Sunday’s card at Market Rasen was always going to have a low-key feel in contrast to the Cheltenham Festival and so it proved with a thin crowd and some small fields.
Only four went to post for the 32Red.Com Novices Hurdle in what turned out to be a rather farcical race.
From the moment the starter’s flag dropped, top jockey Paddy Brennan sent Three of a Kind to the front, leaving the other three runners standing, including odds-on favourite Maxie T (2/7).
From then on it was an impressive display of front running by the seven-year-old as he built a 35-length lead when they entered the finishing straight.
At 6/1 in a four-horse race he represented good value to punters as he came home by 14 lengths from Maxie T in easing up.
After the race the stewards took a look and decided to hand Finian O’Toole, jockey of favourite Maxie T, a 10-day ban ‘for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing.’
* In the first chase of the afternoon, Bucking the Trend (13/8JF) gave an impressive display of jumping.
Trained by Tim Vaughan in South Wales, and ridden by 5lb-claiming Alan Johns, the eight-year-old barely touched a twig on the way round.
The only challenge came from fellow joint-favourite Ultimatum Du Roy. Market Rasen trainer Michael Chapman saddled The Society Man who tailed off by the second lap, but still finished fourth.
* In the mares handicap hurdle there was a promising career start for the well-backed Young You who gave jockey Cathal Courtney his first win on only his fourth ride.
* Star Foot (15/8), under jockey Tom O’Brien, won the opening novices hurdle for trainer Jo Davis and the five-year-old had little difficulty in seeing off a poor field. The horse had some decent form over hurdles and in bumpers in 2015 behind him, and three fancied Cheltenham runners this week had run in his company.
* In the class 3 Handicap Hurdle, Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings saddled Caged Lightning (9/2) and he ran well to have every chance at the last. He jumped upsides with the winner San Telm (5/2), before weakening on the run-in.
* The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Easter Monday. March 28.