The jumps meeting at Market Rasen is often one of the best meetings of the summer over obstacles. And the most recent renewal certainly didn’t disappoint. The Summer Plate, a listed handicap chase, is the highlight of the meeting. This time around we saw a very impressive winner.
The Nicky Henderson trained Casablanca Mix made a mockery of the supposedly competitive field to take the race by eight lengths. It looks as though the horse can go onto even bigger and better things when the jump season begins in earnest in the autumn.
This was her second win in a row, following success at Aintree in May. That wasn’t as competitive a race as the Summer Plate, and the winning margin was smaller so there were no signs that this horse was coming to life. However, after winning the big race at Market Rasen in such impressive style, it is now certainly time to sit up and take note of Casablanca Mix.
She won at Aintree off a mark of 138 and then won the Summer Plate off 143. That has put her up to a mark of 151 ahead of the new season. Of course, that’s assuming that Casablanca Mix is going to now be put away for a couple of months and not run again this summer.
That mark gives her two options ahead of the new season. The first is to remain in handicaps and target all of the big races. Connections would probably start with something like the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November, one of the biggest early-season handicaps. Then she can continue to work through the handicap calendar, taking in the big ones before running at Cheltenham and Aintree in good races in 2020.
A nice four timer @MarketRasenRace today thanks to Gunnery, Casablanca, Follow The Bear and Tales Of The Tweed. Well done to all the team at home for keeping the show on the road! pic.twitter.com/thmovwYOAd
— Nicky Henderson (@sevenbarrows) July 20, 2019
The second option is something that she can take advantage of by being a mare and this is the current mares program on offer. We have a number of listed chases for mares only and with a rating in the 150s, she should be very competitive in these. In fact, she could potentially be the best-rated horse in the race when she goes there.
The mares program is good for the sport, but we still have a shortage of mares in training. So these races are often great opportunities for anyone with a decent mare to win some good prize money as the entries are usually pretty low in numbers.
I think where ever Casablanca Mix goes this coming season, she should be able to pay her way. Will she mop up the mares races that are on offer against slightly inferior opposition? Or will she head to the very big handicaps throughout the season to try and pick up some big place money? She could even win one!
This looks to be yet another good horse in the Nicky Henderson yard who he will no doubt be looking forward to unleashing on us when the national hunt season begins.