MUSSELBURGH – Friday August 2nd
Going – Good
A glorious sunny evening brought out a decent crowd for Musselburgh’s last evening meeting of the current season. The card was handicaps only, perhaps not one to suit the purists but plenty of chances to bet at a decent price with some shorter priced winners and the main event won by a long-shot.
Once again I’ve shortened the titles of some of the races. I don’t mind making some acknowledgement to the sponsor, but some of the race titles are starting to get plain silly.
6.10 1m 5f Cashino.com Amateur Riders’ Handicap (49-67)
A decent contest to open the card, plenty of these in form before the contest and a winner who appears progressive.
Mikey Ennis was patient enough not to go chasing the leaders too hard too early, allowing GUCCI D’ORO to use his staying powers from the three furlong marker. He wore down the leaders and led in the final furlong. The winner hasn’t had too much racing to date and looks one to carry forward for staying handicaps. He’s has really hit form now and will stay further than this thirteen furlong trip.
The veteran GOLDEN FUTURE showed that he still has enough about him to be competitive at this level. Turned out looking in really good nick, he disputed the lead for much of the way at a good clip. He kept finding more down the straight but found the winner staying on better close home. He’s not a prolific winner, but his attitude was good here and he can continue to give his owners some fun in these minor staying handicaps.
VOLCANIC JACK, running into form of late and another looking well in the paddock, mixed in with the first two throughout the final two furlongs but was held in third in the last half furlong.
Nothing else got into the race bar AL MUHAT who helped set the pace but was much too keen and spent by three out.
FROSTY BERRY is a lightly made sort who appears on the downgrade. He flattered with a brief effort over three out but was well held.
6.45 5f Wilkinson and Associates Nursery Handicap (49-64)
A weakly contested nursery that lost one contestant when BARLEYCORN played up in the stalls and was withdrawn.
The old system of following seller winners into nurseries worked here, with TOUCH THE CLOUDS well in charge from halfway. For all that it was a weak contest there was much to like about the way the gelding came clear and he is clearly on the upgrade.
KIRTLING BELLE chased the winner from two out but made no impression. She showed some promise first time out, and this effort suggests she’s not devoid of ability but she is moderate.
STONEY QUINE has gone backwards since a decent looking second at Hamilton. He was well beaten here.
COUNTESS LUPUS was unsettled by Barleycorn’s antics in the stalls and had to be led out the front then reloaded. She was always outpaced in the race and doesn’t seem quick enough even at a lowly level.
7.20 1m 1f PDM Ltd and FP McCann Handicap (54-67)
Lightly raced MANCHESTAR had shown enough to suggest a race was well within his compass. Racing in touch with the leaders, he made a sustained effort from three out and got on top in the final furlong. He beat a few in decent form here and should be able to move on to win again.
Much encouragement back in second place for the mare PUSH ME, running her first race for Iain Jardine off a break of over three months. She was produced looking in excellent condition and showed a nice action on the way to the start. Having been squeezed for room over a furlong out she stayed on relentlessly to the line if running out of ground to catch up. In general races on the round course here suit those running close to the pace, so the performance is all the more meritorious since Push Me came from the rear. Although the mare has a few miles on the clock, Jardine has her in fine fettle and he should be rewarded before long.
LORD FRANKLIN set the pace and kept on once headed two furlongs out. He’s consistent and ran to his new mark here.
OUTLAW TORN made an effort and led down the centre two furlongs out. One headed inside the furlong pole he could only find the one pace.
Outlaw Torn ran off 57 here which is about his mark and he ran a decent race if just found wanting close home. He was shunted up 6lbs for winning a dire race at Newcastle recently and will struggle off that mark. That race fell into his lap and I get the impression he is being penalised for the distance he won by rather than the merit of the victory. That isn’t the way to handicap fairly, and while there is a need to catch improvers to even chances this mitigates the chances of exposed performers where races fall for them.
JONNY LESTER’S HAIR, coming here off the back of a promising Redcar effort, chased the leader but was held form the two furlong pole. His wins have come at Beverley and Carlisle, and he may be better at stiff tracks that blunt the speed of his opponents.
DANDARELL was close enough if good enough , but dropped away in the final three furlongs.
7.50 5f Cashino Gaming Handicap (74-89)
Decent prize money for this contest and very competitive field resulted. There was plenty of pace on and the result favoured those coming through the field. The result was a 40/1 beating a 22/1 and a 25/1 which sums up how difficult the contest was to fathom.
The winner NOODLES BLUE BOY didn’t appear on the premises until the final furlong, led no more than 50 yards out but had forged three-quarters of a length clear by the line. He’s got a decent wins to runs record but is very much an all or nothing performer these days and it’s difficult to pin him down to a win in advance.
Ten-year-old MOORHOUSE LAD, lightly bandaged behind, was taken down to start early. He came to challenge approaching the final furlong and looked the likely winner before being passed near the line. He’s well exposed, and what you see is what you get, but he remains competitive at this fair level.
MIDNIGHT DYNAMO, the youngest of the first three at the age of six, stayed on well in the latter stages if never looking like the winner. He was hampered somewhat at the start which won’t have helped. He is a consistent performer and can win a similar contest given the run of the race.
AVON BREEZE was running only his ninth race so may have more in the tank than some here. Backed down to favourite, he had every chance but was held in the closing stages. Evidence to date suggests a stiffer track might be helpful and he certainly has more victories in him.
CRIMSON KNOT showed good pace and ran a decent race to finish fifth. This was a good effort in this company and she needs easing in class, though she hasn’t got a great wins to runs ratio.
THE NIFTY FOX is often thereabouts at this level and wasn’t disgraced in keeping on into sixth, while OIL STRIKE’s winning run came to an end as he was found wanting in this stiffer company.
RED BARON couldn’t get to the front and was struggling by halfway. Now he’s been forced into better class, he may be better in a smaller field where he is able to dominate.
8.20 1m Wilkinson and Associates 3yo Handicap (47-65)
A weak handicap and I’m not over inclined to pay too much attention to the result, not the gaps at the finish.
The contest was run at a decent lick though, and LEXINGTON BLUE soon had the race in safe keeping after hitting the front three out. He was visored for the first time and this was a much softer contest than his Beverley win in June. He has ability and this may be a confidence booster, but I would presume the handicapper won’t do him any favours.
BOUSATET looked the obvious form choice following a promising handicap debut, but couldn’t match the winner once passed. He’s lightly raced though and has proved recently that he has race winning ability.
INOVATE is a well grown three-year-old who looks more of a staying type to me. He was outpaced two out and plugged on from that point. He’s tried trips up to fourteen furlongs and it may just be worth persisting at staying trips.
BIRDY BOY set the pace until three out but quickly gave way and this was not encouraging from one who had fair form in the winter. In general his turf form has not matched form on Polytrack.
8.50 7f 30yds Cashino Handicap (64-74) (A Betfair Scottish Mile Series Qualifier)
JUST PAUL has been in excellent form this season, progressing by means of a series of narrow wins which were never harshly penalised. He took over after the two furlong pole and always looked the winner from that point. He idled in the closing stages, which might explain his tight races in the past, but had any amount in hand at the line. If we ignore a Catterick disappointment he is still going forward and, given that the mile shouldn’t be beyond him, he may be competitive in the final of this series.
JEANNIE GALLOWAY closed no the winner to the line but it was on sufferance and she was held. A decent enough effort though and she’s unlikely to come up against such a progressive type every time. Her last win was two years ago, but she looks capable off a mark of 72.
MOWHOOB hasn’t looked a particularly easy ride and kept on for third without ever threatening.
CARA’S REQUEST led until headed after two out. She plugged on into fourth but is vulnerable to anything progressive.
DUMBARTON ROCK made an effort three out but was beaten fairly quickly. He might be better suited by six furlongs but would have to improve on this effort even if dropped back in trip, signs here not that encouraging.
UP AND COMING
Hamilton hold their popular Ladies Night evening meeting this Saturday August 3rd.
Musselburgh's programme continues on Friday 9th August with an afternoon meeting featuring the £25,000 1m 6f Archerfield Cup Handicap, a contest which it is hoped might feature one or two limbering up fro the Ebor Handicap.