MUSSELBURGH – Friday May 3rd
Going – Good To Soft
Weather – light rain
2.00 5f Brewin Dolphin 3yo Handicap (Class 6)
ANTONI GRAMSCI, a big strong gelding who looked rather green, hit the front over a furlong out and pulled away from SOMEONE’S DARLING. The runner-up is well exposed, not progressing as a two-year-old after a fair start, but there looks to be more to come from the winner in a slightly better race.
ICHIMOKU stayed on for third, a not dissimilar effort to his Catterick seasonal debut. This one has prospects over a stiff five furlongs or perhaps stepped up in trip.
CRACKING CHOICE broke fast and led from a wide draw but was well outpaced in the final two furlongs. He has been thereabouts on most runs but regularly finds one or two too good.
2.30 5f Baillie Gifford EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)
WITHERNSEA built on a fair debut at Ripon to take this contest. He was bustled to go about his business over a furlong out and gradually asserted.
Debutant TANSEEB was taken off his feet early on, but responded well to pressure from halfway and was a clear second. He should improve for the experience.
MUSPELHEIM was second in front of Withernsea last time, but was outpaced from the start here. He made up significant ground to two furlongs, but the effort probably used up his reserves and he faded again. If breaking on level terms he should prove a bit better than this form.
3.00 1m 1f Weatherby’s Bank Handicap (Class 4)
A slog in the softening ground and NEXT EDITION outstayed the opposition from two out, a not unusual occurrence when the ground softens at Musselburgh. He’ll go up a few pounds for this and the margin may prove flattering.
FRONTIER FIGHTER ran a sound enough race under a penalty for a Pontefract win, sticking to his task but held from the furlong pole. Given that he’s won at Pontefract and Southwell of late then I would imagine he will improve again over a stiffer track.
NIMIETY, off the track for 587 days, and annual debutant ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE set the pace until three out but had insufficient in the tank from then on. Both should come on for the outing and look reasonably rated on balance of form.
3.30 1m 1f Weatherby’s Private Banking 3yo Handicap (Class 3)
This contest yielded a few winners from last year’s renewal.
ROMANTIC SETTINGS challenged the pacemaker three out and gradually got on top inside the final furlong, the pair well clear of the remainder. This filly can progress to better things and she will stay further.
KING OF THE DANES set the pace and found more when asked in the straight. He couldn’t hold an improved winner, but he stuck to his task very well and won’t always meet one as good as the winner. This one is lightly raced and even with a rise in the weights Mark Johnston should have room to manoeuvre.
The remainder ended in a heap but there are races to be won with most, LADY ARTISTE running an encouraging third on only her second racetrack appearance.
MARHABA MALAYEEN looked less than ken in the first half of the race. In touch by half way he kept on under pressure but seems quirky.
4.00 7f Core (Oil and Gas) Ltd Handicap (Class 3)
GANDALAK upped in trip, raced keenly but none of the other four got near him and he won comfortably. The others were exposed but you could ask no more of one who has progressed since showing promise over five furlongs on Musselburgh’s opening day in March. He is likely to go up by 7 or 8 pounds on top of the 6lb penalty , but he does seem to have the speed to take on better opponents.
DISCRESSION kept on to ho0ld second place from OUR BOY JACK, though both seem weighted to their form. Twice a winner over seven furlongs at Newcastle, I wonder whether that stiff seven may be ideal.
4.30 1m 6f Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers Handicap (Class 5)
Another race favouring those racing near the front, not an unusual event at Musselburgh so far this season. Brasingaman Eric took the field along at a decent clip and he pulled clear with KINGARRICK from two furlongs out. Kingarrick looked likely to be a clear winner but BRASINGAMAN ERIC battled back most determinedly and was gaining again at the line. He’s not been particularly heavily races for a six-year-old, and this evidence suggests he’s better than the 57 he ran off here. Recovering his form after having 2012 off the track, he’s worth noting for a staying event in this sort of class.
KINGARRICK was recording a first win since his two-year-old days. This is the first time he’s tried this trip and given that he was not stopping, despite being hauled back by the second, staying could prove to be his forte now.
Last year’s winner LA BACOUETTEUSE had no chance when well in rear before the home turn. He stayed on relentlessly from that point and took third close home. He’s 5 from 22 on the flat and, if the race falls his way, he can win in this class before long.
5.05 7f Oak Handicap (Division 1) (Class 6)
Part one of the ‘whose turn is it today?’ handicap!
CARA’s REQUEST got an easy lead, Tom Eaves kicked on early in the straight and nothing got near him from that point. She ran off a very generous mark of 52 here, given that her last win was off 80 back in 2010. Everything went her way here, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a follow up.
TONY HOLLIS kept on honestly enough up the straight if making no impression. He’s a career 1 from 22 which tells a story.
5.35 7f Oak Handicap(Division 21) (Class 6)
DHHAMAAN would have been considered for this as a front-runner, but he folded over two furlongs out. JEBEL TARA raced in touch with the leaders and stuck on from two out. He doesn’t win very often and couldn’t be backed with confidence to follow up. JUST THE TONIC and GONINODAETHAT who followed the winner are much of a muchness and don’t win any more than in their turn.
JUPITER FIDIUS made up ground from the rear late on, but that’s not untypical and he wins no more often than the front three.