Racing returns to Market Rasen this week

First race since February to be staged in Friday...

Market Rasen racecourse. Photo: Getty Images

A terrific renewal of Market Rasen’s showpiece race the Betway Summer Plate is in prospect after 24 horses were entered for the 2020 renewal, to be run on Friday, July 10.

The meeting, staged behind closed doors and with strict protocols, will be the first at the track since February, with the feature races shown live on ITV.

The possibles for the big race include three from the Somerset yard of Trainer Paul Nicholls, including the former Nicky Henderson inmate Lough Derg Spirit, while Ian Williams has entered Royal Village, who was second in the race last year.

David Pipe, who saddled Qulinton to win the race in 2013 is another West Country trainer represented with Teaser.

He said : “He ran well at Market Rasen last season and will be at the right end of the weights.”

Harry Fry is another trainer with three possible, while Peter Bowen, who has won the race six times - the first with Stately Home in 1997 has entered two, including More Buck’s who was pulled up in the race a year ago.

There is also an excellent entry for the other main race, the Betway Summer Hurdle, including the Sophie Leech trained Grapevine, who was a 25-1 winner of the race a year ago.

The weights will be headed by Nicky Henderson’s Brain Power, the winner of the American Grand National.

Henderson won the Summer Plate a year ago, on a day he had four winners on the card and said: “It is very exciting that Market Rasen start the new season with their two prestigious races.

"I am afraid Casablanca Mix has come in looking a bit too well and won’t be ready in time for the Plate, but I am hoping to run Brain Power in the Hurdle.

"After this he is scheduled to go to America where he won their Grand National last year so the timing of the race would be ideal for him.

"It will be very competitive but he is a high class horse.”

Nadia Powell, general manager of Market Rasen Racecourse said: “We are delighted with the entries for these races and indeed for the rest of the eight-race card.

"It is great that we are able to start racing again and while it is sad we cannot welcome the public.

"I am very pleased that owners, subject to BHA regulations, will be able to see their horses run on Friday."

She added: “I am very pleased to announce that in addition to their on-going support of this meeting, which we value hugely, Betway have agreed to sponsor all the races at Market Rasen in July and August.

"Thanks also to ITV who will show our feature races on Friday alongside their coverage of the prestigious July Festival at Newmarket.”