For the Skelton family 2016 has been a very special year, with Market Rasen claiming a place in the family’s celebrations.
In July, just before showjumper father Nick won an Olympic gold in Rio, trainer Dan sent out Red Tornado to win the Betfred Summer Hurdle with brother Harry on board.
It was part of a high profile double that day.
Dan Skelton, who has a fantastic record at Market Rasen Racecourse, was back and eyeing the Lincolnshire track’s valuable prize-money again in the £30,000 Listed 188bet.co.uk Prelude Handicap Hurdle.
Going to post the horse was targeting a remarkable sixth race victory in a row, an unbeaten streak that stretched back to the spring.
It was not to be, however, as Red Tornado ran unplaced behind Hassle (7/1), trained by 2015 Grand National winning GP turned trainer Dr Richard Newland.
The Worcestershire handler has a similar successful record at our local track.
The richest contest of the afternoon was the £50,000 Listed 188Bet Prelude Chase, claimed by Vintage Vinnie for trainer Rebecca Curtis with Jonathan Moore on board.
Despite some success over hurdles the seven-year-old has struggled over the bigger obstacles.
He was on a handy mark as a result with the handicapper and cashed in by two lengths.
Despite failing to pick up the big hurdle prize of the afternoon, the Skeltons did not go home empty handed, the brothers combining with Late Night Lily (5/6f) in the Mares Novices Class 4 Hurdle.
The five-year-old was well backed after a win at Huntingdon earlier in the summer.
The opening race on the card was also a high quality one, a Grade 2 Novices Hurdle which was a keenly fought affair, Nachi Falls (9/2) getting up by a length from Hygrove Percy.
The final summer meeting of 2016 drew an excellent crowd to bask in the September sunshine with lots going on away from the racing including a beer festival, charity collections and plenty to keep children amused.
Soon to retire Chairman of the Course Colin Booth said in his programme notes: “We are delighted to present a card with two listed races and a juvenile hurdle that always provides a pointer to some of the top races later in the season.”
The next meeting at Market Rasen is Gentleman’s Day on Saturday, October 15th.