Mic’s Delight may have frightened off most off his rivals in the £6,000 feature race on Sunday’s card at Market Rasen, but at the last fence in the Whistle and Flute Barnetby Beginners’ Chase he found 9-4 shot Flaming Charlie alongside and had to find a little bit extra.
What looked like being a hotly contested race, proved a bit of a disappointment with only three of the declared runners going to post and Mic’s Delight with Denis O’Regan up, the 2-5 odds on favourite.
The winner reached a handicap mark of 135 after a close second in a Grade 3 race at Sandown in the spring. He looks a progressive sort with a bright future over fences.
The long journey from the Devon stable of Victor Dartnall proved well worthwhile with the win. He had jumped impressively on his chasing debut when second at Exeter three weeks ago, but he had to work harder here.
The meeting opened with Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings saddling 5-4 joint favourite the French bred Bar de Ligne.
The Watch Racing UK On Sky Channel 432 Novices Hurdle Race proved a two horse race with 5-4 shot Cross of Honour the only one to really challenge the winner.
Bar de Ligne got a winning start for Gollings in a Uttoxeter bumper in November and then the six–year–old chased home the winner on his hurdle debut at the same course a month later.
Jockey Brian Hughes looked comfortable enough as his charge here and claimed his first prize over hurdles in Rasen.
He said: “His form is solid and like others in the yard its been much better for them with the weather this year than last.
“I have got some lovely horses this year and its thanks to owners like Phil Martin, who owns this one, for supporting me to the hilt.
“We were struggling to get out the yard this time last year with the weather.”
Wise Move (11-2), from the top stable of Nicky Henderson, won the second race, a conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle, in impressive style.
He had Richard Killoran on board and the duo never really looked in trouble, seeing off nearest rival, the 10-1 outsider Powerful Ambition.
After a promising hurdle debut in a quality contest at Ascot a year ago, Wise Move failed to deliver and his effort in a more modest field at Bangor last time out was distinctly below par. Henderson will have been delighted by his work here however.
Hildisvini (15-2) took the Power Distribution and Control Handicap Hurdle giving Cotswolds trainer Charlie Longson and jockey Paddy Brennan a win.
Although the horse won twice early last year his form later dipped, but a tongue tie worn for the first time may have done the trick here.
Steve Gollings saddled Andhaar who ran third at Market Rasen on Boxing Day, but was a bit more exposed in this race and did not really stay the longer trip.
O Crotaigh (4-1) with a reputation as a front runner, had previous form figures of 211 at this course and added another win in the Dine at the Whistle and Flute Handicap Chase, with Richie McGrath up, scoring by five lengths while the Josell Handicap Hurdle at the bottom of the card was won by 8-1 shot Justazippy with Sam Jones on board.
There was a notable departure at the meeting as clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said farewell before leaving for pastures new at Warwick and Huntingdon Racecourses.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Tuesday February with the first race provisionally fixed for 1.35pm.
The course is staging a residents day with £5 admission in the Tattershalls Enclosure on offer to Lincolnshire residents who can provide their local postcode.
Contact the course on 01673 843434 for further information.