Richard Johnson sweeps to victory at wintry, windswept Market Rasen Racecourse
A BITING wind and snow storm tested the fortitude of spectators at Market Rasen for the racecourse's first meeting of 2013.
But despite the cold conditions, top jockey Richard Johnson was in hot form.
After the meeting at Sedgefield was called off because of the weather, Johnson rode eight-year-old 7/4 favourite Gallox Bridge, for Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan, in the afternoon feature race at Rasen on Tuesday.
Just five went to post for the Magners Golden Draught Novices Chase. The winning distance was 14 lengths, with the Alan King-trained Volcam Surprise finishing second.
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Gallox Bridge was making his chase debut, but he was well backed in the market despite doubts about his willingness to perform on the soft ground.
The opening race, the Worthington Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, saw odds-on favourite Bordoni, under Denis O'Regan, seize the initiative two out before triumphing by nine lengths.
Trained by John Ferguson, the four year old had looked set to make his hurdling debut a winning one last time out, only to run out.
But there were no such errors this time as he easily saw off 12-1 shot Somemothersdohavem.
Joint favourite Le Reve (9-4), with Leighton Aspell on board, got up by a neck in the second race, a Class 3 Novices Hurdle.
Trained by Lucy Wadham, the horse was dropped in class for the race.
Delighted with the outcome, she said: "He nearly got knocked over at the first hurdle but stayed on well and will get a three-mile chase in the long run.
"He ran at Sandown in a quality field but did the business here at Rasen and might just have come of age."
The fourth race, a qualifier in the Jockey Club Grassroots Series, was won in impressive style by top weight Winds and Waves.
Last time out, he ran away with a conditionals handicap and defied a penalty for that here under Jake Greenall.
The 4-1 shot had a four-length margin from Koultas King, another trained by Vaughan, when the winning post arrived.
Brigg trainer Nick Kent saddled Combustible Kate, who finished well back.
O Crotaigh loves Market Rasen and, after showing little this season, he somehow rediscovered form in the Eric and Lucy Papworth Chase.
The nine year old won four times here last term, including three over this two-mile six-furlong trip.
Danny Cook enjoyed a comfortable, nine-length winning advantage.
The CGA Foxhunter Trial Maiden Hunter Class was won by Current Exchange (7-4), under amateur rider Tom David. The eight-year-old horse had won seven of nine starts between the flags at point to points. And after bagging a good second place at Bangor in May, his good form continued at Rasen.
Top trainer Donald McCain saddled Hellorboston, who won the bumper at the bottom of the card.
The next meeting at Market Rasen is on Sunday, February 17.