by Dom Bradshaw

Good ground (with soft patches in the straight), a clear sky and a fair bit of sunshine welcomed us to the LUHC fixture at Market Rasen on Sunday. 

The opening race, The Club Members looked a duel on paper between Hooded Hawk (Laura Eddery) and Fine Times (Matthew Mackley) and proved to be just that with Matthew Mackley showing the most initiative, kicking on after two out to score by four lengths with the Gill Walford trained horse back in second.
The winner, trained by Milsom Robinson, has not been given the credit he deserves by some parties and did nothing wrong here. This was his third victory and with conditions in his favour (seems to relish the tight bends of Market Rasen), he has time on his side and the scope to go onto better things.
The runner up jumped well throughout and will benefit from this run and his relatively inexperienced rider will learn a lot from this.
Hopping Mad (Edward Gretton) came home a distant third, but showed up well for a long way. She's still a Maiden and if she can reproduce this sort of form then a Maiden win is not beyond her.

In the Confined, Just Jake came through late under a sweet ride from Nicky Tinkler to win by six lengths from Maitre De Musique (Michael Tate) with Oliver Himself (Stuart Morris) a further two lengths away in third.
The winner was a sub three miler under rules when trained by Malcolm Jefferson, but the trip here appeared to be no problem. He'll probably be suited by the easier tracks, such as this one, and must be followed.
The runner up will come on for this run, as will the third, which was returning from a long absence and ran a blinder after such a long layoff.
Fourth placed Matchless (Ed Andrewes) and fifth Inch Cross (Richard Hunnisett) appeared to blow up and should be a lot straighter next time.

The evergreen 14-year-old Copper Thistle (Richard Hunnisett) was hoping to open his 2002 account in the PPORA Club Race but had to settle for second place behind Stuart Morris on Ebullient Equiname. The winner had looked ungenuine in his previous attempts but benefited from the gentle persuasion of his rider, taking up the running after the last to score by a length. Whilst in this mood, the partnership can score again. 
Copper Thistle isn't getting any faster, but still jumps as well as ever and is capable of taking a couple of small races again this season.
The favourite, Our Man Flin (Lizzie Neyens) was a disappointing third, never looking a real danger to the front two. The course may have been a little bit tight for him and he can atone on a stiffer course.
Lucky Ross (Ed Andrewes) was again disappointing back in fourth and he will have to show more enthusiasm if he is to trouble the judge.

Stuart Morris was going for a double in the next, the Restricted, aboard the impressive Thorpe Lodge Maiden winner, Marston Moses, but on this occasion he had to be content with third place behind Clashbridane (Mark Walford) and Mandate Man (David Thomas).
Clashbridane has run well at this level before and deserved to get his head in front. His rider, Mark Walford, seems to have improved no end and is a worthy pilot these days. The partnership will have a plenty of fun this season and a victory in a higher grade cannot be ruled out.
The runner up was having his first run in this country after showing some decent form in Ireland. He has the ability to take a Restricted, as does Marston Moses, who was far from disgraced. With the track and possibly the going not altogether suitable, this was a commendable effort and he would appear to be a "good thing" for a Restricted, if not more.
The gambled on Hadaway Lad (Noel Wilson) showed little back in fourth. He'll have to improve if he is to score at this level.

The 5, 6 & 7-year-old Maiden was divided on the day with Division One going to the Bill Warner trained Henry Henbit, providing Stuart Morris with his second victory of the day. He has the scope to take a Restricted, though probably not immediately.
Society Scandal (Patrick Millington) showed improved form to take second and is capable of taking a weak Maiden, especially with a stronger pilot.
The favourite, Suetsu (Noel Wilson) was still travelling well when exiting. She obviously has some ability, but has failed to complete in her two starts to date. If giving the fences a little more respect, then she should be scoring before long, as will the third, pointing debutant Beedulup (Trevor Glass).
This was the slowest race of the day (7 mins 2.4sec), so the form may be slightly suspect.

The Second Division went to Saxon Victory (Richard Armson) who stayed on to deny Ice Saint (Tim Lane) after jumping the last together. The winner has looked a bit of a thinker under rules but stayed on well to the line. If in this frame of mind, he is capable of progressing.
The runner up looked to have the race in the bag until tying up after the last. He's capable of winning a Maiden, but may need a short course to do so.
Sounds Promising (Kevin Green) stepped up on his promising run at Thorpe Lodge a fortnight earlier to finish a further four lengths down in third. Like the runner up, he has the ability to take a Maiden.
Where Eagles Dare (Guy Brewer) was having his first start over obstacles after a few runs on the flat. He jumped fast and economically until catching the top on the second circuit, ending up on the deck. He was still travelling well at the time and is one for the notebook.

Vino Tinto, who made a good impression when third on his debut at Alnwick, stepped up in fine style to land Division One of the older Maiden for the Clive\Marty Mulhall yard. The 8-year-old son of Glacial Storm did this well, holding off the challenge of Lingham Lady (Stephen Swiers). The winner looks a useful type who could step up in company this season whilst the runner up is more than capable of taking a Maiden.
Gale Damage (Matthew Mackley) was a good third and like the runner up, has the ability to take a Maiden, though his preferred track and conditions remain to be seen.
Bow Rocky (Richard Barrett), a debutant for the Tik Saunders stable ran well for a long way before fading out of contention. He's a nice looking individual and is in a yard that doesn't tend to hang onto bad horses (this one is a previously unraced 9-year-old). Keep a close eye on him.

The final event, Division Two of the older Maiden provided the most drama of the day. Mullensgrove (Sarah Phizacklea) looked to have got the better of Eco Warrior (Nick Bell) after he'd ran wide off the final turn. However, the race wasn't over yet as Mullensgrove capsized at the last with the race at his mercy. This left Eco Warrior to come home in splendid isolation with Princess Derry (Chris Cundall) a distant second. But the drama wasn't over yet. Arctic Corner came to the last, attempting to take a distant third, but also came to grief. This left Rocabessa (Andrew Pennock) who was almost at a stand still at this point to just about clear the fence, but it was all in vain as he was then beaten by the remounted Mullensgrove for third place.
The winner was lucky here, as he had drifted off the rail and Mullensgrove appeared to have the beating of him. He will have to improve to take a Restricted.
Mullensgrove has run well in both starts this season and shouldn't be far away in future.
One for the notebook is Flashtide (Stuart Morris) who ran an eyecatching race in rear until pulling up before two out. Keep an eye on him in future Maidens.

This was another well-organised fixture by the L.U.H.C. and I look forwards to returning to Market Rasen again in two weeks for the Burton fixture.