Noel Fahily keeps cool for double win at Market Rasen
A BITTERLY cold afternoon greeted runners, riders and spectators at Market Rasen racecourse's latest meeting.
The topical tip of the afternoon was The Big Freeze, who ran in the third race but could only finish third.
However, trainer Charlie Longsdon and jockey Noel Fahily did have the warm satisfaction of a double victory.
Things began badly for the duo. Spirit of Shankley failed to score in the first race, despite being sent to the start as 1/6 favourite – he finished second behind Gee Hi in the TJS Van and Truck Rental National Hunt Novices Hurdle.
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Gee Hi moved clear two flights out, extending his advantage to six lengths by the time the post arrived, proving once again there is no such thing as a dead cert.
Lucky Landing, trained by Tony Coyle, was 2/1 favourite in the second race – the Class 4 Double M Novices Hurdle.
The seven-year-old had run a close second at Carlisle only three days previously, but seemed to be better for that as he romped home six lengths clear under Brian Toomey.
Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddled Bowie (5/2) in this race and he was given a good ride by Harry Haynes, who got his mount to stay on well through the run in.
After their frustration in the opener, Longsdon and his jockey Fehily did not need to wait long for a winner as Little Chip (6/1) put an initial struggled behind him to claim the Harry Hall Happy 80th Birthday Handicap Chase by three and a quarter lengths.
Another success for the pair came in 4.50pm as Topaze Collonges (7/2) in the Double M Handicap Chase – holding off a late challenge from 2/1 favourite Oranger.
Dominic Elsworth combined with top weight, Sixth Something, in the feature race – the £7,800 Calverts Carpets York Handicap Hurdle.
After injecting some pace into the race with a lap to go, Paul Webber's grey (13/2) looked to be in control, but idled in front as the post approached.
However, he still had enough to see off Crowning Jewel by a length.
In the Delaney's Golden Birthday Bash Novice's Handicap Chase, another favourite – Cara Court – was outshone by 12/1 shot Ohms Law.
That was a first win for Hinckley trainer Anthony Day, under rules.
There was a much improved run from Michael Chapman's Xenophon, who turned around poor recent form to triumph by a length.
Wily Fox (4/1 favourite) won the final race – the TJS Self Drive Conditional Jockey's Handicap Hurdle – to see off a challenge from O'Malley's.