MUSSELBURGH – Friday April 3rd
Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)
Like the curtain at the start of a play, the coastal fog lifted just before the start of the first race, and so there was a sunny start to the Scottish flat racing season 2009. The ground reflected the dry weather of recent weeks, being recorded as generally fast.
2.20 5f 0-70 Handicap
I had marked NOMOREBLONDES as a potential repeat winner, but sadly that was back in August 2007 and it’s taken her that long to get her head in front again. She managed to work her way from an outside draw to lead the field and held on under a sustained challenge from SANDWITH. The winner is rated 66 and looks to me to need to stay in the 0-70 band if she is to follow up. She may go up a pound or two too much.
UNTIL WHEN made a satisfactory return in third place, if held in the final furlong.
2.50 5f 2yo Maiden
MONALINI, from a stable who know their way with two-year-olds, looked well set up for this ordinary event and won nicely.
My interest for the future in centred on the second MR SMITHSON who looked distinctly green early on but warmed to his task nicely. He won’t have to do an awful lot more to pick up a run-of-the-mill maiden.
3.30 7f 0-70 3yo Handicap
GREEN AGENDA was rushed up to grab a prized prominent position around the far bend, and wasn’t significantly troubled after that. He looks well forward and his trainer will be looking for a chance to run under a penalty.
PETER’S GIFT showed enough in second to suggest she has trained on.
4.05 1m 4f 100yds Selling Stakes
This was not a bad class seller with ratings between 78 and 60, though ages ranged from 5 to 9 and all are pretty well ‘what you see is what you get’.
RAUCOUS was highest rated here and won well enough, but a handicap would be different kettle of fish. He could be best kept to sellers and claimers for now.
BRIDGEWATER BOYS ran creditably in second. His recent record in sellers and claimers is 1212612132, so he’s one of the first on the list in this sort of contest.
4.40 1m 0-85 Handicap
A race full of exposed sorts, with JUST BOND holding on in a tight finish from CELTIC CHANGE. JUST BOND idled in front and just held on from a runner-up who has a record of 1 win in 18 goes.
WIND SHUFFLE went a little too quick for his own good, but finished quite close in third and looks the one to take forward from this contest.
5.15 1m 1f Maiden
Both the winner UNION ISLAND and the second AKBABEND showed a tendency to hang here, and some of those beaten didn’t look madly amenable either. AKBABEND should have won it but hung toward the stands’ rail.
I would be loathe to trust either of these two in the short term.
5.45 2m 0-70 Apprentice Handicap
DON’T STOP ME NOW impressed as front running hurdler over the winter and showed her tenacity from the front in this event. She was headed around the furlong marker but battled back. She goes well on fast ground and her trainer may have options on the flat or over hurdles in the coming months.
DANZATRICE led briefly but was worried out of it, and is another who ran with some credit over hurdles.
LOS NADIS, another coming off a winter hurdling, flattered briefly two out before giving way.