AYR – Sunday July 5th
I struggled to take much from what was a low quality card choc full of Class 5 and Class 6 ‘whose turn is it today?’ handicaps.
The delightfully named TUKITINYASOK won the two-year-old maiden and is clearly one who has benefitted from the start of the juvenile seven furlong races. He will be nursery material with maybe a little more to come.
FORREST FLYER scored for the third time this season in the 1m 5f handicap. He’s sneaking up the weights, but since he won by two necks he might stay low enough to take another similar event.
The best event of the day, a 0-85 mile handicap, was won by Jeremy Noseda’s ROYAL DESTINATION who may be one to take from the card. Having won a maiden on his previous outing he has a progressive profile and might be capable of stepping up a class on this effort. The second COBO BAY, blinkered for the first time here, is probably a good marker now he’s dropped to 85 and looks interesting in the near future. The remainder, headed by recent winner WHITE DEER, were well beaten off
MUSSELBURGH – Monday July 5th
2.15 5f Class 6 Seller
A moderate event won by a 6-year-old maiden mare. PRINCESS CHARLMANE showed good speed from the gate and ran on well enough at the business end. She at least will have a win on her record to carry to the paddocks, but I’d not want to rely on a repeat. There was no interest at the auction.
BLUE TOMATO should have been good enough to win this given that he’s rated 30lbs higher than the winner. A bigger field may have helped so that he could be covered up.
GRUDGE went the pace until the final furlong and should come on for the seasonal debut.
2.45 1m 6f 56-75 Handicap
A deserved win for WEE CHARLIE CASTLE who had done nothing wrong in his first two races of the season. The big question is which horse the handicapper uses as the ‘measure’. If he goes up 6lbs, and could since the third was 8 lengths back, then he can’t run in 0-80 class and life is much tougher in a 10lb higher grade.
PIPER’S SONG stayed on from the back for second, seeing off the rest comfortably. He hasn’t won for a while, but it may be significant that all three wins have come on courses with an uphill finish.
3.15 1m 1f 3-5yo Maiden
A very moderate contest won by turf debutant GASELEE. She came into this off the back of a fair handicapping debut on the Polytrack at Lingfield and was dropped back from a mile and a half. She made all and went clear from four furlongs out. She’s rated 55 which sums up the level here.
MOON MONEY had no chance with the winner but needs to be stepped back up in distance.
HELIORBEA didn’t seem to benefit from the move up from seven furlongs.
3.45 5f 61-80 Handicap
An interesting sprint contest with a few coming into the race in decent form, and form lines from elsewhere carried to this ‘flying five’. With showers about the ground softened a bit on the day which wouldn’t have suited all contestants.
SECRET VENUE has now won three on the trot over this Course and Distance, stretching out well to hold on close home on this occasion. The neck margin here was the farthest he’s won by and that may help since he can’t be shunted up too far, and the evidence is that he has plenty of commitment at the ‘sharp end’.
SANDWITH was always prominent and just held close home. He’s not a prolific winner, but his record at Musselburgh is reasonable, 9142272 in recent times.
HOTHAM returned to form with a sound effort in third. He has benefitted from a steady drop in the weights which saw him on 69 for this race. This should give a few interesting opportunities since he won off 81 last autumn.
RACCOON led or disputed before being run out of it in the final furlong. He continues to put it in, but is probably as high as he would want to be in the ratings.
ARGENTINE carried 10-4 here and given that, along with a softening of the ground and the fact that the five furlongs here would not be ideal, I think he can be excused his last place. I’d give him a chance in similar company back on fast ground at Hamilton or a similar course.
4.15 5f 0-74 2yo Handicap
ETERNAL INSTINCT led two out and kept on well enough to take this. The form has to be taken in context of the small field, though the second VILNIUS has shown fair form to date and ran on once headed. The latter showed decent early pace.
GOODBYE EARL hung badly right in the final three furlongs. He has ability but it seems he also has a wayward tendency and this isn’t the first time he has displayed it. Maybe there is a physical reason for the problem?
PARADISE DREAM disputed early but was well held in the final furlong. On current evidence he struggles to stay the minimum trip at this level.
4.45 7f 46-60 Handicap
The ground was taking a fair cut by this time suiting front runners.
NUFOUDH and ONLY A SPLASH were both long term maidens and ran the whole race in first and second. The race fell into the lap of a winner but it’s noticeable that NUFOUDH has gone well in three efforts for Kelly Harrison who regular readers will know is one apprentice I have a lot of time for.
ONLY A SPLASH had seldom got near the front previously and I wouldn’t expect a follow-up.
MOROCHIUS chased in vain from three furlongs out and he’s another maiden and only rated 50.
SANDS OF BARRA has been out of from recently, but did hint that he’s on the way back. He threatened to challenge on the outside in the straight and kept on for fourth. The going is no problem but he never got close enough to the pace.
5.15 1m 46-65 3yo Handicap
ISLAND CHIEF hit the front soon after the start and dictated from there. He veered violently right over a furlong out, but once Amy Ryan had him going again he ran away from his field up the stands’ side. Ryan may well have lost an iron in the incident. He won by 11 lengths and you would hope that the handicapper would bear in mind that this wasn’t a good contest. It would have been nice to analyse the ‘veer’ but the Racing UK cameraman lost the plot! Amy Ryan lost her irons on this one at Thirsk and still managed to win so she must be getting used to calamitous happenings!
HAWKEYETHENOO and AMAZING BLUE SKY chased in vain in the straight and don’t look like winners in the near future.