Sitting almost half-way between Lincoln and Grimsby, Market Rasen is a small, quiet country town for 95% of the year. Then on a racing day it comes alive. Despite racing taking place around Market Rasen since the middle of the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1924 when horses first ran at the current course. Today, Market Rasen stages National Hunt meetings all year round with a strong emphasis on summer jumping. Two of its seasonal highlights, the Listed Summer Plate and the Summer Hurdle, both take place during the same Saturday meeting in mid-July.
Whilst the masses may head to Kempton Park on Boxing Day for the Grade 1 King George VI Chase, you can do worse if you are north of Watford than heading into the Lincolnshire countryside for an afternoon of racing. Around 9,000 traditionally head to this meeting, braving the chilly conditions to see some decent racing.
Our last visit – December 2016
Faced with the choice of heading to watch some football or coming to Market Rasen on Boxing Day I really didn’t need to think for too long. CMF was in, Northern Steve and Rach were in and even Lolly was in for a bit of racing. We perhaps misjudged the number of people who also had the same idea, arriving an hour after the racing started as we had to take a tour of small Lincolnshire villages.
The Lincolnshire world and their wives had headed to Market Rasen despite the cold and we had to fight for some space on the hill in the Lawn Enclosure – having missed two races of a six race card there wasn’t any compelling reason to head into the County Enclosure. Queues greeted us at every turn but we were here for three races and so the concentration was on the horses with Northern Steve and I agreeing on a competition to see who would get the best return from an initial £10 pot.
I’d had a couple of earlier bets via my online account but got no joy so it was all about the third race where the favourite Unzing looked the best bet and sure enough gave me a 10/3 winner, whilst Lolly No Ceiling with it’s rebellious colours got a good second. Race one and £35 up. The fourth race also saw the favourite, Vinny Red romp home but I’d gone with Masterplan at 16/1 which limped home 6th. Northern Steve’s cheeky e/w on Master Jake saw him win that race.
So it was all down to the fifth race of the day, the 2:20pm. I went Amiral Collonges (8/1), Steve went Grove Silver (4/1)….It was tight but 2nd beat 4th and I came out on top. We agreed to go all or nothing on the sixth race, the most open one to date. We randomly chose the Irish horse Improved, at 12/1 whilst Lolly’s £1 bet was on My Anchor at 33/1. Her horse came in a distant second whilst our’s just sneaked in in fourth place. Our profit had been wiped out but Lolly had won enough to pay for our day out – of course being a good Dad I let her keep her stake money.
What’s the track like?: Flat and National Hunt races. Right handed, sharp with minor undulations. Generally favours nippy types plenty of races being won by those who quicken best on the run to the first obstacle in the home straight.
Admission: Market Rasen offer some of the best value racing in England with admission to the Lawn Enclosure starting online at just £7.20 (£8 on the day). Whilst facilities are relatively basic in the Lawn Enclosure with food outlets and a couple of bars, it does offer a close-up view of the action. The Tattersalls Enclosure starts from £14.40 (£16 on the day) whilst the County Enclosure is £18.90 (£21 on the door) – the latter two offer access to the Parade Ring. There are a number of packages that offer admission/food/drink/racecard.
Food & Drink: The Brocklesby Suite Restaurant packages start from £55 as well as Hospitality Boxes. The food and drink options around the course are bountiful including the Red Rum Bar and the Victor Lucas Bar which has excellent views of the finishing line.
Address: Market Rasen Racecourse, Legsby Road, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, LN8 3EA
Directions: Access via the M1, A1 and A46, the racecourse is well signposted on the east side of Market Rasen alongside the A631. From the A1 please take the exit sign posted to Newark, Lincoln A46 and Newark North Gate Train Station. Then follow the A46 all the way to Market Rasen.
From the M1 please exit at junction 24 and follow the A453 into Nottingham following A52 then onto the A46 to Newark.
From the M18 (North of Market Rasen) please exit onto the M180 sign posted to Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Humberside Airport. Then take the exit onto the A15 sign posted to Lincoln. Then take an exit onto the A631 sign posted to Market Rasen.
The course offers ample free car parking in the public car parks. Free preferential parking areas are provided near the entrances for disabled visitors who are holders of the Blue Badge parking label. Alternatively you can park in one of our picnic car parks and watch the racing from the comfort of your own car. The picnic car parks are accessible from the Willingham and Legsby Roads at a charge of £5 per car £10 for mini buses (plus Lawn Enclosure admission per adult occupant).
Market Rasen has its own railway station and is approximately 1 mile from the racecourse. Head up to Oxford Road then do a right into Willingham Road and take the fourth right into Legsby Road – the racecourse is a ten minute walk down this road.
Hotels near-by: The nearest hotel to the course is The White Swan in Market Rasen which also offers some superb food. There’s plenty of superb small hotels, bed and breakfasts and manor houses within an hour of Market Rasen including those on offer in Lincoln including The Gables Retreat which offers country activities including fishing and shooting.