Racecourse closures a reminder of Market Rasen's importance to area
THE closure of Hereford and Folkestone racecourses is a reminder to all local racing devotees what a thriving racing venue we have at Market Rasen.
This was further underlined at Rasen's renowned Boxing Day meeting, when a bumper crowd of more than 10,000 packed inside the Lincolnshire course.
The closures remind us of how racing is vulnerable, like all industry, in a time of recession.
Thankfully, Market Rasen has an exciting programme in store for 2013.
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The biggest meeting of the year will once again be the feature Summer Plate day on July 21.
The summer evening meetings including Ladies Night and Music Night will again prove hugely popular, but it will be worth keeping an eye on the sport's leading jockey as he closes in on a personal milestone.
Battered and bruised, AP McCoy soldiers on through the pain barrier towards his target of 4,000 winners.
Already the only jump jockey to ride 3,000 winners, a target he reached in 2009, the champ stood on 3,694 wins with just 306 more to reach the magic 4,000 as the year ended.
Will Market Rasen host the day when he gets there – who knows?
McCoy has fond memories of Market Rasen, not least of the day he rode his five winners out of seven races in 2002.
It was his best ever day's work anywhere.
Last month, he rode his 100th winner of the 2012-13 season.
It came at Hereford – sandwiched between a couple of bad days at the office.
First, an errant hurdler at Stratford left him sore and lame – and unusually taking a day off. Then, while on his way to the start at Wetherby, he caught the full force of a hoof in his face after being tipped off.
A hurried journey to York Hospital repaired the damage. Twenty stitches were applied and three teeth needed major dentistry, but typically he was in the saddle the next day.
In his career, broken ribs and a punctured lung are among the worst injuries he has suffered.
This remarkably dedicated and modest sportsman is now the respected leader of his craft.
He will be worth following in 2013, for it may well be the year he reaches the magic target of 4,000 – let's hope it's at Market Rasen!