Pip and Bass share Rasen Easter spotlight

Pip Kirkby with her fellow directors and staff at her final meeting EMN-150604-184227001
Pip Kirkby with her fellow directors and staff at her final meeting EMN-150604-184227001

The 32Red Cassino Bank Holiday Monday Family Fun Day meeting at Market Rasen produced some interesting fields for punters in a decent holiday crowd to cast their eyes over.

It was the last meeting for outgoing General Manager Pip Kirkby, bound for pastures new as Chief Executive of the Pony Club after 16 years at the course.

Chairman of Market Rasen Racecourse Colin Booth said: “Pip has been a big act here. When she came there was no Sunday racing, now we have more Sunday meetings than any other course. The enhancement of our race programme is now showcased by summer racing and the Summer Plate. She has really put Market Rasen Racecourse on the map.”

On the course it was jockey David Bass who took the honours with a treble of winners in the first three races.

In the opening race Gold Present (1/8) started the odds on red hot favourite. From the yard of top trainer Nicky Henderson the five-year-old novice had done well in a bumper before winning over hurdles in a week field at Stratford last time. He has a powerful engine and is also a likely chaser but there was little to trouble him here as he came home with Bass on board.

The 32 Red.com Handicap Hurdle was a more open affair with Phare Isle (11/4f) the one to beat on form after an easy win at Huntingdon last time. He showed there he could stay beyond three miles. That effort though was only six days previous which did raise a question mark that proved unfounded as Bass completed a double.

There was local interest in the first chase of the afternoon, a Class 4 Handicap, with Market Rasen handler Michael Chapman saddling The Society Man. His eight-year-old’s record of zero wins from 21 outings is not a proud one, though he fell at the final fence over course and distance in November. Despite that the horse is a consistent sort and regularly gets in the frame. Joe Cornwall was again on board.

The Society Man ran another game race to finish fourth behind Crazy Jack who gave Bass his impressive hat trick achieved with three on the trot and the first three on the card.

The Christine Allen 60th Birthday Handicap Chase looked to be between top weight Less Time (6/4f) and Lord Landen (7/2), and so it proved.

The latter was a bit harshly treated by the handicapper after a second at Towcester last time. The front running Less Time, a winner here in February, was still on a workable mark though despite being top weight.

Top trainer Jonjo O’Neill had Richie McLernon on board Less Time but Lord Landen just had enough in hand to get up on the run in.

Favourite Girl has been in the form of her life recently and she went to post for the feature race on the card, the £10,000 32REd Class 3 Handicap Hurdle, strongly fancied. Three wins over the season and a good second last time was decent form. But she needed a bit extra up against the boys this time and failed to find it as Long House Hall (9/2f) romped home for an easy win.

In the sixth race a Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle, Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddled Lost in New York. The eight-year-old has run well here in the past and the yard had a winner at the last meeting. He has not run beyond two miles before and with Maurice Lineham booked to ride he had a bit too much to do to repeat his win here in December 2013, which came off 5lb lower.

Bottom weight Ruaridh Hugh was well backed down to start 7/2 favourite and showed them all a clean pair of heels after the last to notch another win for Grantham trainer Chris Bielby.

The next meeting at Market Rasen is this Sunday, April 12.