MUSSELBURGH – Friday November 19th
Going – Good
Musselburgh put on their first jump meeting of the winter season, bright weather welcoming Racegoers and the usual decent ground pleasing trainers.
12.25 2m 4f Scottish Racing Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
A moderate mares’ maiden featured one of the riding performances of the year by Newmarket based claimer Matt Crawley.
Crawley lost an iron on LASTROSEOFSUMMER as the saddle slipped to the side at the eighth flight. Jumping the next with only his left foot supported, Crawley landed across the horse but made a remarkable recovery to keep the partnership intact. Now riding with no irons, many would have steered a wide course and taken their mount out of the race, but Crawley opted to keep Lastroseofsummer tucked on the inside around the final bend. Making progress from three out, the Rae Guest trained filly slewed left two out, giving Crawley another scare. Clearly going well, Lastroseofsummer jumped the last well and came clear on the run-in under whip waving for encouragement. Gravity took over after the line and Crawley had to bale out.
The rider received generous applause on his return to the unsaddling area. He showed coolness under pressure and no little horsemanship in keeping his filly in the contest. LASTROSEOFSUMMER showed she has a bit of ability and eventually won with a fair amount in hand.
MADAMLILY, basically stamina bred and one who would just get going over this trip, looked the likely winner for a way but couldn’t impact from the last. This was a promising debut over hurdles and she should find a race.
SALLY’S IDEA was a fair third but held. She set the pace but couldn’t respond once headed going to the last.
MISS ABBEY made progress to three out but was held approaching the final flight. She lost a shoe during the race and can step up on this form.
Of the others with previous placed form, BEAT THE BAND suffered an overreach and was pulled up, while BEAT THE ROCK struggled from the second last.
12.55 2m 4f Doos And Donts Handicap Hurdle (0-127)
The handicap hurdles at Musselburgh are generally competitive and plenty of these brought forward decent recent efforts. The pace was steady and the contest turned into a sprint up the straight.
PYRACANTHA is consistent and in form. Off a steady pace he picked up best from two out although he was being pegged back on the flat.
CAILIN NA RI chased the winner home and was closing at the line. He was disappointing at Aintree last time but has been consistent otherwise.
COOL OPERATOR made up most ground of any in the closing stages. A greater test of stamina would have played to his strengths and he looks ready to pick up a race before long.
GRANDAD BILL had every chance but was held before the last.
COCOA KEY made ground up the straight but never got to the leaders. He won at Carlisle last time and he’s another possibly better with a stiffer test.
1.25 3m Birdcage Bar & Restaurant Eskmills Novices’ Chase (Class 4)
NEW SHUIL looks better over fences than he was over hurdles. He was turned out looking well, jumped accurately all the way and showed enough foot from the last to hold two challengers. His jumping should stand him in good stead in future.
ELZAHANN raced well, jumped soundly in front, but she pitched on landing at the last and this cost her the race.
BALLYCOLIN had every chance but was held on the run-in. His previous chasing form was nothing special, but he recently won what was rated a fair pointing contest
DOUBLE EXPRESSO went well enough until unseating at the eleventh. Brian Hughes commented on his return that he had been knocked into at the fence. Looking at the replay it was clear that HEGRID had bumped him and that gives enough cause to set the mishap aside. HEGRID came down as a result of the clash.
BIG BURROWS jumped awkwardly for much of the race and lost touch from the twelfth.
2.00 2m Saltire 2010 26th-28th November Handicap Hurdle (0-112)
A race signalling the Saltire Festival in East Lothian, an event commencing with next Friday’s Musselburgh race meeting.
They went a rattling good pace in this contest and it’s significant that the first four all came from off the pace.
ALTAN KHAN raced in the rear, picked up from two out and ran on well to wrest the race on the flat. He looks progressive, is at the right end of the handicap and a stiffer test probably wouldn’t do him any harm.
PILLAR OF HERCULES settled a good deal better here. He challenged from two out but was just outpointed after the last. He appears to have calmed down a bit which should mean he will pick up a race.
GRAND DIAMOND is probably high enough in the weights but ran a sound race in third. Worth bearing in mind though that the race was run to suit him.
SIMONSIDE was out the back for most of the way but stayed on for fourth.
SPIRIT OF THE MIST made much of the running but paid the price, fading from two out. Sadly he sustained an injury on the run-in and had to be put down.
CROSBY JEMMA threatened two out but her effort petered out.
2.35 2m Scottish Racing Your Better Bet Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
This didn’t look a particularly strong event with many likely to struggle to make a mark over hurdles.
The race was won in game style by 100/1 outsider DICA, giving Patrick Griffin his first winner for 800-odd days. Talented claimer Keith Donoghue set a sound pace, quickened before three out and always looked likely to hold the field from that point. Dica jumped accurately which is a real plus point in these contests.
DHAULAR DHAR could make no impression on the winner from two out. He might pick up a minor race but will probably have to stiff to the minimum trip on sharp circuits.
JAWAAB really got going in the latter stages. He finished with a rattle and just failed to get up for second. TALE OF TANGANYIKA faded from the last flight into fourth. John Wade’s gelding hasn’t progressed from his bumper win here in February.
Previous winner MICHELLE’S EXPRESS faded tamely from two out. Tony Martin had watched the race from the end of the stand in front of me, his destination being the Stewards’ Room to explain the lack lustre run.
3.10 2m 4f TurfTV Handicap Chase (0-117)
A couple races earlier I’d heard a message on the course radios telling staff that a group of South African rugby supporters had turned up and “it might be a good PR opportunity”. Peter Scudamore welcomed a party of half a dozen Springbok followers to see Ormello prepared for this race. Photos were taken and souvenirs handed out, but the gelding hadn’t read the script as he faded to last of four finishers.
CYBORA was accompanied by a two handlers, looking a bit of a ‘hairy goat’ in an unclipped coat and bandaged in front. For all the negatives she jumped well at sensible pace for Graham Lee and held plenty in hand to hold on in the straight. A fair effort from ‘7lbs wrong’ but this was a soft race.
ORMUS probably needs a stiffer track than this, staying on for second without really getting to the winner.
FOLK TUNE looked to be going well on the final bend but couldn’t find enough from two out. Another for whom a stiffer track might be best since he chasing win came at Towcester.
ORMELLO is desperately frustrating, jumped rather deliberately and struggled from four out.
BAAHER fell at the eleventh when still going within himself.
3.45 2m RacingUK Newcomers 3-5yo Standard Open NH Flat Race
There was no pace on here until the final straight in a contest for unraced horses.
BYGONES IN BRID, trained by bumper specialist Karen McLintock (8 from 39 in 5 seasons), made all at a steady pace and showed a sharp turn of foot in the final furlong, coming well clear. He’s bred to have a bit of stamina so it’s conceivable there might be a bit more in the tank.
D’GIGI is related to jumping winners, including Butler’s Cabin, and should build on a promising second here. He only cost £8,000 in May and might prove a bargain.
BLUE BLOODED raced prominently and had every chance but was outpaced from the furlong pole. This half-brother to Arcalis is a nice sort who should build on a fair debut.
KARAKOV’S GIRL was very green in the preliminaries, whinnying her way around the paddock and setting off a few of the others. She was caught for pace when they quickened three out, but picked up nicely in the final furlong and finished with a rattle. She should make an impact against fellow females.
BELLA REGALO looks a nice sort, but weakened two out. He should do better given time.
RED ROCCO will need some time but looks to have the build of a jumper. He’s only three and needs a while to strengthen but might be worth keeping an eye on.
Kelso report for Sunday will follow and I will be at Musselburgh next Friday. Providing the weather behaves itself, and the long term forecast isn’t particularly encouraging, it’s the Borders National meeting on December 5th.