Good health and good fortune generally go together and Scamblesby trainer Steve Gollings was only too aware of that at last Friday’s races.
He was delighted to see his Bar De Ligne (7/2) back to full fitness and perform up to expectations in the PD Ports Novices Chase, the third race on Friday’s card at Market Rasen.
For the second time in a month, he took on Grandad’s Horse at the course.
Last time, the 7-year-old finished mystifyingly 32 lengths adrift of his rival.
It was something Gollings had to get to the bottom of.
“We were bemused but found a clinical problem; he was in discomfort,” said the trainer.
Ulcers were diagnosed and clearly here from the start the horse was fit and raring to go.
He was also competing on 7lb better terms with Grandad’s Horse (30/100f) and was sent to the front from the off by Tom Scudamore, jumping much more fluently than his rival, who is trained by Charlie Longsdon.
Gollings was delighted and confirmed he may now look at the July Summer Plate for his charge:
“Tom said he gave him a lot of fun today, his jumping was solid.” added Gollings.
Competitive racing to keep a decent mid week crowd fully occupied was the theme of Friday’s meeting.
After 20mm of rain overnight, the official going was declared good, good to soft in places.
Billie Magern is another who may reappear on the big July 20 date.
He led for a long way in the feature race, the £9,000 GBA Group Handicap Chase, in which bottom weight Gullible Gordon was sent off the 5-6 favourite.
Trainer Peter Bowen’s exploits at the track are well documented and here Gullible Gordon, with Donal Devereux up, came late to get up by a neck.
Bowen was another of the delighted trainers at the meeting:
“He jumps really well,” he said.
“We may look at the National with him next year.”
The opening selling hurdle saw Meetings Man, the 15/8 favourite, give Lambourne-based Ali Brewer her first win as a trainer. Its Only Business (4/5f) made it two out of two over hurdles when he cruised home in the juvenile hurdle under 18-times champion jockey Tony McCoy.
Trained by Jim Best, the 3 year old defied a penalty for a win at Uttoxeter on his stable debut just eight days previously. By the last flight, the rest were a country mile back as the winner came home by 24 lengths, with McCoy looking back.
Mighty Clarets, 3/1 favourite, looked to have every chance of giving Bowen a double, but just got caught by Don’t Take Me Alive (5/1) with Noel Fehily on board.
The winner has gone down to a career low mark, but he stepped up in trip slightly for the Sea Cargo Novices Hurdle.
Glenn Countess won at Cartmel last time and was always travelling strongly here.
Jumping well, she came through with a strong run to take the Grimsby and Immingham Stevedores Novices Handicap Chase giving punters good reward at 8/1.
The bumper at the bottom of the card was won by Clever Cookie (5/2) trained by Peter Niven and ridden by Jason Maguire.