Market Rasen (Jockey Club)
Flat, Hurdles, Fences
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from Kings Cross (2.45 with one change at Newark)
Bus from Lincoln (53 minutes)
Town to Racecourse (1.2 miles)
Taxis 2 (Literally)
Multiple bars, entertainment suites and tote throughout.
B&B available above pubs and a single hotel in centre of town
County (£21), Tattersalls (£16), plus meal offers available (£28)
(2) Return before challenge complete
March 14th – UK Tracks Visited (4)
Working on the principle of perception being everything, Market Rasen was one of the most delightful surprises we have yet encountered. When a course is way off in the country with not too much surrounding it, one gets the feeling that it will be small and low on facilities, somewhat basic. Market Rasen is anything but this.
Although the town itself is quiet and small, once you make the walk to the track, which is just over a mile, you see a well signed and well organised event. A large amount of car parking space is available to the day trippers and marshals are very visible. When you reach the gates of the track itself there is a well ordered system for entry and problems were dealt with easily and efficiently. Walking into the main entrance takes you straight past the weighing room and offices, which is where you find the winners enclosure. Stable blocks off to the left hand side afford a first view of the combatants.
Entering the track area proper you have the usual array of fast food vans and a BetFred bookies. Everywhere else the site is equipped with Tote outside and in every bar, which makes the process of betting and imbibing as painless as possible. We chose to get County tickets and proudly wearing our day passes, we moved into the slightly less crowded County enclosure, which also encompasses the winning line, so gives the best views at the business end of events.
Once suitably refreshed from our walk (and pleased to say champagne was on show for reasonable prices) we picked our winners (sic) from the Racing Post. Both Racing Post and race cards are available across the site. With our bets placed for other tracks, we started the merry-go-round of the next seven races. Parade Ring, (which is in the Tattershall enclosure and so available to all), Tote and then winning post. The races on the day we visited were all over 2 miles and some as long as 3 which makes for much more of a spectacle, especially when the entire racecourse is visible and repeater screens help to bring the detail up close. On the cold March day, we may have spent slightly more time inside than would normally be the case, but the weak Winter sunshine did afford us a little warmth to the bones for the first half of the race card.
Upon completion of the day, and just missing out on a large Kelso place pot (story of my life) we made the now slightly longer journey back to our lodgings. This allowed us on a Sunday night to find one of the quirks of Market Rasen, almost nowhere to eat. The Gate Indian restaurant still serves into the evening but all the other pubs seem to stop at 6. But after a day of racing, a little curry is never a bad thing and is most definitely warming.
The most important point, would we return before the end of the challenge, or ever? Most certainly, this course is a delight as are the people who staff it. The only thing I would say is, next time, we may not decide to stay in the town itself, but possibly use a bus from Lincoln, Grimsby or Doncaster. Apparently, you can still eat there on Sunday night.