Ten-times champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls is bidding for a big race double at Market Rasen as the racecourse stages the most valuable National Hunt racing in Britain this month.
Alcala landed the £50,000 Summer Plate on Ladies’ Day two months ago – and the seven-year-old is now targeting the same prize pot in Saturday’s 188bet.co.uk Prelude Handicap Chase.
But Paul Nicholls won’t have it all his own way because his former assistant Dan Skelton – this season’s leading jumps trainer – has two horses among the 17 entries for the two miles and five furlongs contest. One of them, Work In Progress, is seeking a hat-trick of victories at the Lincolnshire track.
The Midlands trainer is also sending an old Market Rasen favourite back to the track in Red Tornado, the 2016 Summer Hurdle winner. The five-year-old couldn’t manage the double last year, losing in the 188bet.co.uk Prelude Hurdle, but he returns to try again this time.
The racecourse’s ambassador, 20-year-old jockey Sean Bowen, could also be in action. His father, the Welsh trainer Peter Bowen, has entered three horses in the valuable steeplechase, including Wadswick Court who finished just behind Alcala in the summer.
Also among the entries for the 188bet.co.uk Prelude Chase is the veteran Brave Spartacus, the winner of the Summer Plate two years ago, while Cloonacool, the winner of the Prelude Hurdle in 2015, bids to make up for an unfortunate fall in the corresponding race 12 months ago by regaining the title.
To mark 188Bet Prelude Raceday, the racecourse is teaming up with Fiskerton’s Ferry Ales Brewery to offer visitors a special treat. The Brocklesby Lawn will host a Beer Festival, including real ales.
A special advance only ticket promotion is being offered – two Tattersalls admission badges for £26 (£18 each on the day). The code to use online at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk or by telephone on the tickets hotline, 0344 579 3009, is BEER17.
Nadia Powell, General Manager, Market Rasen Racecourse, said:
“Spectators at the racecourse on 188Bet Prelude Raceday get the best of both worlds. There is an exciting jump racing card, indeed the richest in Britain during September. We are also delighted to have created a partnership with Lincolnshire’s Ferry Ales Brewery to stage a beer festival. It’s a great way to say goodbye to the summer jumping season as we look forward to the sporting delights of the months ahead.”