MUSSELBURGH – Friday April 18th
A later start to the Scottish flat season with a late Easter, but Musselburgh helped serve up the first ever racing programme on Good Friday. There was a crowd of just less than 3,000 in attendance, not too bad given that Bank Holidays aren’t observed across the board in Scotland, with more observance of local holidays at varying times. The weather has been decent this spring and the ground was just on the fast side for the Friday and Sunday fixtures.
Musselburgh early season two-year-old races have served up a few decent performers in recent times. The winner here MUKHMAL is worth noting as he put up a reasonable time seeing off a previous winner in Cheerio Sweetie. This winner is capable of notching up another win or two before the others catch up and might conceivably be readied for a pot at Royal Ascot.
BORDERLESCOTT narrowly failed to win the race run in his honour, bursting through in the final furlong off a strong pace and foiled right on the line by SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL. The former might have missed his best chance of the season but still gives it the works, while the latter might be good enough to squeak a minor Listed contest.
JONNY DELTA won the staying handicap, working his way through the field form the home turn and this is how races need to work out for him.
Lightly raced BILIMBI won the Royal Mile Handicap in a race with plenty of pace early on. The race didn’t yield many winners last term though unplaced Top Notch Tonto did gain a second in a Group 1 contest. The Johnston pair of BOW CREEK and ALMARGO went a bit too fast for their own good up front.
SILVANUS, down to a mark of 74 from a 2012 high of 90, landed his first win since then getting the better of a final furlong duel. He goes well here and was recording a fourth win in 13 goes.
RED BARON led for much of the way and stuck to his task well once headed. He’s one to note if a race looks likely to give him an easy lead as he has early pace to burn.
ALEXANDRAKOLLONTAI was down the field and taken off her feet in the second division of the sprint handicap, but she needs races to get fit and will be a more realistic prospect in upcoming engagements.
MUUSELBURGH – April 20th
2.05 1m totepool.com Handicap (44-60)
An exposed bunch with plenty of ‘previous offences’ between them and in the event it was the most lightly raced that came out on top. ECHO OF LIGHTNING picked up nicely off his own pace setting and was always holding his field in the final two furlongs. Paul Pickard rode a fine race here and is worth noting on pace setters at Musselburgh.
MOWHOOB had his chances last season and remains a maiden. He looks one to oppose.
CALL OF DUTY stayed no from well back for third but is a well exposed nine-year-old.
2.35 7f 30yds totepool.com Maiden (Class 5)
LIBRAN picked up nicely in the final furlong to head the pacemaker. He is related to winners and should benefit from the experience.
INSAANY has strengthened since last year. He set a reasonable pace and stuck to his guns in closing stages. He will be better suited by a stiffer test than this.
Irish debutante MAID OF THE GLENS was green in the preliminaries. She kept in the final furlong to finish on the heels of the first two
COME ON LULU ran green, was outpaced early and never got on terms.
3.05 1m 1f totejackpot Handicap (79-66)
EUTROPIUS ran well last spring, winning a couple of times, and presumably benefitted from a recent pipe opener. He made good progress from two furlongs out and led inside the final furlong.
DANCING COSMOS has been running well on the all-weather at Dundalk. She made her effort two out and kept on after the winner. She will have other opportunities and it would nice if her trainer could find a fillies’ event for her.
KARAKA JACK has plenty of miles on the clock. He ran his race here but is a ‘win in turn’ performer.
RED CHARMER progressed nicely last summer, scoring twice over an extended mile at Hamilton. He led briefly three out but was held in the final furlong. He will be of interest back on a stiffer track.
SWEHAN looked to need the race. He faded from three out and was not given a hard time once beaten.
3.35 2m totepool Musselburgh Gold Cup Handicap (70-83)
PASS MUSTER ran a couple of decent races here over hurdles in the winter. A fair performer on the flat, he returned to land this decent prize. He led inside the final furlong and was driven out to win against a persistent second. This was significantly further than he had won over on the flat, but he did win a Kempton jumpers’ bumper at the trip and clearly stays well.
BRIGHT ABBEY has done well over jumps for Dianne Sayer and has 3 wins and this second from 10 runs on the flat. He should win a race even with a small rise in the ratings as his attitude is really good.
The pair were clear of HIGH OFFICE who could make no impression in the final two furlongs. He has a win record of 4 from 44 so normally opposable.
SIR FRANK MORGAN has a sound record in similar events on the all-weather. He raced prominently, but was held in the last furlong or so. A fair enough effort on a move to turf and there should be a minor handicap for him on the grass. He has a noticeable wall-eye but I understand it causes no problems and is merely due to lack of pigment in the eye.
CALEDONIA look very well, but looked very geed up and made no impact. He’s been disappointing on the flat to date.
KING OF THE PICTS has been doing well hurdling but was beaten before the final furlong here.
TWELVE STRINGS looked well, but was outpaced early and last entering the straight. Races are seldom won from so far back at Musselburgh.
4.05 1m 4f 100yds tote TentoFollow.com EBF Maiden (Class 4)
ALEX MY BOY is bred to be a Classic contender, being by Dalakhani out of double Oaks winner Alexandrova. He doesn’t seem entirely straightforward in character, a bit fizzy and accompanied by two handlers in the paddock. In the race he was keen early on, always handy, took over four out and stayed on relentlessly up the straight. After the race Dierdre Johnston wouldn’t commit on plans for this one, but a return for the Edinburgh Gold Cup would surely be a possible, with the Queen’s Vase a follow up if he learns and progresses.
NEW TARABELA was progressive in all-weather maidens without winning and came up against a good one here. He stuck to his task very well and a start handicap mark of 77 does not seem unreasonable on this evidence.
Bumper winner MOLLY CAT, lightly bandaged in front, was held from two furlongs out.
PETITE MADAME is a nice looking filly who should offer better in time. She was weakened two out having been driven four out and was well held.
Seven-year-old newcomer HAAMES, bandaged on his hind legs, was well held as was cheap buy CLASSIC ORANGE. Both will need to gain a handicap mark before becoming competitive.
4.35 7f 30yds totepool Live Info App 3yo Handicap (55-75)
DESERT COLOURS has been in belting good form on artificial surfaces and carried that form through to the turf. He set the pace and, despite coming under pressure three out, kept finding more and was always holding on. His excellent attitude could carry him to further success.
SIR GUY PORTEOUS had shown a little promise in four runs and made a persistent challenge in the final two furlongs. He won’t always run into such a determined winner and should land a similar contest.
REGIMENT had every chance two out and kept on for third place. He had some tough tasks in sales races last year after a Catterick maiden win and should come on for this seasonal introduction.
TIFFANY BAY could make no impact in the final two furlongs. She may well learn from this handicapping debut.
5.05 5f totepool.com Apprentice Handicap (59-45)
An exposed bunch of schoolmasters and mistresses for the young riders, but three consistent sorts at this level fought out a tight finish.
LITTLE ELI was on his toes and doing a bit of dressage training in the preliminaries . He broke well, took a length lead a furlong out and then hung on close home. He has a fair record to date and may well cut it in the next grade up.
ROY’S LEGACY be an owner’s delight with 9 wins and and 14 places from 59 attempts, yet racing here off 54. He broke well, briefly went a length or so down a furlong out but rallied to great effect and just failed. He’s best at five furlongs.
Where Roy’s Legacy is a small animal, GREENHEAD HIGH is much bigger and muscly. He raced prominently and was closing at the death. He’s another regularly competitive at this level and yet only racing off 54.
IGGY closed towards the line for fourth. A good effort from a lightly raced srot that may just need a stiffer test.
An import from Hong Kong, the 10-year-old COMMANDABLE showed good early pace but was held from over a furlong out.