MUSSELBURGH – Wednesday October 28th
Going – Good To Soft (Good in places)
The rain has returned to the east of Scotland following a dry spell. Musselburgh’s ground had eased for the closing meeting of the season headlined by the two mile Class 2 Willie Park Handicap.
1.00 1m 1f 0-65 Amateur Riders’ Handicap
EDAS has run some fair races this season on the flat though this was his first turf win of the year. He was brought through smoothly to record a win for the Cuthbert family. With a possible winter campaign in mind it’s worth noting that he is 5 places from 6 on the All-Weather and has shown up well at Southwell. In addition he’s 2 from 6 over hurdles.
BED FELLOW isn’t endowed with a great turn of foot but is at least getting into the mix. He couldn’t match the winner in the final furlong.
VERTIGO ON COURSE got hemmed in on the rails. He finished well but it seemed to me his rider didn’t have sufficient nous or possibly strength to extricate her mount from the pocket.
1.30 7f 5 2yo Maiden Fillies’ Stakes
Saeed bin Suroor introduced a newcomer here but INFANTA looked very green. She kept on late for third but there wasn’t a burst of pace and she looks a lesser light in the stable. Development over the winter may be the key.
TATIANA ROMANOVA moved nicely clear in the final furlong. She will presumably move on to middling handicap company. Her one run on the All-Weather was below that of her turf form so the jury is out on that front.
2.00 5f 0-85 2yo Handicap
Five set off in a line up front at a decent pace and two burst clear from 300 yards out. BESTY ran on better of the two to hold DANCING FREDDY.
BESTY looks a speed merchant better over five furlongs than six and this sharp five suited him.
DANCING FREDDY took the lead over a furlong out but was then outspeeded. His did little wrong though and may now have a few goes on Polytrack.
MICKY’S KNOCK OFF won here off 68 but looks held currently off 77.
2.35 1m Class 5 2yo Maiden
One or two here may benefit from a winter to strengthen and mature.
JUPITER FIDIUS, out of a dam who won over 11 furlongs, clearly benefitted from the mile trip and stayed on well to hold some opponents who may have had ‘issues’.
TASTE THE VICTORY pulled early and, though he kept on, may have used up too much energy. Possibly a shade disappointing after his York bow, but he should reward connections in time.
PALAWI weaved about and still looked green on his second outing. He got into gear late on and finished well. A tougher test looks a must and there should be more to come as he learns.
3.05 2m 0-100 Handicap ‘Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance The Willie Park Trophy’
A fair field for the closing feature and one of Musselburgh’s top handicaps of the season.
GORDONSVILLE won here in April and then in a Class 3 event at Ayr. He’s been consistent all season and followed up a sixth in Cesarewitch with a victory here. He forged clear from two out and kept up the gallop. Gordonsville has only been out of the first six once since June 2008.
DAYIA chased the winner from two out and closed a little without threatening a victory. He’s another consistent type who has been there or thereabouts on most efforts this season. He started in bumpers and it might be interesting to see if he’s tried over hurdles, though he does have a sound record on Polytrack and rates lower on that surface than turf.
ALANBROOKE showed the determination expected of a Johnston charge but couldn’t hold the first two from three out. He looks good enough to mix it in the better staying handicaps next term.
3.40 1m 4f 100yds Class 6 Selling Stakes
ODDSMAKER’s tactics around here are well established and a win here made it 4 from 6. Andrew Heffernan carried out the plan which has been successful previously, dictating and then kicking on turning for home. Heffernan lost his whip over two furlongs out, but his mount is game and kept on for ‘reins waving encouragement’ to hold on.
LOST SOLDIER THREE picked up from three out to chase determinedly though not able to wear down the winner. Some questions have been asked about his attitude, but he’s 5 from 38 and Dandy Nicholls should place him to win a race next season.
CAPABLE GUEST, a hardened campaigner and an occasional winner, plugged on for third and nothing else made an impact.
4.10 5f 0-75 Handicap
HAWKEYETHENOO was made an odds-on favourite to follow up his recent win. This was a tougher race though, and also a had harder task than his September win here. He was slow away and could never get to the leaders though staying on late. His new mark is 72 and given the right circumstances he might still be capable of winning a handicap off that level, though the five here is probably a little sharp in tougher company.
As suits him, MANDARIN SPIRIT was able to dictate, but having looked the winner was just pipped on the line. Always worth a glance at a similar level if the draw or field make-up favours a chance to get to the front.
IGOYOUGO rattled home to snatch this race on the line. This Geoff Harker three-year-old in progressing and might step up to better class next term.