MUSSELBURGH – Monday October 14th
Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)
Musselburgh completed their 2013 flat season with a competitive card boasting decent prize money for a Monday programme. A season blessed with fine weather ended on a similar note as the East Lothian avoided the wet weather which I left back in Fife.
2.10 5f 32red.com Apprentice Handicap (46-60)
TADALAVIL has been in the wars having recovered from a fractured leg some time back and then getting into a contretemps gate that ended with multiple stitches in his chest. He hinted at a return to form here a couple of runs back with a fourth place in similar company. Drawn near the rail in a race where such a draw was the key, Tadalavil got a good run through on the rail and showed enough determination in the closing stages to hold two main challengers. He’s not got as races no his record as some 8 year old sprinters so there’s a chance Linda Perratt can keep him sweet and coax another race win or two.
BEAUTY PAGEANT, a winner here at the end of September set the pace from the best draw and kept on well enough once headed. She looked very well, is reliable in this company and there may just be time for her to take a similar contest before stumps are drawn on the turf season.
HERE NOW AND WHY has been consistent of late and pushed hard for second place if just held in the closing stages. He’s not a prolific winner but has a decent record at Musselburgh.
AMIS REUNIS finished as fast as anything in fourth. However, Alan Berry’s stable tend to fire lots of shots in the hope that a few will hit the target and can be opposed for betting purposes.
LADY POPPY was dropped in class but didn’t make enough impact.
LIZZY’S DREAM was outpaced early on and picked off half the field in the latter stages. He’s 2 from 3 at Wolverhampton and a comparatively lightly raced so might be worth a glance in lowly company at Dunstall Park.
2.40 1m Irish Stallion Farms EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 4)
One or two might make up into better animals with another winter behind them.
MINDBLOWING built on a third place at Redcar, taking up the running three out and basically had everything on the shove from that point. He’s out of the sprinter Mind Games, but there’s more stamina on the dam’s side and he wasn’t stopping at the end of this mile.
MAMBO RHYTHM was dropped back from a stiff ten furlongs at Pontefract, so it was no surprise that she got taken off her feet for much of the distance. She rattled home down the middle the track from two out without threatening the winner. She’s a half-sister to Earl Of Leitrim who won over 6 furlongs in a truncated career but looks to need a distance of ground herself.
LAYLA’S RED DEVIL progressed from a Chester sixth, keeping on for third. She’s a Dalakhani filly out of a Sadler’s Wells mare so it’s likely that longer distances will be her forte next term.
ART OBSESSION probably ran to about the form of his Ayr second in finishing fourth here.
INSAANY was an expensive purchase and half-brother to a number of winners. He still looked green when asked for an effort two out but did pick up a little in the latter stages to take fifth place.
ICE MAYDEN looks to have some growing to do and is likely to benefit from a winter to strengthen somewhat. She looked to be travelling well over two out but there wasn’t as much forthcoming as seemed likely when she was asked. She may be one to note in handicaps next spring if she comes on over the winter.
3.15 1m 1f GBI Racing Welcomes Nicosia Race Club Selling Handicap (45-64)
The term seller tends to be looked on as the basement of racing, but this was a good deal better than a few non-sellers in Class 6. The first four have all been in decent form in the not too distant past and the result has a degree of strength about it. If there is a drawback it’s that the combined ages of the first four are 33.
CAMEROONEY’s form had tailed off a bit under Brian Ellison, but Marjorie Fife has rekindled the gelding’s enthusiasm. Apprentice Nathan Alison set a sensible pace and was able to repel allcomers up the straight to record a third course win. Clearly the 10-year-old is an animal well loved by owner Jean Stapleton and even if there had been a bid in the auction I can’t imagine anyone else would have taken this one home.
It’s worth remembering that a decent front-runner who can settle has every chance round here and prominent runners have come out consistently best at Musselburgh this year.
Twice a winner this season, SILLY BILLY made the winner work in the closing stages under a penalty for an all-weather win. This one has plenty of mileage on the clock, notching 5 wins from 63 runs, but seems in good heart and will presumably be kept on the go at Wolverhampton and Southwell.
ROYAL STRAIGHT had conditions to suit and kept on well enough for third, but is looking difficult to win with these days.
VIOLENT VELOCITY never quite got to the leaders but kept on for fourth not giving up ground in the final furlong. Another ten-year-old, he seems in good heart and a slightly lower all-weather mark may be exploitable.
A third 10-year-old, MONTHLY MEDAL made an effort two out but was never close enough.
ASSIZES won a Newbury maiden in October 2011 but his career has been steadily downhill since with no other win to show. He was slow away, a bit keen early on and never placed to challenge.
3.45 1m 5f Betfair Scottish Stayers’ Final Handicap (61-85)
The end to a very successful series of Betfair races over the season. This is a chance to determine which of you readers were taking notes as I flagged up BAYAN KASIRGA as a potential winner of this race after she won a qualifier here in September. Given an excellent waiting ride by Samantha Bell she burst through a gap a furlong out and came through to win by a very cozy length and a quarter. A good point too was the fact that she seemed to relish being squeezed for room and was strong enough to comfortably win a barging match! She looked to have more in hand and will stay further so I’d put her on a list of horses to follow, whether itbe for a quick follow up or if she’s held back for next season.
HAWDYERWHEESHT hit the front a furlong out, but I got the impression Graham Lee would have liked to have got there on the line and this one didn’t look all that comfortable out in front. A very good effort though.
CORTON LAD finished fast to take third without ever looking the winner. He’s been consistent all year and though he hasn’t won at this trip he clearly sees it out well enough.
VITTACHI ran a sound enough race to finish fourth, not that far away from the second. Having dropped in the weights he has done nicely enough this season.
GEANIE MAC suffered slightly as a more determined came past at the furlong pole, but fifth place was an excellent effort form out of the weights. She’s run very well this season without getting her head in front.
TITUS BOLT set the pace as he often does, but eyed the stable block going away from the stands and lost ground. He was headed three out and dropped away. He will presumably be on hurdling duties here soon.
ST IGNATIUS ended up last but looked to have run quite well. He was in the front rank until over a furlong out before the tank registered empty. He quickly dropped back but it may be he didn’t quite see out this trip in a such a competitive race.
WORTH A KING’s didn’t show much in the race, but he’s notably for the fact that he hind hooves clatter into his front hooves when he walks round the paddock. He’s very lightly raced in recent times and I do wonder if his race action is all it should be.
4.20 5f 32Red Casino Handicap (64-75)
LAYLA’S OASIS showed decent form for her previous stable but hadn’t quite clicked for Richard Fahey, though not far away on a couple of occasions. This win was not easy but she dug deep in the final furlong and got on top in the last 50 yards.
GOTTCHER, well beaten at Catterick and then in a big field at Ayr, was back to his best with a decent effort in second. He led two out but was passed 50 yards out.
ROTHESAY CHANCER ran his best race for ages from an unfavourable draw and stayed on well in the final furlong for third, while OPT OUT was drawn in stall 1 and ran a similar sort of race in keeping on for fourth.
TOM SAWYER, a close second to Opt Out here last time ran more or less to form with that one in filling fifth place. He set the pace and had every chance.
ALGAR LAD was outpaced early and made some late progress to fill sixth position.
JINKY is capable on his day but was on his toes in the paddock and wasted too much energy pre-race.
4.50 7f 30yds McEwan Fraser Handicap (80-90)
CHOOKIE ROYALE performed well off similar marks last autumn and this does seem his time of the year. He hadn’t pulled up any trees since an all-weather win at Wolverhampton in March, but won with a bit to spare despite veering toward the stands’ rail in the closing stages. I noted that Chookie Royale’s handler Keith Dalgleish watched the races from the benches near the ½ furlong pole.
SILVER RIME has run a number of decent races this season and stayed on for second place.
WANNABE KING stayed on for third and it’s worth noting he’s got a fair wins to runs record of 8 from 40. He tends to be an ‘all or nothing’ character as he has only two places on his record and in my book that does make him handy betting material if you have the patience to survive some misses while awaiting a hit.
ALEJANDRO was held in fourth and seems in the handicapper’s grip now.
GANDALAK has plateaued after a decent spell in the spring. He set the pace but was held once headed over two out. To his credit though he didn’t completely capitulate once passed.
Favourite IPTISAM raced too keenly in behind the leaders and was beaten from two out.
5.20 1m 6f Willie Park Trophy Handicap (73-94)
Potentially the classiest contest was left until last, though with two runners pulled out it was down on strength and a fair proportion of racegoers had left to avoid the traffic.
We did have a contest that looked to have five animals with the potential to improve into their four-year-old season.
COMMISSIONED, an 11 length winner of a Catterick maiden last time, got the best of a prolonged duel with a very determined front-runner. The battle will have done him no harm and I suspect he could make up into at least a Listed class performer next year. He determination saw him get his nose in front near to the line.
DEFICIT set a decent pace from the start and proved very difficult to pass. He has only a win at Bath on his success record, but it isn’t for lack of effort and this may prove a decent close second in time.
SLIP OF THE TONGUE attempted to match the first two but had to give way in the final furlong. He is a big long striding gelding who didn’t look totally at ease round the tight bends here, so perhaps will show better on a galloping track.
ARAMIST has improved steadily for Alan Swinbank and stuck to his task if held. This was a tough ask and he will find easier opportunities in handicaps.
SILENT MOVIE won a handicap at Wolverhampton and found this contest a bit beyond him, but there’s enough about him to suggest there are more races to be won. I would imagine Mark Johnston will seek out further opportunities for this one on the all-weather and the Middleham trainer is not averse to running his stayers at Southwell.
Joe Fanning’s narrow win over Tom Eaves in the final contest meant that he pipped Eaves in the Musselburgh Leading Jockey Table by 10 to 8. It would have been 9 each if Deficit had held on.
Mark Johnston secured the Trainers’ title narrowly from Richard Fahey.