Market Rasen Races: Nicky Henderson leads Summer Plate challenge

Champion jockey Martin Johnson goes in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen Racecourse on Saturday EMN-190716-084519002
Champion jockey Martin Johnson goes in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen Racecourse on Saturday EMN-190716-084519002

Top jumps trainer Nicky Henderson is poised to play a strong hand as he bids to win Market Rasen Racecourse’s showpiece race of the year for the first time.

Three of the four highest-rated entries in the Listed £50,000 Betway Summer Plate, which will be run on Ladies’ Day on Saturday, come from his Berkshire stables.

But they could face stern opposition from last year’s winner More Buck’s, from the training yard of Peter Bowen, who has sent out the winner of the race six times in the last quarter-of-a-century.

The nine-year-old is one of four entries from his Pembrokeshire stables.

Taking the ride on last year’s winner could be James Bowen, the teenage son of the trainer and also the racecourse’s ambassador.

A total of 26 have been put into the two-mile five-furlong race which will be covered live by the cameras of ITV.

Among them is Gone Platinum, the winner of the Summer Plate Trial race at the Lincolnshire track last month and another horse trained in Pembrokeshire.

The other feature race on Saturday is the Listed Betway Summer Hurdle in which many eyes are set to be on Longhouse Sale, who has won all eight of his races to date, including two at Market Rasen.

Trained by Dan Skelton in the Midlands, the five-year-old is the highest-rated of the 17 potential runners in the two-mile race.

John Constable, the winner in 2017, could bid to regain his crown in the £40,000 contest.

The potential mount of the four-time champion jockey Richard Johnson is the Olly Murphy-trained St Gallen, who is unbeaten in two races in Britain since moving from Ireland, including at Market Rasen in May.

For the first time, all of Saturday’s races are sponsored by Betway, which also backs the famous Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The day, held in association with Lincs FM, combines a great Lincolnshire social occasion and fantastic fashions with top-class sport.

Visitors are encouraged to buy their tickets before the day.

Admission to Tattersalls and the Lawn Enclosure is still available, while the popularity of the County Enclosure, VIP Enclosure and VIP Picnic Lawn means they are already sold out.

There is something for everyone on the day, including The Style Awards, held in partnership with Marshall’s Yard shopping centre in Gainsborough, and post-racing entertainment at the Party in the Paddock, with a live DJ set by Artful Dodger.

Racegoers are encouraged to dress to impress and enter the Marshall’s Yard Style Awards for a chance to win £5,000 in prizes and watch fabulous fashion shows throughout the afternoon on the Brocklesby Lawn within the Tattersalls Enclosure.

Nadia Powell, Market Rasen Racecourse general manager, said:

“Betway Summer Plate Ladies’ Day, in association with Lincs FM, is one of the most popular social and sporting occasions of the year in Lincolnshire and always draws in a big crowd.

“We are very pleased to welcome Betway as the new sponsor of the races at our prestigious mid-summer meeting, and we are thrilled with the high-class entries for our feature races which are always ultra-competitive and exciting.

“This year’s Style Awards will be bigger and better than ever and we are delighted to be working with Marshall’s Yard to put on a great show for our visitors.

“We are also thrilled that our Party in the Paddock after racing will star a DJ set with Artful Dodger who will round off a wonderful day by encouraging our visitors to dance into the early evening.”

A Fizz for 4 package is available at just £24.75 per person, which includes a bottle of Prosecco to share, four raceday programmes and Tattersalls tickets.

Further details are at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/marketrasen where tickets can be bought in advance from £12.60.

Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge.

The first race is at 1.35pm, two hours after gates open, and the finale is at 5.05pm.

Lawn Enclosure visitors will need to upgrade their tickets to get access after racing to the Party in the Paddock.