Market Rasen holds its most prestigious meeting on Saturday with the highlight being the Betfred Summer Plate. Summer Jump racing may not be to everyone’s taste but this meeting at the Lincolnshire course always attracts an enthusiastic crowd with races attracting strong competitive fields. Indeed the main event featured a future Grand National winner in 2012 when Auroras Encore finished down the field, and again in 2013 when on this occasion Pineau De Re was a well beaten 12th. Chances are that the 2015 Grand National winner is not amongst Saturday’s entrants, but the race certainly has its usual competitive look. Jonjo O’Neill has clearly decided that he’d like to win this season’s renewal, and sends four runners to post. Course form has proved a positive in previous Summer Plates, and The Nephew was a course and distance winner less than two weeks ago. (Tipped on this very website). The step up in trip appeared to suit and there’s a strong chance he’s still on a favourable handicap mark. This time though Champion jockey AP McCoy has been snapped up to ride the JP McManus owned It’s A Gimme for the Jonjo O’Neill stable. The horse was rated in the 140’s over hurdles and highly thought of, but has only run three times over fences. He struggled to win a novice chase at Worcester last time out and though clearly talented, this looks a big step up for one so inexperienced. Peter Bowen has a stunning record in this Market Rasen showpiece. He’s won the race three times in the last eight years and has a strongly fancied runner in Book’Em Danno. Six times a course winner and twice this year over course and distance, he looks set to run a huge race. If anything, the supporting event looks even more competitive. The Betfred Summer Hurdle was won last year by John Ferguson’s Sea Lord. His runners this year include Purple Bay; a beaten favourite in his last three runs, he is ridden by 7lb claimer Mikey Ennis. He’s a horse with a touch of class who could run a big race at a decent price. Alan King runs top-weight Montbazon. Good enough to run fourth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle of 2012 his return from injury last season was a little disappointing. He’s had a couple of prep-runs on the flat prior to this and cannot be discounted. Stable companion Uriah Heep is ridden by Richard Johnson. Twice a winner at Stratford already this month he is another interesting contender. Discovery Bay is a horse I fancy at a price. Close behind Willow’s Saviour at Musselburgh last November, (he went on to win the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot) that form appears strong. Trained by Brian Ellison, I think he’ll go close. It’s certain to be a terrific day at Market Rasen. A meeting greatly appreciated by Jump racing fans. Many will be wishing away these summer months, with eyes and minds set on the autumn and the thrilling winter season that lies ahead. To see the JPFestival.com tips this weekend, sign-up as a Community Member for just £6 per month – 4 winners from last 5 Plays!
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