MUSSELBURGH – Monday September 14th
Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)
Musselburgh kicked off a busy spell for the Scottish racing circuit in the second half of September. Ayr's Western Meeting ends the week, Hamilton finish their season with a two day meeting straight after, and then Perth say goodbye for the year with a two day meeting on the 23rd and 24th. We then return to Musselburgh for Royal Scots Day the following Sunday.
2.20 7f 0-65 Handicap
CLUMBER PLACE won a maiden at Pontefract in April of last year but was not sighted again until March 2009. Her form has been dire since that point and she has dropped from 83 to 53. Perhaps proving the old adage that fillies hit form in the autumn she revealed that her ability has not deserted her. She raced prominently and a sustained challenge was enough to pick off the leader close home. Clumber Place won’t go up too far for this win and there must be hope of a follow up win.
With the three that followed home the winner it’s a case of what you see is what you get. NUFOUDH looked as if he had done enough only to be pipped close home. He has only won twice in 38 efforts, but both wins were this season and he has a respectable record at Musselburgh.
GRAND DIAMOND looked to have every chance at the furlong pole and didn’t seem over keen to go through what seemed a big enough gap on the inside.
OPTICAL ILLUSION two wins have been over 6 furlongs at Hamilton though he has run a few good races over this course and distance. He kept on but was held from the furlong pole.
2.50 7f 2yo 6 Seller
A lousy looking seller won comfortably by the well exposed DURHAM RELECTION. He’s run respectably in maiden company so might reasonably have been expected to take this contest, leading and pulling clear in the final two furlongs.
ORPEN ARMS and YA BOY SIR ran more or less to their respective ratings of 62 and 54 whilst GENTLE BEAT was well held in fourth and is not progressing.
3.20 1m 6f 0-71 Handicap
ITATFIRST was in good from early in the season, but had run below par of late. Returning to form here, he pushed after leading two out and kept up the gallop. It might be worth noting that he recorded two wins on Polytrack last winter and is slightly lower in the All-Weather ratings.
GRAND ART rattled home in second, too late to mount a serious challenge. He was well clear of the remainder and that may cost him a few pounds on the official scale. If still in this class he’s capable of picking up a race over a stiffer track.
DRAMATIC SOLO and BIRKSIDE were well held from two furlongs out. DRAMATIC SOLO did lead to that point but couldn’t respond from there. While this wasn’t her best, she has a record of 1313 around here.
3.50 1m 1f 5 Claimer
KING OF THE MOORS can be quite useful at this level when given his own way. He does win occasionally but is difficult to pin down to a particular race though his previous run here had been respectable. If he’s in the mood next time his handicap mark of 56 does seem lenient. The problem is that he had horses rated 82 and 83 behind him on this occasion so much depends on how the official rater sees things.
BED FELLOW chased from three out but is essentially one paced and a rating of 41 says much.
FREMEN and KINGS POINT ran well below form. The latter was particularly disappointing since he’s not been totally disgraced in Class 2 and 3 handicaps. However he doesn’t win all that often and it could be that he couldn’t be bothered.
4.20 5f 0-88 2yo Handicap
This was run at a fearsome pace from the start and it favoured those coming from off the pace.
MICKY’S KNOCK OFF came through from 300 yards out and won with a bit to spare. He worked his way two lengths clear and it seemed a decent effort though the race was probably run to suit. This was a third win on the card for Franny Norton and Richard Guest but their other recent runners have been well off the mark.
MISTER HUGHIE kept on for second passing tiring leaders in the closing stages.
The most significant performance may well have come from the top weight HERE NOW AND WHY who went with the strong pace and stuck at it for third place. He has been aimed high, having contested the Weatherby’s Sales race at Newbury and then the Molecomb at Goodwood. Kept to this class he should have it in him to win a nursery.
4.50 5f 0-70 Handicap
This was not as strong as the ratings band suggests with only two rated above 70 and it was very much a win in turn bunch.
WICKED WILMA provided a fourth winner of the afternoon for Franny Norton. She’s quite consistent around marks in the mid to high 50s, recording 14 places in 32 attempts, but only wins occasionally.
DALAROSSIE ran on well in the latter stages for second but he’s only got 1 win in 25 runs.
Top weight STEELCUT put in a good effort from a wide draw if held in the final furlong. He confirmed the promise of this run by picking up a claimer at Kempton two days later. If he doesn’t rise in the handicap for that he might have a chance of another win in 0-70 company.
5.20 1m 4f 100yds 0-59 Handicap
ODDSMAKER has plenty of miles on the clock, but isn’t bad at this level when putting his best hoof forward. His record at Musselburgh now reads 31011 so he’s always one to put on the shortlist when visiting East Lothian. He was enterprisingly ridden by young Andrew Heffernan and the ‘kick clear early in the straight’ tactics have worked on each of his wins here.
Oddsmaker made it 2-1 in recent clashes with GRANDAD BILL who chased from two out but couldn’t get to the winner and the race was probably lost entering the straight. He’s been admirably consistent this season and might not be done for just yet. He’s been there or thereabouts on all runs at Musselburgh.
The remainder were held from a fair way out.
5.50 7f 0-65 Handicap
Another very ordinary contest contested by a bunch of well exposed performers. ANCIENT CROSS has been running consistently and got off the mark at the twenty-first attempt. He was chased home by two win in turn performers in NO GROUSE (8 from 85) and SHUNKAWAKHAN (4 from 50).