Market Rasen Racing: Favourites dominate at 1940s Raceday

Champion jockey Richard Johnson is watchful of a loose horse as he guides Whatmore to victory in the first half aof a double EMN-190520-164259002
Champion jockey Richard Johnson is watchful of a loose horse as he guides Whatmore to victory in the first half aof a double EMN-190520-164259002

There were few surprises Sunday’s race meeting at Market Rasen’s Sunday race meeting, with six winning favourites on the right-race card.

Whether the bookmakers took a hit at the 1940s Raceday is unknown, but the disappointing cards left a few punters frustrated, with two races won by big odds-on favourites.

Harry Skelton had a double on Sunday's card at Market Rasen. Here he'returns with Istimraar. EMN-190520-164248002

Harry Skelton had a double on Sunday's card at Market Rasen. Here he'returns with Istimraar. EMN-190520-164248002

The first chase of the afternoon was won by 2/9 odds on favourite Whatmore, trained by Henry Daly at Ludlow, and ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson.

Watmore has been a talented hurdler with the physique to adapt to the bigger obstacles, and so it proved.

The only possible threat came from Newtown Boy, but he fell on the back straight with moans from the stands indicating the hopes of a reasonable number of backers had tumbled with him.

The favourite cantered home by 22 lengths as Johnson used all his experience to avoid being impeded and upended by a loose horse on the run-in.

This win over fences was followed in the next race, the Mansionbet Maiden Hurdle (Class 5), by another short-priced favourite.

Akarita Lights was sent off at 1/5, but had to work a good deal harder under Wayne Hutchinson to put just over two lengths between him and second-placed Clem (6/1).

The winner was trained by Alan King who has had a decent number of wins over the years at Rasen.

This was his charge’s first race over timber, having had some success in bumpers, and he is clearly one to follow, having been bred from a St Ledger winner.

It seems hardly a Market Rasen meeting takes place these days without a Skelton winner, and on Sunday there was a double for the Alcester trainer.

Istimraar (6/5f) was ridden by trainer Dan’s brother Harry and he took the lead two out before easing up as the post arrived.

Wins over both sets of fences for the eight-year-old showed there was some ability to work on and three runs in a week clearly did not seem to affect his capacity to do the business.

The £21,800 feature race of the afternoon was the Class 3 Handicap Hurdle over two-mile four-furlongs.

Winner was Irish-bred horse, The Sweeney (11/4f), trained by Emma Lavelle and ridden by Leighton Aspell.

The second Skelton win came in the Dam Buster Chase with Bandsman (11/4f), while Richard Johnson also completed a double when he won on Craigmor (11/8f) in the seventh race.

No local trainers had runners on the day, but Market Rasen jockey Duran Fentiman celebrated his fifth winner of the season when East Street Revue won at Beverley.

The 25/1 shot headed a 15-horse five-furlong sprint on the flat.