Market Rasen Racecourse witnessed thrilling racing and social events during 2019.
On the track, the crowds watched as trainer Dan Skelton emulated Martin Pipe’s 200 winners during one season and enjoyed Nicky Henderson’s memorable Betway Summer Plate Ladies’ Day when he struck with four winners.
The first ‘Love Market Rasen’ raceday was held in February, there were two Family Extravaganza meetings as well as Jockey Club Live concerts with Madness and Craig David.
The first major race of the year, the Listed Alan Swinbank Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, went the way of Who What When, trained in Kent by Murty McGrath.
On ‘Love Market Rasen’ raceday – which celebrated everything that is great about the town - Brave Spartacus demonstrated his liking for the Lincolnshire racecourse. Four seasons ago he won the Listed Summer Plate and he returned as a 13-year-old to land the Mayors Race Handicap Chase. The veteran horse was back during Uncle Henry’s Family Extravaganza day in July – and he won again for trainer Gillian Boanas.
On Easter Sunday Dan Skelton created history as he became only the second trainer ever to send out 200 winners during a jump racing season. He completed the feat, only previously achieved by multiple trainers’ championship winner Martin Pipe, with a superb quartet of winners in Lincolnshire, plus a further two at Plumpton. The landmark 200th winner was ridden by brother Harry on board the 4-6 favourite Montego Grey.
In May, Micky Hammond had fellow trainer Richard Guest to thank for a winner as he came to the rescue when the horsebox carrying Rory And Me broke down on the way to Market Rasen. The 16-1 chance won the Pipers Crisps-sponsored bumper under jockey Alain Cawley after getting a lift to the track.
Crowds flocked to the racecourse for two Jockey Club Live events in June and August, starring Madness, Artful Dodger and Craig David respectively.
The racing and social highlight of Market Rasen Racecourse’s year is always Betway Summer Plate Ladies’ Day in association with Lincs FM in July.
Nicky Henderson enjoyed four winners as racegoers came out in big numbers. They included the 5-1 joint favourite Casablanca Mix in the Listed £50,000 Betway Summer Plate. That was the icing on the cake for the yard on top of wins for Gunnery, Follow The Bear and Tales Of The Tweed, with the trainer full of praise for the racecourse which he described as “a great track on a great day with great prize-money. There’s a great crowd and a great atmosphere”.
The major supporting race on Ladies’ Day was the Listed £40,000 Summer Handicap Hurdle which went to 25-1 chance Grapevine for trainer Sophie Leech and jockey Connor Brace.
Racecourse ambassador, jockey James Bowen, put himself in the spotlight when riding Get An Oscar to victory during August’s Age UK Family Extravaganza meeting.
Scarlet Dragon made his first visit to Market Rasen a winning one in the feature race on Ferry Ales Brewery Prelude Day at the end of September. Trained by Alan King, the six-year-old was sent off the 9-4 favourite for the £35,000 extended two-mile Listed hurdle sponsored by the Lincolnshire brewery.
The Virgin Bet Prelude Handicap Chase has proved a tricky test for punters over its 15-year history and so it proved again as the outsider of nine horses claimed victory in the £50,000 contest on Autumn Ladies’ Day in October.
Before the end of the year, there was another big attendance as the racecourse hosted Rand Farm Park Boxing Day At The Races.