Market Rasen Racecourse pays tribute to fallen jockey

Racecourse director Sue Lucas with racing pundit and commentator Derek Thomson EMN-180907-170506002
Racecourse director Sue Lucas with racing pundit and commentator Derek Thomson EMN-180907-170506002

Market Rasen Racecourse groundstaff did a superb job to provide some of the best racing conditions in the country for Sunday’s meeting.

Led by head groundsman Steve Bakin, they battled two dry months to ensure excellent racing, bucking the trend of reduced entries at many jump tracks recently.

Nadia Powell, racecourse general manager, said: “We have been doing 12 hours a day watering every day for three weeks and it has really paid off.”

There was a healthy crowd for one of the most popular summer racedays, the Don Noble Bookmakers Family Extravaganza.

On the course, one highlight came in the second race when champion jockey Richard Johnson steered Yensir (5/4f) to victory in the Don Noble Bookmaker Novices Hurdle.

Johnson will be hoping for many rides like this as he seeks to retain his crown come the season’s end next spring.

It completed a hat-trick of successive wins for the horse since he moved to the yard of Olly Murphy, at Wilmcote.

The first chase of the afternoon was the Manny Burnstein Novices Handicap Chase, with a total prize money pot of £7,900.

AGentleman (6/1) showed them a clean pair of heels in the race to the line after some decent jumping had put him in front by the last fence.

Ryan Winks, who claimed 5lb, did the steering with the Irish bred Marju’s Quest giving chase as a valiant second under David Noonan.

The winner looked set to open his account at Hexham recently when he came with a well-timed challenge late in the race only to not go through with his effort, but this time he was much more convincing.

The day’s feature race was the £10,000 Elizabeth Noble Memorial Handicap Chase, won by 4/1 shot Elkstone, ridden by Sean Bowen.

The meeting marked the 13th anniversary of the saddest event in the course’s long history when Tom Halliday, a conditional jockey riding for Sue Smith’s yard, died at the course after a fall.

Each year the course remembers Tom with the running of the Tom Halliday Memorial Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle.

Those riding remembered one of their own in the appropriate way, with a line-up in the enclosure.

The winner was Angel of Harman (3/1), trained by Colin Murphy and ridden by Lewis Stones.

Racecourse chairman Tommy Cooper said: “Tom was taken from us far too soon in 2005 and he and his family will always have a special place in our hearts at Market Rasen.

“I know how keen the young jockeys riding today will be to win the race named after one of their own.”