MUSSELBURGH – Wednesday January 1st
Going – Soft (Good to Soft in places)
The year opener on the Scottish circuit was well attended as ever, the New Year Sprint supporting the equine events.
The New Year Sprint, taking place shortly before the start of the main race of the day was won in impressive style by DYLAN ALI (11.59 seconds off a 7.5m handicap mark). Kevin Eddie, winner of the previous day’s 90m open handicap held on for second place in 11.81 seconds off 9 metres.
The main bookie betting on the event was not giving too much away, with favourite Ali at 1/2 and three at 2/1. That being said there was a huge queue to collect and I doubt more than 2 or 3 were backed seriously.
We were in the restaurant for the afternoon. Worth noting that if sizeable portions are what your after then late dining is best. We ate early and later servings of the main course were twice as big as ours! However, the Morello Cherry Trifle dessert was an absolute delight and I could have gone a second helping!
Due to gastronomic commitments, paddock viewing was sporadic.
12:25 2m toteplacepot First Foot Juvenile Hurdle (Class 3)
Once again the Musselburgh juvenile event was light on numbers, though this might prove better class than the two previous events here this season.
RUTHERGLEN came clear impressively once asked and looks a potential Triumph hurdle runner on this form. I would imagine that John Quinn will consider running him in the newly Listed Scottish Triumph here in early February.
THORPE filled second place and appeared to run at least up to the form of his second to Dispour here, the winner on this occasion would likely have the measure of the latter.
One with scope to progress over hurdles is BUSHEL. The john Ferguson trained animal was largely easy to back and looked as if the race would bring him on significantly. He was outpaced approaching two out and not punished unnecessarily once third place was assured.
LOVE MARMALADE and MAGIC SKYLINE were both keen early on and outpaced from the home turn. Both can find their level against level taxing opposition.
1:00 2m 4f totequadpot Handicap Hurdle (106-118)
Despite some rather wild weather at time Stuart Crawford made it across from Northern Ireland to make a significant mark at this meeting. CALL BOX, a largely consistent sort that won at Perth in September, led at the ninth and was kicked clear entering the straight. His pursuers didn’t get to him after that. He’s a largely exposed sort who was presented in peak condition and got the run of the race.
LOS NADIS looked much happier back hurdling. He led to the ninth and was then outpaced, but stuck to his task up the straight to take second. If sticking to hurdles he’s on a workable mark of 116.
DIVERS isn’t as good as he once was and never got near to the leader. He did stay on through beaten opponents to take third place.
UNEX CANALETTO had every chance and made no impression from three out. A stiffer test will probably suit as he won over further at Kelso.
1:35 2m 4f totepool.com Scottish Premier Handicap Chase (124-139)
A race run for a decent pot of £25,000 and a competitive event ensued.
MR MOONSHINE stepped up on a decent third in the Becher Chase, leading at the twelfth fence here and staying on up the straight. He’s been tried at a whole variety of distances in recent times and did quite creditably to win at this sharp two and a half miles.
VIVA COLONIA was arguably the class act in this company, a creditable third in the Old Road Chase and has won twice over this course and distance. His problem now being that this may well be the only C/D race that he is eligible for over fences.
BAR DE LIGNE chased the winner up the straight but never quite got on terms. This was a decent effort in the company and his jumping held up better than it has done.
UPSILON BLEU is a keen sort, normally accompanied by two paddock handlers. He raced prominently but was held from two out.
SLEEP IN FIRST was progressive for the first part of 2013 but maybe found this trip beyond him in the class, making no impression on the leaders from three out. He might be worth a pot at the two mile Scottish Champion Chase here in February.
FULL JACK jumped slowly here and has struggled since arriving from France.
QUITO DU TRESOR is useful when things go for him, but found the company a bit hot and made no impression.
KEALIGOLANE made the pace but didn’t get such an easy lead as last time. He faded quickly after being headed at the twelfth and was pulled up before two out. Small fields suit him as he can dictate much easier.
2:10 2m totepool Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle (109-140)
The £40,000 prize attracted a competitive field, a few of them often seen around here in similar contests.
STRONGPOINT , rarely campaigned at the minimum trip in recent times, was well suited by the strong pace on here. Racing close up or disputing for most of the way, he led two out and stayed on strongly driven out on the flat. This made his record three out of three at Musselburgh and it would be a major surprise if his trainer resists a tilt at the Scottish Champion Hurdle on Cheltenham Trials day.
IFANDBUTWHYNOT ran a creditable second following a Newbury win last time. He could come here in February, but another possibility must be the ‘whatever they call the Schweppes these days’ hurdle at Newbury. A fizzy sort in the preliminaries, he chased the leader from two out but could make no impression. He was by far the best finisher of those coming form off the pace.
LOCAL HERO has been eased somewhat in the ratings and ran creditably in third place, keeping on from three out.
RUNSWICK ROYAL chased the leaders from two out but made no impression. More lightly raced than many here, he might just be capable of taking a similar contest at a stiffer track.
An eye-catching fast finisher was STREETS OF NEW YORK, a very creditable fifth from out of the handicap. Taken off his feet for much of the way, he picked up well from three out. A drop in class would be advantageous, though he has the build of a chaser . His new yard seem to be getting a tune out of him.
TITUS BOLT helped set the pace and stuck to his task admirably to finish in sixth. This was only his sixth contest. He does hint at some temperament but has plenty of raw ability and should be placed to win a lesser event.
NEW YEAR’S EVE arrived a day late! He was too keen early on and had shot his bolt by two out.
2:45 3m Happy New Year from totepool Handicap Chase (100-112)
SWING HARD was reported unsuited by the soft going last time. On the face of it the going was similar here, but I suspect that ‘Newcastle soft’ is good deal more of a test than ‘Musselburgh soft’.
He led early on the final circuit and stayed on well to hold a persistent challenger.
PRESENTED is upwardly mobile and followed a Class 5 Newcastle victory with a decent effort upped in class. A creditable effort given that he looks likely to prove better at stiffer tracks.
THE MAGIC BISHOP was well placed four out but couldn’t match the first two from two out.
RIGUEZ DANCER made no impact from three out, five time course winner EVERAARD was back in fifth and has not quite been on his game this term.
LORD OF DRUMS led to the eleventh but he raced keenly and weakened four out. His racing style suggests a shorter trip suits.
DAASIJ made slow jumps in rear and has not yet mastered the art of steeplechasing. He would probably be suited by a stiffer track anyway.
3:20 3m 110yds Collect totepool Winnings at Betfred Shops Handicap Hurdle (109-128)
A fascinating closing contest where the lack of numbers was balanced by the entry of an in form quintet.
ANY GIVEN MOMENT made his course form figures 12131 with an excellent effort. Ryan Mania record a third win of the afternoon, having ridden Mr Moonshine and Swing Hard, and showed his tactical nous when kicking clear before three out. That’s a sound tactic round Mussleburgh and his mount stayed no admirably wel, giving the steadily progressive stable of Sandy Thomson a decent prize.
TANTAMOUNT chipped away as best he could at the leader from two out and lost nothing in defeat. He continues on an upward curve.
CAPELLANUS got outpaced four out but rallied well enough to take third place on the run-in.
ARCTIC COURT set the pace but was held from three out.
ALDERLEY ROVER won a handicap hurdle at Bangor recently, but is an exposed sort who found more progressive opponents too hot to handle.