The PHS Besafe Raceday meeting at Market Rasen saw some quality racing with two big prize money races heading the card.
The feature race of the day, the £25,000 Lord Tennyson Handicap Hurdle, saw Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings saddle the fancied Handiwork (6/1). The five-year-old has been at the top of his game on the flat, but was a little disappointing in the ‘Swinton’ when last seen over hurdles. Gollings had booked top jockey Richard Johnson who held his mount up mid-division on the first circuit. Handiwork laid down his challenge entering the straight, but was caught by the fast-finishing duo of Sky Khan (10/1) ridden by Peter Buchanan, and Ennistown who had Brian Hughes up.
After a stewards’ enquiry to look at the winner hanging left and causing interference, the result stood with Sky Khan confirmed. Lucinda Russell trains the six-year-old at Kinross, in Perthshire, and the long journey proved well worthwhile for connections. Handiwork ran on well for his clear third.
* The feature chase was the £15,000 PHS Besafe Flamegear Handicap and it was won in impressive style by the 9/4 favourite and bottom weight Dartford Warbler.
The winner, who made all, is trained by Sue Smith in Bingley and husband Harvey, of show jumping fame, was on hand to share his wife’s success. Dartford Warbler was second at Bangor on Dee a week previously and clearly can build from this. The only worry was that the race had come too soon, but there need have been no doubts as Danny Cook steered the front runner to success after some impressive jumping.
* The opening race was a Class 4 National Hunt Novices Hurdle which brought a win for Barney Dwain (7/2), trained by Fergal O’Brian at Cheltenham, and ridden by Paddy Brennan.
O’Brian was delighted with the progress of his five-year-old who was following up a third place at Exeter last time out.
“He will stay further I am sure, but the trip is unimportant to him at the moment,” he said. “Paddy felt confident with him and he was always travelling well. His jumping was good.”
* The second race was the first chase of the afternoon, the PHS Group Washroom Handicap.
Top two in the betting were Uhlan Bute and St John’s Point, but both were upstaged by 11/2 shot Chicoria. A successful novice over hurdles he outshone the favoured duo and despite being far from fluent with his jumping, the result was convincing.
It may well be that the six-year-old, who had leading jockey Richard Johnson on board, will make a better chaser than hurdler.
* The fifth race saw a win for Calin Du Brizais (11/2), trained by Nigel Hawke and ridden by Tom Scudamore, and the sixth, a handicap chase, was won by 2/1 chance Fly Home Harry who just got up close from home under Paul Maloney.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Thursday, December 3.