Market Rasen races: Richard Johnson to ride in Alan Swinbank memorial race

Market Rasen Racecourse general manager Nadia Powell co-owns Rococo Style which Richard Johnson will ride at today's meeting EMN-180115-173954002
Market Rasen Racecourse general manager Nadia Powell co-owns Rococo Style which Richard Johnson will ride at today's meeting EMN-180115-173954002

Champion jump jockey Richard Johnson is targeting a ‘home’ win in a new race at Market Rasen Racecourse’s opening fixture of 2018.

Britain’s top rider in Britain will take the reins on Rococo Style, trained by Steve Gollings in Lincolnshire, at Rasen on Wednesday.

He goes in the Listed 188Bet Alan Swinbank Mares’ National Hunt Flat Race which is a permanent memorial to the Yorkshire trainer who died suddenly last May.

The five-year-old mare, whose owners include the racecourse’s general manager Nadia Powell and Jockey Club Racecourses North West regional director John Baker, is bidding for a second victory in just three races.

A field of 13 horses has been entered for the £20,000 memorial race over an extended two miles.

Mr Swinbank made his mark on the flat and over jumps during a training career in which he sent out nearly 800 winners in Britain.

Less than a week after his death, his partner Sally Haynes, who took over the training licence at the north Yorkshire stables, sent out Brecon Hill for a poignant victory in a bumper race at Market Rasen.

During his training career, which stretched back to 1982, Alan Swinbank saddled 25 winners at Rasen, at an excellent winner-to-runner ratio of 27 per cent.

Nadia said: “Alan Swinbank was a good friend of Market Rasen Racecourse and we always enjoyed welcoming him with his horses to run here; he was a brilliant trainer.

“Our race-goers were thrilled when Sally Haynes sent out the yard’s first winner following Alan’s untimely death last spring, and we were most pleased when the Swinbank family accepted our offer to stage a permanent race in his memory at our first meeting of 2018.

“My fellow owners and I are delighted to be running our horse Rococo Style in the inaugural running of the race on Wednesday.”

Although Sally doesn’t have a runner in the mares’ ‘bumper’, she has entered Deep Resolve in a hurdle race at 1.30pm.

The afternoon also features the £20,000 Weatherbys Racing Bank Graduation Chase in which champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson could run O O Seven.

And Market Rasen Racecourse ambassador, jockey Sean Bowen, could partner Minella Daddy for his father, the trainer Peter Bowen. Three Musketeers won the corresponding race 12 months ago and is set to run again.

Adult tickets on the first County Raceday of the year are just £10 for adults when purchased in advance. Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge.

The first race is scheduled for 12.30pm and more details can be found at http://marketrasen.thejockeyclub.co.uk