MUSSELBURGH – Tuesday July 24th
Going – Soft (Good to Soft in places)
This meeting attracted decent sizes fields at the 48 hour stage with the going quoted as ‘Good’, but heavy rain the day before resulted in soft ground and 30 non-runners. Further rain was forecast for race day, but as can be the case this part of the coast avoided significant rain and the latter part of the afternoon saw warm sunshine. Judged on time the ground state looked accurately reported.
2.00 1m 1f TurfTV Handicap (51-69)
Out of nine entries four stood their ground, all fillies. The form doesn’t look special with the close second well exposed.
RAHEEBA, a compact and strong looking filly, led at a steady pace and stuck on tenaciously as she increased the speed into the straight. She just held an exposed second and the form doesn’t anything special. She may struggle with stiffer tasks in future. She seemed at the end of her tether by the line and I’m not sure she would want any further in this ground.
SANGAR, previously a winner on this ground, chipped away at the winner from three out. She seemed to hang fire over a furlong out but was picking up again and closing at the line. She doesn’t look entirely straightforward and may not be one to trust implicitly.
CHRISTMAS LIGHT couldn’t repeat the form of her close second to Lockantanks at Beverley and was held from two out. Her winning form came on faster ground and she may be better with less cut.
NAAFETHA was on her toes and didn’t settle particularly well in the race. She was outpaced once turned for home and well beaten. She showed a degree of promise first time up this season, but now has put in three poor efforts in a row.
2.30 7f 30yds British Stallion Studs EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
In these days of blanket coverage and with stacks of data available it can be difficult to get an edge. Just occasionally though it’s possible to get ahead of the game on course. The winner POLAR CHIEF stood out in the paddock and made a winning debut at a very rewarding SP of 20/1. A few paddock watchers were on and couldn’t believe their luck since this one seemed well readied and from a stable that can get produce forward youngsters.
Linda Stubbs’s gelding is very nicely bred and was very fit on debut. He was rather unwilling at the stalls, drifting from 14/1 to 20/1 in the couple of minutes before the start, but settled nicely before being produced three furlongs out. Moving smoothly up to challenge, he was distinctly green but pulled clear with a persistent runner-up and just held sway at the line. While he won’t get much fitter the experience must do him some good and there should be another race in him before long.
MARHABA MALAYEEN, a 62,000 guinea purchase as a yearling, is a well grown sort who would be expected to show his best as a two-year-old. He led until headed by the winner two out, sticking to his guns all the way to the line and just held. He saw out this trip well enough and looks a decent prospect for nurseries.
EXCELLENT MARINER, a nice enough filly with a decent pedigree, was held up in rear and could only keep on steadily in the closing stages. The experience should do her good and there will be better to come, Though Mark Johnston does have his two-year-olds more forward than some.
CHANT , placed in a Wolverhampton maiden, was well held from two out. He will find his level now qualified for nurseries.
LADY MARGAEUX, a strong looking filly, was a weak favourite in the betting and possibly a bit over-revved. She made her challenge from three out but faded from the two pole and was disappointing.
RAGNARR, tall but not yet filling his frame, was bandaged on his off fore and wearing a net muzzle. He was saddled in a closed box and looked stubborn at the stalls. He was slow away and never figured, giving little encouragement for his immediate career.
3.00 5f Scottish Racing 3yo Handicap (45-65)
Fourteen became seven with the change of ground.
ALNAIR seemed to have benefitted from a long break, looked well enough and ran on well after racing near the head of affairs for the whole race. He just held on from a second who was perhaps a trifle unlucky but won in the style of a gelding who should be capable of a repeat somewhere along the line.
ELEGANT GIRL made headway approaching the final furlong, but she was stopped in her run and once in the clear had insufficient distance left to get in front. She has some speed and there should be a small race in her.
MAJESTIC MANNAN was taken very steadily down to the start. He offered a persistent challenge from the furlong marker but was held to the line. He’s lightly raced, has some speed and looks on a feasible handicap mark on this evidence.
IMPERIAL LEGEND veered right at the start but recovered sufficiently to lead briefly approaching the furlong pole. He was just being run out of it when squeezed up in the final furlong. He appears better than the bare result suggests.
Hat-trick seeking TUIBAMA led until two out but was soon under pressure and couldn’t match his challengers. He might be harshly treated now as he was running off 15lbs higher than his first win, despite only winning having a only a total of just over 1 and a half lengths in hand in the two victories.
ROY’s LEGACY chased the leaders but was well held in the closing stages.
MAJESTIC ANGEL looks too slow even off a lowly mark of 46.
3.30 1m 4f 100yds Brown Shipley Wealth Management Handicap (44-70)
A field of ten cut up to four, with a list of trainers (Whillans, Richards, Russell and Goldie) that wouldn’t have been out of place in a race at Kelso in winter.
HOUSTON DYNIMO’s previous best had been shown on good or faster ground, but the soft surface proved no barrier against three moderate opponents. He looked nicely prepared by Nicky Richards, set off in front at a decent pace and galloped the opposition into submission from the home turn. He seems in good heart and there might be better to come on faster ground.
Sturdily built RAVI RIVER won twice on the flat last year , but was well below form over hurdles in the winter. He chased the winner up the straight but made no impact.
A SOUTHSIDE BOY is an angular gelding who doesn’t win any prizes on looks. He’s a maiden and never looked likely to lose the tag here, though he’s not been over raced and it may be worth noting that he got closest to the winner over 14 furlongs at Redcar.
CADORE proved mainly frustrating over hurdles in the winter and hasn’t sparkled on the flat since. He looked distinctly lighter than the first two and was beaten three furlongs out.
4.00 5f Musselburgh Festival Handicap (66-80)
The feature race was disappointingly only a £7,000 pot given that the course would normally put on a £10,000 event. There is so much racing taking place though and the prize money is spread necessarily thinly.
The start was delayed a little as AMENABLE proved the exact opposite of his name. Stubborn coming on the track, he whirled round a few times and lost his rider, then racing round a full circuit before being withdrawn. He was blinkered first time which could explain his recalcitrant behaviour.
The finish was fought out between two regular consistent performers. CRIMSON KNOT got up close home to rob THE NIFTY FOX of what would have a third win in recent times. The winner has placed often but is not a prolific winner where the second remains in decent form and doesn’t look handicapped out of things yet.
QUAROMA showed some promise on her first run for Paul Midgley and followed up with a fair third here. A small filly, she made progress to look dangerous one out but was a bit short of room and her effort petered out. She’s a winner on better ground and looks to be coming to herself.
SANDWITH has been showing up well this season and raced close to the pace before being held from the furlong pole. This wasn’t a bad effort though, given that his recent wins have been in Class 6 events.
BRONZE BEAU disputed early but well beaten a furlong out and is on a long losing run.
ANGELO POLIZIANO, tongue-tied for the first time, hasn’t been showing enough to be competitive in this class, and his chance here went west with a tardy start.
4.30 2m Racing UK The UK’s Best Racecourses Live Handicap (42-63)
This was a weakly contested contest, but was won by JAN SMUTS in the style of a stayer who can trouble better opponents. Stepped up significantly in trip, he galloped away from the only opponent to threaten him and was pulling away at the line. He can win again.
Jan Smuts has just run a decent fourth in a much better event at Newcastle, tapped for pace three out but picking up in good style to the finish on the heels of the leaders. The ground was touching firm there and easier ground might just show him to better effect.
VTTACHI did his best to match the winner, but was well held in the final furlong. He ran to his form.
PURKAB kept on through the field for third but couldn’t threaten the first two. A maiden after seventeen tries his profile doesn’t offer encouragement to backers.
SYDNEY COVE has proved less than committed. He came to have his chance two out but faded under pressure.
Winning hurdler WORD OF WARNING, bandaged behind, led three out but quickly came under pressure and weakened.
RHYTON’s form since joining Brian Storey has been dire and he was beaten a long way.
Irish import SINNAMARA was made 2/1 favourite here, despite the form book offering little encouragement. Taken down early, he refused to race and looks one to oppose.
5.00 7f 30yds Watch Racing UK on Sky 432 Handicap (58-67)
Nine of the twelve stood their ground to provide the biggest field of the day, but FLORIO VINCITORE made the others look slow in the final two furlongs. Leading two out he soon had the race won and was pushed out to the line. He’s not raced that often on turf and this was by far his best effort on the grass. He will be forced to take on better horses next time unless brought out under a penalty.
SABRATHA looked very fit and kept on for second place, just holding stablemate BERBICE, who is well exposed and not a prolific winner, with another exposed performer KEYS OF CYPRUS half a length back in fourth.
NADEEN won here earlier this season, but has disappointed since including refusing to race last time. She was slow away and her effort three out was without any serious impact.
CANNON BOLT, a front-runner who needs an easy lead, was swallowed up two out.
MICK SLATES was well below his decent form of late. He was in the rear early and driven along, making no impact. A prominent position is helpful over this course and distance, and it’s possible he can be forgiven this.
GONINODAETHAT never threatened a repeat of his Ayr effort, while NUFOUDH was in rear and remains well out of sorts.