Market Rasen Racecourse is situated in Lincolnshire. Larger-than-life racing pundit John McCririck affectionately called it “The Raspberry”. McCririck has sadly passed. But while alive, he clearly loved being in the “betting jungle” of Market Rasen. He was, of course, referring to the big summer meeting.
The track sits 18 miles from Lincoln and 21 from Grimsby. Therefore, it draws good support despite its perceived lack of quality of races.
The Popularity of Market Rasen Racecourse
While the racecourse hosts many meetings, the Summer Plate fixture is the most popular at Market Rasen. It occurs in July and includes the Summer Hurdle and Summer Plate. These races are in fact among the most high-profile and valuable jumps races during the summer months in Britain, in this case, the end of July.
Whatever people say about the quality of the action throughout the year, Market Rasen does attract the best trainers and jockeys. In fact, over the past five seasons, Harry Skelton was the most successful rider. That’s even ahead of other top riders Aidan Coleman, multiple champion Richard Johnson, Paddy Brennan, and Sam Twiston-Davies.
The top trainers over the same time period are Harry Skelton’s brother Dan and Warwickshire-based Olly Murphy. Also, Dr Richard Newland, Cheltenham trainer Fergal O’Brien, and superstar handler Nicky Henderson come to Market Rasen Racecourse.
The track accommodates more than 20 race meetings each season at Market Rasen Racecourse and all are popular. Every single calendar month features at least one fixture here with the season being nicely spaced out.
Market Rasen Racecourse Track Details
This track only stages National Hunt racing. The track is relatively sharp at a mile and a quarter in total length, going right-handed all the way around.
There are just five hurdles to take, two of them being on the home straight, while the chase course features seven fences in total; three plain fences on the straight, two more on the back straight, and two open ditches. The track undulates just a little, especially around the back.
This course is generally seen as favouring sure-footed, quick types although the ground here can get very testing when the rain comes. Usually, races are won by horses who can quicken up on the run to the first fence or hurdle in the straight, with the obstacles described as being pretty easy.
Performance at Market Rasen Racecourse
According to those who have ridden the track, Market Rasen Racecourse is fairly unique in that it is one of few courses that does not require horses to have to travel easily through a race.
Despite its mainly flat topography, it remains a hard place to make up a lot of ground on and so being held-up too far off the pace is not advised.
Jockeys have reported believing they have plenty of time to catch up those on the leading end when turning into the straight, but this rarely works out for them with leaders kicking on from the turn, despite this being a long way out, not coming back to the pack too easily.
Regardless of the actual length which isn’t too arduous in truth, most riders believe that the home straight rides very long. But unless the ground comes up particularly soft, only the classiest of hold-up horses with a genuinely smart turn of foot will be able to change the complexion of a race late in the day.
Ticket Prices at Market Rasen
Tickets start at £7.50, £9, or £10 depending on the race day. That’s incredibly cheap for horse racing. In fact, Summer Plate Ladies Day prices are even this low. However, hospitality packages cost £120 that day and are very popular. The cheap price of tickets is Market Rasen’s USP. It’s to their great credit that they do not put the burden of hosting such great days onto the racegoer.
Market Rasen Racecourse’s Biggest Races
As we mentioned previously, Market Rasen’s summer racing takes the biscuit. The track’s most prevalent meeting is the Summer showpiece in late July. However, apart from the two feature races, there are a couple of other particularly important events in the autumn time too:
- Summer Handicap Hurdle – Listed Hurdle, 2m, July
- Summer Plate – Listed Chase, 2m 5½f, July
- Prelude Handicap Hurdle – Listed Handicap Hurdle, 2m, September
- Prelude Handicap Chase – Listed Handicap Chase, 2m, September
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