MUSSELBURGH – Friday November 29th
Going – Good (Goof to Firm in places), though the jockeys reported it was cutting up on the grass bends and that it was probably on the dead side of good.
A bright and breezy day in East Lothian, a bit chilly but nice enough weather to be welcome at this time of year when conditions can turn very cold, the corresponding meeting last year having been lost to frost.
12.10 3m ½f Saltire Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (69-99)
A case of where did that one come from as former maiden point winner STITCHED IN TIME poped in at 33/1 and stepped up significantly on previous hurdles form. Setting or sharing the pace all the way, he stayed on well up the home straight and, though having to be ridden out on the flat, was clear from three out and not in any danger. He gave a glimmer of encouragement last season, but ran poorly on seasonal debut, a change of tactics seemingly helpful here and the near good ground probably didn’t do any harm either. He has the look of a chaser and I suspect is one who has needed time to grow up.
Emma Sayer rode AUBERGE into second having recently turned conditional and back after a lay off following a fall which damaged two vertebrae. Her mount hasn’t got a turn of foot, but does keep staying on and kept on into second. He regularly runs his race and goes well enough here though not yet a course winner.
PUDSEY HOUSE tried to match the winner up front but gave way from three out, being relegated to third on the run-in. He made all on his one win and looks to need things his way.
VALLANI often gets stretched for speed early on and came from the rear to claim fourth place. She does on this ground but probably needs it a bit softer to slow down the others.
TEARS FROM HEAVEN plugged on into third coming off a long lay-off. He has won over fences and hurdles, including over the latter obstacles round here, and looked as the race would bring him on.
The previously in-form BURNS NIGHT found himself stretched at Stitched In time set the pace. He never got into the race and was well beaten in seventh.
FLYING DOCTOR fell at the sixth and was straight up, but appeared to have gone seriously wrong on his off fore. However it could be that he just got his legs caught in the reins, and perhaps was not life threatening, as there were no screens put up and he was led into the horse ambulance.
12.40 2m BAM Construction Juvenile Hurdle (Class 4)
The two juvenile hurdles at Musselburgh this term have had a total of seven runners, one of those running in both contests. This must surely be a consequence of the plethora of all-weather racing that takes place in the winter. I’ve nothing against all-weather racing, and would go if we had a track locally, but there’s so much that you do wonder if anyone has considered consequences for the novice end of the winter sport. It looks a question of the sport acquiring a third arm, but the outcome is that it uses that extra arm to shoot itself in the foot.
DISPOUR made the pace and quickened up well enough to see off his only serious rival. He jumped left at times, including forcing the runner-up against the rail on the run-in, but saw out his race well enough. He may have tough tasks under a double penalty in no-handicaps. Jason Maguire was given two days for forcing Thorpe into the rail, a decision I felt was a bit harsh given that his mount suffered from wonky steering over the last two flights.
THORPE ran a decent enough race but was well held even allowing for his contretemps with the running rail. The division is not strong on evidence presented to date and there should be a minor event to be won with him soon.
SEASIDE ROCK was last of four at the opening meeting here earlier in the month and was readily outpaced from three out. He needs to be handicapped and placed in the bottom grade.
1.10 2m 4f Semichem Novices’ Handicap Chase (85-108)
MY IDEA travelled well throughout the race, challenged four out, led two out and went clear on the run-in. This wasn’t a strong event and this is only his second win in 31 races.
TEO VIVO didn’t jump particularly well but at least got round this time and had every chance two out. He could only muster one pace from that point and is capable of improvement if and when he gets his jumping together.
AGRICULTURAL set the pace but was found out once turned for home. He basically a modest performer.
MUWALLA won at Sedgefield in September, but failed off a higher mark last time and was first beaten of the four still standing turning for home.
BEN AKRAM seemed distracted by Teo Vivo and unseated at the second.
KING’S CHORISTER had made some headway to close when not getting high enough at the eleventh and unseating Tony Kelly. That’s three times in a row he’s failed to complete over fences.
1.45 2m 4f Cornhill Building Services Ltd Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
A weakly contested event though the first two had given encouragement previously.
MANDARIN SUNSET was placed twice at Perth in spring/summer and built on that, running on determinedly to see off a single serious challenge.
BELLGROVE had every chance and may just have been outstayed by the winner. A Perth bumper winner in August, a win which I’m told took a significant five figure sum out of the ring, he’s a keen sort and may be better dropped back in trip.
YOURHOLIDAYISOVER kept on in third but was well held from two out. This was a respectable effort from this half-brother to several winners including decent hurdler Copeland. His best chance in future is likely to lie in handicaps once he has three hurdles runs on his record.
BIGGAR was disappointing in a well beaten fourth place considering his fair effort last time.
Nothing else was remotely competitive in the final record.
ASKALOTT was outpaced and pulled up before the seventh having burst a blood vessel. Bar a win in a dreadful point at Friar’s Haugh in 2012 he’s not looked like racehorse and must surely move on to something less strenuous.
2.20 2m Weatherbys Printing Handicap Chase (107-132)
Irish import CLARAGH NATIVE made an impressive winning debut for Martin Todhunter. He travelled well and jumped neatly throughout the race and took charge approaching the last. He has handled soft ground in the past, but his two Irish wins were on fast ground and good ground so his trainer will be looking out for further opportunities at Musselburgh if the rains stay away. He’s won over nineteen furlongs so a try at two and half miles might not be out of the question.
ENDEAVOR , a winner of four races around this time last year, put up a sterling effort in this company. He led four out but was headed after two out and didn’t have anything else left to respond to the winner.
QUITO DU TRESOR won a race here last time in which he jumped a good deal better than the remainder. He led from the sixth until four out and could muster only one pace from two out.
NINE STORIES was struggling by the seventh, soon pulled up and didn’t look particularly happy on chasing return.
SWIFT ARROW has two ways of running and was never going here, detached by the eighth fence and pulled up before the next. He normally saves these runs for when the North money is on but I have to plead ‘not guilty’ on this occasion!
SLEEP IN FIRST fell at the fifth.
2.55 Border Safeguard Handicap Hurdle (71-100)
PASS MUSTER showed only a glimmer of hurdling ability oh handicap debut in March but, off a break since then he led three out and quickened, winning very comfortably despite being clumsy over the last flight. The opposition was moderate but he couldn’t have won this in much easier fashion. Philip Kirby reported that he had a lot of niggling problems but a break seems to have sweetened him. He may well be pulled out to run under a penalty next week.
CADORE ran best of the more exposed bunch staying on from the rear for a clear second place and confirming the form of a decent effort behind Civil Unrest here last time.
VITTACHI plugged on into third without threatening, while PUSH ME made a little headway in the straight but is looking held after being put up significantly for winning a very soft contest at Kelso.
LYSINO is a four-year-old but he looks a chasing type and of the also rans he would be one to keep in mind. He didn’t get into this race and was outpaced in the straight on this occasion.
PALUS SAN MARCO was well backed on debut for Charlie Longsdon, but ran a tame race and was beaten a long way out before being pulled up.
3.25 2m 32Redpoker.com Maiden Open NH Flat (class 5)
On paddock inspection only one of these looked likely to be a flat race winner and WILCOS MO CHARA quickened nicely two out to put the race to bed in emphatic fashion after setting the pace. He’s not huge but looks a hurdler in the making and should quickly follow up with another win.
OLLIE G has the stamp of a chaser about him, so it’s encouraging that he followed a promising debut with a determined staying on second here. He is likely to step up once encountering obstacles and a distance of ground.
Placed in two provincial maiden bumpers in France, VAUREN DE VAUZELLE chased the leader down the straight but couldn’t find any significant acceleration. He’s half-brother to a winning chaser and is likely to benefit from going hurdling.
CALTON ENTRY stuck his guns quite well having been outpaced early in the straight, but will likely need further experience.
TRACKANAIS was outpaced in the final two furlongs but went about his business well enough to suggest shrewd handler Simon Shirley-Beavan can point him in the right direction. His dam was a maiden chaser but has bred a useful chaser that won up to 21 furlongs.