Racegoers celebrated a local feature race winner at Market Rasen at Thursday’s meeting on a day of small fields and heavy going.
Ivans Back (11/4), from Nick Kent’s Newstead yard, near Brigg, has had some success over hurdles, winning here over two miles and four furlongs back in March.
He was placed in all three chases he finished between April and July, but has generally been at his best on firmer ground.
In the £8,000 Racing FX Online Handicap Chase his jumping was superb under jockey Gavin Sheehan as the duo led for almost all the trip. Clear by the last, his performance impressed Ivan’s Scawby owner Vicky Cottingham:
“He jumped fantastically, and stayed on really well as it’s not really his going,” she said.
“It’s hats off to Gavin who gave him a superb ride and to Nick. He won a couple of hurdles, but this is his first chase win.”
Ironically Kent was with another runner at Leicester.
“He will have watched the race on a television you can be sure,” added the delighted owner who said her 10-year-old was no longer a spring chicken.
“Ivan will probably stick to chasing now.”
The feature chase of the afternoon was the £10,000 Lincs Loos Novices Handicap, a Class 4 race.
Trainer David Dennis has saddled some decent horses lately in his Hanley Swan yard, and Aidan Coleman was looking to complete a double on the fancied Cyclop.
He was travelling well when disaster struck two out. Having blundered at the same fence first time round, the horse made a proper job of it at the second opportunity, dumping Coleman unceremoniously on the ground- no harm was done to horse or rider.
It handed Askamore Darsi (5/1), under Henry Brooke, an easy run-in to win by 87 lengths in a race where only two finished.
* The opening Racing FX Juvenile Hurdle for three-year-olds saw 5/6 favourite Walfcatcher win at a canter with Coleman having no trouble remaining in the saddle.
Nettleton handler Olly Williams saddled Burner who was a fair maiden on the flat. Connections afterwards were pleased with his debut over hurdles for Williams, despite finishing down the field. Michael Chapman’s Duc De Seville also finished unplaced.
* The Class 4 Novices Hurdle which followed, looked a contest between Duke Des Champs (4/9f), who had made the long journey from the Somerset stable of Philip Hobbs, and Matorico, trained by Jonjo O’Neill.
The in-form Richard Johnson was on board the ‘Duke’ to claim his 149th winner of a season which is looking sure to end with him being crowned champion jockey for the first time.
* There was time for well-known Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith to claim a double in the fifth and sixth races, both handicap hurdles.
Irish-bred Palm Grey (10/3) had Danny Cook in the saddle, while 10lb claimer Stephen McCarthey had the ride on 11/8 favourite Optical High.
Now all eyes at Market Rasen turn to the traditional Boxing Day meeting.