The first-ever Winter Ladies’ Day at Market Rasen was blessed by summerlike weather, writes Peter Thompson.
It also provided three feature races which gave the crowd plenty of excitement, with a bit of dynamite thrown in.
The Prelude Chase had been switched to this meeting from its normal September slot.
Several top trainers have claimed the big prize including Dr Richard Newland, and the late Malcolm Jefferson, while last year it was Ballybolley who showed them all a clean pair of heels to reward the stable of Nigel Twistan-Davies. Last year’s winner went to post with seven other runners in an attempt to retain his crown in the fifth race the Class 2 £50,000 Elixir Bathrooms Prelude Chase.
He could not repeat it however as the big prize went to the Irish-bred Royal Village, trained by Ian Williams at Alvechurch and ridden by Tom O’Brien.
The 4/1 shot was clear by two fences out and eased home from Play the Ace trained by Peter Bowen in Wales and ridden by James Bowen.
The 20/1 second had no real chance with the winner.
The winner has a decent record over hurdles, particularly for the stable of Philip Hobbs and dead heated at Market Rasen in July in his first start of fences.
There is undoubtably more to come from the winner.
The big race had been preceded on the card by the Wintringham Fields Novices Chase. Despite only four runners for the Class 3 event it proved a dual between the favourite Highway One O One and the Paul Nicholls trained Dynamite Dollars.
Some late money made him second favourite and while the duo entered the straight together, by the time they came to the final fence it was the Nicholls trained horse who had got in front.
After two novice wins as a hurdler Nicholls clearly feels he can do well over fences and he jumped impressively, barely touching a twig on the way round before outpacing the favourite from the last.
The £21,400 Kenwick Park Handicap Hurdle saw the favourite Jersey Bean (10/3) make all to see off her rivals under jockey Leighton Aspell for trainer Oliver Sherwood.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Thursday, November 8 when the feature race will be the Listed 188Bet Bud Booth Mares Chase.
Tickets for that meeting, the first of the winter County Racedays will be just £10 when booked in advance.
The first race will be at 12.55pm.
Bookings are also already being taken for the traditional Boxing Day meeting.