did not pay and gained entry through gaps in hedges and across streams.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Sunday, April 10, the day after the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
* On Sunday, Nettleton trainer Olly Williams, who opened his stables a year ago, is having an open day from noon to 4pm with family fun, including a farrier demonstration, meet the pony, a Grand National sweepstake and an Easter Egg hunt.
Admission is free with donations to Racing Welfare. Details and directions at www.ollywilliamsracing.co.uk