MUSSELBURGH – Friday May 23rd
Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)
A busy Friday evening with a decent attendance. A bit chilly and some rain drifted in mid-evening, but the favourites were thereabouts in all races keeping many punters happy.
6.10 1m 5f McQuay High Efficiency Classic Amateur Riders’ Handicap (28-65)
Two pulled clear and the better jockey in the finish was the one that prevailed. Philip Dennis, son of Inspector of Racecourses Chris Dennis, was shown to good effect in bringing ROCKY TWO to lead two out and pushing the gelding out to victory. Out of sorts last season, the winner slipped to a mark of 50 and Philip Kirby has got him right now. There should be chances in similar contests.
Hattie Heal got a bit tired on BALLYHEIGUE and towards the finish was just bouncing up and down in the saddle. This may well have made the difference to the result, but Miss Heal had done a good job up to then and the 16-year-old from Somerset can improve as a jockey. BALLYHEIGUE was just pipped in a race at the annual Guernsey meeting at L’Ancresse and was well clear of the third here. He is 212 in similar races of late and will have similar opportunities.
HUNTERS BELT was held up and never got near the front, keeping on for third place. He would be worth a pot at Southwell on the all-weather, even off an 11lbs higher mark, as he looks significantly better there.
Two veterans GRAND DIAMOND and GOLDEN FUTURE couldn’t make any impact on the first two.
RARE COINCIDENCE, now only rated 28 and probably a back number on the flat, tore off in front with his inexperienced rider struggling to hold him. He paid for the exertions in the last three furlongs.
6.40 5f Canaccord Genuity 2yo Maiden (Class 4)
ELUSIVE EPONA, made favourite on debut, made an effort two out and showed great determination to prevail in the last furlong. This was a very encouraging debut from the filly and a visit to Royal Ascot is a strong possibility. A stiffer five furlongs would help her.
The fillies had it to themselves here, LANAI cutting out much of the running before being headed half a furlong from home. There isn’t a huge amount of her but she has an engine. I note that she is entered in a DBS Sales race at York in August and I would imagine connections would consider a pot at that sort of contest.
DOMINIC CORK showed good speed but was held before the final furlong. He’s another with sales race entries but nurseries will likely be his level in time.
Newcomer CHARLES MESSIER veered right out of the stalls and was soon outpaced. He made up a little ground in the latter stages and should benefit from the experience.
BAHAMIAN ART has the right look but was once again put in his place, having been up with the pace early.
7.10 5f Nairns Oatcakes Handicap (47-63)
I don’t often get involved in betting on Class 6 handicaps, but this race looked set up for one horse. ROY’S LEGACY looked the only one with pace on the stands’ side and since he’s pretty decent at this level it looked a golden opportunity. He showed his normal early dash, had got a gap on his field two out and had enough to hold one serious challenge from the furlong pole. He goes very well over a sharp five, handles quick ground and Polytrack and regularly gives off his best. His recent runs in Class 6 have resulted in form 321231. This race suited him, but he’s decent ammunition in these events given the right draw and going.
The winner is an entire and, being a small animal, there is a suggestion he may well have future as a pony sire. As a five-year-old with 61 runs behind him breeders would certainly being using a tough sort.
SPRING BIRD was the one rival that I considered a danger but her draw in stall three didn’t help. She was soon prominent and challenged in the final furlong but was held. Decent effort though and she would have had every chance if drawn stands’ side.
SEE VERMONT was well enough drawn but was held by the winner from before the furlong pole. A fair effort but he’s had a fair few chances.
TADALAVIL kept on into fourth without getting a shot at the leaders.
BUSY BIMBO, one who had vaguely threatened to win and finely came good at the 57th attempt recently, probably needs a stiffer track to be seen at her best. She generally runs some sort of race and was not totally disgraced in fifth.
HERE NOW AND WHY was well touted pre-race but remains on a downward curve.
7.40 1m 6f Belmont Wallyford Handicap (58-73)
Given a peach of a ride, ALEKSANDAR scored a second career win, Graham Lee setting the pace and winding things up in the straight. To his credit the gelding found plenty when asked two furlongs out. All his best form has come when able to lead.
MERCHANT OF DUBAI landed the forecast for the stable of Jim Goldie. He ran in better company last season and the seasonal debut may have brought him on a bit. He stuck on after the winner from two out.
DISCOVERY BAY made an effort over two furlongs and looked the likely winner before running out of stamina inside the final furlong.
MEDIEVAL BISHOP needed some cajoling at times during the race, had his chance over two out but was held after that.
TRAVEL was close up until fading from three out. His all-weather form hasn’t translated to the turf, a fact that might be worth remembering should he return to the artificial with a string of high numbers against his name.
8.10 7f Central Taxis Maiden Stakes (Class 5)
Not a strong event, a fact which no doubt helped MOWHOOB who has found assorted ways of losing in a 20-race career. With Graham Lee producing another well judged ride, he set the pace and had more than enough in hand from two out. Beating higher rated opponents here won’t help his handicap mark, though his confidence should have got a boost.
PROTECTED plugged on for second without really threatening the winner. His head carriage wasn’t brilliant and he has something to prove.
HANDWOVEN has plenty of places to his credit, but didn’t seem at all enamoured with being asked for an extra effort. One to be wary of.
THORNTOUN CARE was never near the leaders but kept on to take fourth. He was placed in a mile maiden last year and must surely need a few furlongs further.
8.40 7f 30yds Turcan Connell 3yo Handicap (44-70)
TWIN APPEAL made an encouraging handicap debut at Doncaster and looked progressive in winning here. He kept on strongly in the final furlong to win a shade cosily and could well follow up.
BEAUTIFUL STRANGER has been a consistent sort and kept on for second after racing prominently.
PROCLAMATIONOFWAR kept on late to take third place. He stepped up in trip here having previously competed over five furlongs and saw out the trip well enough.
LOMOND LASSIE stepped up on her seasonal debut in finishing a keeping on fourth. The step up from six furlongs did no harm.
CAHAL led or disputed for much of the way, but was headed over a furlong out and passed by a couple close home. Being taken on by Beautiful Stranger didn’t help.
9.10 1m Gordon and Halliday Flooring Handicap (47-64)
Contested by exposed runners and OUTLAW TORN came from off the pace to record his ninth win. He generally runs his race but needs things set up for him to win.
Wilf Storey sometimes turns around others’ cast-offs and NELSON’S BAY has prospects going forward. He kept on into second place and may be capable of picking up a similar event.
CAMEROONEY contested the pace with Cono Zur and came out best of that pair, being overtaken for second close home.
FUNDING DEFICIT had every chance two out and wasn’t good enough.
CONO ZUR contested the pace then faded from two out.