A rather unique and very popular National Hunt-only racecourse in England is Market Rasen, situated in Lincolnshire.
It features some high-profile summer jumping, including its ever-popular Summer Plate fixture. The Summer Plate us scheduled for the third Saturday each July, providing jumping fans, jockeys, owners and trainers the chance of grabbing some good prize money away from the main NH season.
- Address – Market Rasen Racecourse, Legsby Road, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, LN8 3EA.
- Owner – The Jockey Club.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Market Rasen is yet another track which shows off British racing at its brilliant best in that no two tracks are truly like each other.
This one is right-handed, generally sharp in nature, with some small hills and ridges for horses to tackle as they go round.
We’ve always known Market Rasen to favour agile types as it is known as a sharp track, though the home straight is very long and the ground can get testing so do be aware of these factors also.
Fences are pretty easy, which is another thing that negates the outright need for speed which has always been thought to be an advantage here, as momentum over the obstacles can be maintained by galloping types. They will need to corner well, however.
Jockeys appear to back up some of the above, thoughts on the track that go against what many have believed for years in terms of Market Rasen suiting nippy types.
Riders in fact feed back that the ability to travel well throughout a race is needed here as, despite the undulations being no issue, it can be difficult to come from behind and make up significant ground.
Many a jockey has gone into the final turn at Market Rasen sitting cold in the saddle, believing they have time, only for the frontrunners to kick away and not be caught. This is a regular occurrence. The straight is long but those at the front can often keep skipping over fences or hurdles and not come back to the pack.
Visiting Market Rasen Racecourse
Market Rasen is in a nice part of the world, so be sure to head off in whatever direction is appropriate from the racecourse and see what Lincolnshire has to offer.
How to Get to Market Rasen
The racecourse can be accessed from the A1, M1 and the A46. It is always well signposted, so once you’re in the vicinity it shouldn’t be hard to find.
From the M1, drivers should exit at junction 24. From there, follow signs for the A453 towards Nottingham, then the A52 and onto the A46 to Newark.
If you’re using the A1, to the exit signed for Newark, Lincoln and the A46. Follow the A46 all the way which will take you to Market Rasen where the racecourse is signposted.
Many visitors take the M18 from the north of Market Rasen. If you are, exit to the M180 signed for Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Humberside Airport. Next, take the A15 exit signposted for Lincoln. After that, take the A631 exit towards Market Rasen.
If you connect via Grimsby or Leicester then you can take a train to Market Rasen. The train station is then just a 30-minute walk or 5-minute taxi ride from the racecourse.
Where to Stay
While hotel rooms within Market Rasen are few and far between, if you are willing to stay a little outside and travel in then you are spoilt for choice.
Picturesque Lincoln is only 18 miles away and this is probably the best option. It’s only around 20 miles to the east coast and to Grimsby, Sheffield is 60 miles to the west while those holidaying in Skegness are only 37 miles from the racecourse.
Market Rasen Racecourse Fixtures
|Thursday||7th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Tuesday||26th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
Biggest Market Rasen Races
Market Rasen’s biggest meeting is the Summer Plate fixture in July. The Summer Plate and the Summer Hurdle feature and are among the most important and most valuable National Hunt races in the summer.
Here are the best races run each year at Market Rasen, in NH season order:
|Summer Plate Trial||5yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 3||2m5½f||June|
|Handicap Hurdle||4yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||2m4½f||July|
|Summer Hurdle||3yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||2m½f||July|
|Summer Plate||4yo+, Handicap Chase, Grade 3||2m5½f||July|
|Handicap Hurdle||4yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||2m7f||July|
|Just Jane Juvenile Hurdle||3yo Only, Hurdle, Class 2||2m½f||September|
|Golden Fleece Chase||4yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 3||2m5½f||September|
|Prelude Hurdle||3yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||2m½f||September|
|Handicap Hurdle||3yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 3||2m4½f||October|
|Limited Handicap Chase||4yo+, Novices’ Handicap Chase, Class 3||2m1f||October|
|Prelude Chase||4yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 2||2m5½f||October|
|Bud Booth Mares’ Chase||4yo+, Mares Only, Chase, Listed Race||3m||November|
|Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier||4yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||2m7f||November|
|Lincolnshire National||4yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 3||3m3½f||December*|
|Handicap Hurdle||4yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 3||2m½f||February|
|Handicap Hurdle||4yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 3||2m4½f||March|
|Limited Handicap Chase||5yo+, Novices’ Handicap Chase, Class 3||2m1f||April|
*Boxing Day fixture
About Market Rasen Racecourse
Though Market Rasen stages its National Hunt meetings all year round, including on Boxing Day which features the Lincolnshire National, the focus here is on summer jumping.
When ‘Big Mac’ John McCririck was in his pomp on television, he fondly referred to Market Rasen as “The Raspberry” with the “betting jungle” there particularly competitive on Summer Plate day in July.
Racing was already being staged at various places in and around Market Rasen from around 1828 until 1924. Racing on Feast Week was staged each autumn between 1828 and 1887, and when steeplechasing was introduced in the mid-19th century a second meeting was added to the schedule.
The second meeting was held each spring from 1871 onwards, in fact it still continues today. With the two racing fixtures growing in popularity year-on-year, a permanent home for the sport was found on Willingham Road in 1924.
The responsibility of running the racecourse fell to Victor Lucas who did so from 1945 right up until his death in 1971. Lucas planned the course’s layout as well as the parade ring, paddock, weighing room and stands.
During Lucas’ tenure Market Rasen’s fixtures expanded. They went from three yearly meetings in the 40’s right up to twelve in 1967 while there are even more now.
In 1967, the racecourse was sold to the Racecourse Holding Trust. That was a subsidiary of the Jockey Club, while these days the track is listed as being owned directly by Jockey Club Racecourses alongside the likes of Haydock, Newmarket, Sandown Park and others.