Thursday, 9 August 2012

Early August at Musselburgh

MUSSELBURGH – Friday August 3rd 2012

Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)

Drying weather gave us fast ground, a rather rare occurrence this summer. A healthy crowd was in attendance and it’s a pity there aren’t more of these Friday evening fixtures at Musselburgh this season.
The course showed the Olympic action on the big screen in between racing. With my wife keeping me updated on London 2012, my visits to the paddock managed to correspond with Victoria Pendleton’s kierin victory and the victory of the GB mens' pursuit team!

6.10 1m 5f 44-69 BlackRock Amateur Riders’ Handicap
A competitive amateur race resulted in a win for STORMY MORNING who has been out of form of late. He’s only won twice, a selling hurdle at Sedgefield in 2011 and a three-year-old handicap back in 2009. No particular patterns that I can spot in his form. Kicking on two out he had the race well in hand inside the final furlong well ridden by Harriet Bethell.
SOHCAHTOA made good headway in the latter stages without threatening the winner. He’s another with a poor strike rate.
TALK OF SAAFEND has been in decent form of late and looking in fine condition here. She was put into the race with every chance by Emma Sayer , but couldn’t impact on the winner from two out.
HOUSTON DYNIMO, a convincing winner in a small field the previous week here, found this tougher and was held from the two furlong marker after contesting the pace.

6.45 5f 45-65 Wilkinson & Associates Nursery Handicap
This was a poor event with a few already going backwards from a lowly start level.
The winner MILL END DANCER hadn’t made a mark in previous race, though a seventh in a decent seller at York probably wasn’t a bad effort. She made a effort two out and was driven out to win with a little in hand. She starts from a very low mark and Mick Easterby might look for a repeat in a poor event on quick ground.
PERFECT WORDS, thereabouts in most efforts to date, kept on in the final furlong. He’s selling class.
THERAPEUTIC made the pace and kept on once headed a furlong out.
SOMEONE’s DARLING showed much promise first time up here, but she hasn’t go on form that effort. She kept on late for fourth but never threatened the winner and appears frustrating.
VANESSA, a selling winner here earlier, was very mulish coming on to the track and unseated her rider. She was slow away, never in the race, and looks one to avoid.
Locally trained PRINCESS IN EXILE showed early promise, but she hasn’t gone on from April/May efforts and was well held in fifth.
CROMWELL ROSE unseated and cantered riderless to the start. She was outpaced and tailed off.

7.20 1m 1f 44-67 iShares Handicap
DOUBLE CEE followed up two Hamilton wins with a convincing win here on faster ground. Making headway three out, he took it up inside the final furlong and had a cosy advantage at the line. The impression is that there may be more in the locker.
CALL OF DUTY stayed on well under pressure from two out. This wasn’t a bad effort given that the trip was probably on the sharp side and a stiffer track would be better. After a decent season in 2010 he spent 2011 in the wilderness, but has bounced back to form in2012. Maybe worth noting when track and trip suit better.
SANGAR had every chance but was not disgraced in third. She’s on a workable mark at the moment and could pick up a slightly less competitive event. CHRISTMAS LIGHT confirmed previous form with Sangar, as held final furlong and looks on her mark.
ROYAL STRAIGHT had going to suit and won easily at Ayr bur couldn’t get to grips with the leaders in the straight. He has won a lowly contest here but seems much better on a more galloping track such as Ayr or Hamilton.
DESERT VISION led until two out but had raced too keenly and quickly folded. Since two wins last year his form has been poor.

7.50 7f 56-75 Tatty Banks Bags A Nag Tomorrow Handicap
A contest of generally exposed performers won by a most consistent sort in CYFLYMDER, well ridden by Lucy Alexander who should benefit from the 5lbs she can still claim on the flat. Driven to the front over a furlong out he had a bit in hand. He’s had a really good run this year for one with so many miles on the clock and remains highly competitive.
SPRINGHEEL JAKE, a keen going sort equipped with a cross noseband, raced prominently and ran on to the line having been denied a clear run approaching the final furlong. Well worth following while the sun shines since he should win a race on fast ground and had no problem with this sharpish seven furlongs.
SOOPACAL looks a fizzy sort. He was mounted in the saddling box and taken down very early, setting the pace until over a furlong out. He kept on for third and his recent wins have come at Southwell which may be more suitable for his style of running.
CHOOKIE AVON put up a passable effort in fourth without threatening a win.
SHUNKAWAKHAN looked hard fit on this occasion but this company is too tough and his wins are few and far between these days.
MUSIC FESTIVAL looked fit enough but there was insufficient response when asked for an effort over two furlongs out.

8.20 5f 69-80 BlackRock Handicap
A £10,000 pot for the feature race here, fairly standard for Musselburgh and they were rewarded with a decent field for the level.
Chances are limited for five furlong handicappers in Ireland, so it’s not a surprise to see one of their number this side of the Irish Sea.  QUEEN GRACE broke her duck at Wolverhampton last autumn and has proved a progressive sort since, moving steadily up the ratings. She’s suited by a sharp track but there aren’t that many suitable five furlong courses in Ireland. Making headway two out she took over at the furlong pole and won with a bit in hand. She has a fair bit of speed and her trainer will be seeking more opportunities in the UK, presumably now in 0-85 or 0-90 contests. Note that Queen Grace hasn’t been out of the first four in 14 races since dropping down to the minimum trip.
BARNEY McGREW still retains plenty of speed at his advancing age, but he keeps a little back for himself now, staying on for second without threatening the winner. He hasn’t won for osme while and best chance these days will be kidding him home late in a big field.
WE’LL DEAL AGAIN raced close up and kept on in the closing stages.  Both his wins have been over a stiff five furlongs but he’s now on a career high mark, rather stiff for one with a 2 out of 33 win record.
NOMOREBLONDES showed promise off a break. Her overall win record is sound and she is probably best on fast ground.
IDLER looked fit enough for his seasonal debut but couldn’t make any impact. It could be that ring-rustiness didn’t help.

8.50 1m 42-63 Wilkinson and Associates Handicap (3yo)
A lowly rated contest but it contained a few previous winners and the winning filly may well go on to better.
DANCE FOR GEORGIE was given a fine ride by Julie Burke, setting the pace, rallying well when challenged and pulling clear in the final furlong. Looking fit and ready here, she has benefitted from the step up to a mile and can win again before the handicapper catches up.
MISS ELLA JADE, another on her toes in the preliminaries , was keen early on but kept on for second without being a position to challenge the winner. Ideally she would want a slightly stiffer test than this sharp mile.
KATHLEENSLUCKYLAD looks to me to need a bit further than this. He couldn’t match the winner but kept on well enough and another quarter will probably be a help.
My wife was tempted to risk a couple of pounds on SLEEPY LUCY since we have a cat called Lucy who sleeps on the end of our bed!  I put her off but as the filly loomed up two furlongs out there seemed a possibility that we would regret missing out. However her run petered out and she faded to fourth. She is lightly raced, but is running off a very low mark and will need a poorly contested basement race to have much chance of winning.
GIBRALTAR ROAD kept on but never got into the race seriously, running as if a stiffer track would be of benefit.
HIKMA walked a bit stiffly on her near hind. She was behind for a long way and picked off a few late on.  She won a Lingfield maiden in March but hasn’t shown much since.
WINDYGOUL LAD was upped in trip but pulled for his head early on and was out of contention two furlongs out. He’ll have to learn to settle to have a chance even at this level.

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