MUSSELBURGH – Sunday September 26th 2010
Going – Good (Round Course), Good To Soft (Good in places) (Straight)
The afternoon opened with a couple of pony races in the Charles Owen Series. The 138cm and under class was won by Charlotte Greenway on Red Pepper, though the winning rider was tiring as Tom Hamilton closed on Simply Simon. Both riders showed they have the skills of a jockey. A few shrewdies were well aware of Henry Morshead’s ability and he took the 148cm and under one mile event, forging clear on Over To Kerry from Thomas Greenwood on Springs. The bad news for his opponents is that young Morshead is only twelve and has four more years at this level if he wishes!
2.15 5f Royal Scots 3yo Handicap (0-65)
Hawkeyethenoo took this race last year and has progressed a long way since. It’s difficult to see RED ROAR doing the same, though she has done quite well in recent weeks and followed up a Beverley maiden win. On her toes and looking very fit, Red Roar progressed two furlongs and ran on to lead in the final furlong.
Favourite OONDIRI had every chance having raced prominently, and briefly looked the likely winner at the furlong pole, but was held close home.
DRUMPELLIER race prominently but was one paced in the final furlong.
2.50 1m 4f 100yds Racing UK Selling Stakes
The runners in this race were noticeably bigger and stronger than the three-year-olds in the first event. It’s not until you get to the course and have a good look at different types of animal that the differences become clear.
Though a seller this wasn’t a bad event with ratings ranging from 72 to 55. It was one of the lower rated runners, HONG KONG ISLAND running of 57, that took the contest in decent style. This was only his seventh race and Nicky Richards seems to have found the key to him. He was sold to local trainer George Foster for £11,000 and it wouldn’t be total surprise if this one is seen back here in juvenile hurdles.
ROYAL STRAIGHT chased in vain form two out, though ran a sound race.
ODDSMAKER was raced up to the lead and came past us tanking along. He went too quick for his own good and weakened once headed after three out, just holding third place.
KAMES PARK made a little progress two out but never got to the leaders.
NORTH CENTRAL didn’t see out the trip and EMIRATES ISLE, dire since returning after a lay-off, was well beaten in last.
3.25 7f 30yds RSP Consulting Engineers Handicap (0-80)
CARA’S REQUEST has benefitted from being ridden prominently and led all the way here. The pace was well judged by Michael O’Connell, pushing on four out and keeping sufficient in reserve for the winner to hold a steadily gaining second. Ridden prominently on a course favouring front runners he has a chance of repeating this success.
GEORGE BENJAMIN ran a sound race but couldn’t get to the winner despite finishing well. He’s consistent and should add to his Catterick maiden win.
From the bottom of the handicap, BERBICE and COMMANDO SCOTT kept on to fill the next two places without ever threatening the winner.
REVUE PRINCESS was held in the final two furlongs, though may not have had this race run to suit and is not a type to desert just yet.
NUFOUDH, who scoots around the tight bend here, chased the leader into the straight but was comfortably put in his place once challengers emerged from the pack.
4.00 1m European Breeders’ Fund Fillies’ Handicap (0-87)
This was the feature event on the card and type to throw up an improving sort. This year’s candidate is HAMLOOLA, racing for only fifth time, who added to her earlier Yarmouth win. She didn’t have the run of the race at Kempton, but proved that she has continued to progress when driven out for victory. I’d be surprised if she didn’t add another win soon.
PATH OF PEACE chased the winner in the final two furlongs to take second. She is another lightly raced sort and was clear of the third.
Double winner SOCIAL RHYTHM made progress from three out but never got to the leaders. She’s in good form, ran soundly off a raised mark and looks a good measure.
HARRIET’S GIRL looked very well, but was sweating in the paddock and rather keen going down. She was outpaced in the closing stages.
At first glance CHERRY BEE looked fit, but fellow paddock watcher David Cormack felt she came up a bit light. His judgement was backed up in the race as she dropped away once headed after two out.
4.35 1m 1f Scottish Racing Claiming Stakes
The conditions set claiming prices form £24,000 downwards, but this was a weak contest and concerned only the top two.
BENCOOLEN was best favoured at the weights, 8lbs best in on the ratings, and made the most of his advantage. He’s not the most consistent, but was well placed here and asserted in the final furlong.
RED JADE challenged two furlongs out and led briefly before giving way.
KING OF THE MOORS ran as well as could be expected against better opponents, challenging three out but held approaching the final furlong.
RA JUNIOR ran a fair race in fourth and but is inconsistent and difficult to place effectively off 65.
The other four were not remotely good enough.
5.10 1m 6f Royal Scots Club Handicap (0-75)
Val Donoghue has taken over the hot seat at Belstane, following Linda Perratt, Ian Semple and Noel Wilson, none of whom remained in situ for long. CHOOKIE HAMILTON recorded a winner for the stable, having notched up five for Semple in 2009. He looks an uncomplicated and honest sort who led two out and stayed on well for victory. This admirable performer now boasts 12 wins from 46 runs.
BEAT THE SHOWER stayed on to take second place. This wasn’t a bad effort and he’s unexposed on the flat so might be worth keeping tucked away for reference.
ACT OF KALANISI needs to dictate and have the run of the race. He was never allowed enough rope here and kept on at one pace from two furlongs out.
LADY BLUSESKY might need a stiffer test to be seen at her best, despite the fact that she won over 12 furlongs last time. She was one paced in the last two furlongs.
LA BACOUETTEUSE and CORKY DANCER, both graduates from bumpers, are struggling for basic pace on the flat and I’d look to jump races to bring out better in them.
5.40 5f Royal Regiment Of Scotland Handicap (0-65)
A smallish field of exposed performers contested the closing event. Class told as the top weight HIGHLAND WARRIOR challenged approaching the final furlong and led close home to win a little cosily. A veteran of 121 runs, he’s run well this season and retains his enthusiasm.
SANDWITH raced prominently, looked briefly held a furlong out, but stayed on close home. Another with plenty of miles on the clock, he’s regularly been in the mix of late.
WICKED WILMA ran a bit better than her recent efforts, racing prominently but held in the final furlong.
SHARP BULLET showed speed but hadn’t enough in reserve once passed approaching the final furlong.
That closes out my visits to Musselburgh this flat season, though the course stage two midweek meetings in October, closing on the 27th with the Willie Park Trophy. Jump racing starts in Musselburgh and the decent ground normally guarantees a few runners with potential appear.