MUSSELBURGH – Saturday June 7th
Going – Good, Good to Soft in places (Soft by Race 6)
1.50 7f Bet toteplacepot Handicap (49-73)
It pays to be prominent in races around Musselburgh and free-going sort CARA’S REQUEST led from the start, was clear entering the straight and kept up the gallop under encouragement. He’s an honest who goes well around here, but was able to dictate and will go up a significant amount for this.
HELLBENDER was the main chaser from two out but is 0 from 36 on turf and never threatened the winner.
MOWHOOB was bumped up 10lbs for winning a soft maiden here last time which suggests the handicapper works strictly to figures rather than character analysis! Mowhoob is beatable in this sort of company, though chased the winner and did keep on for third.
Nothing else got anywhere the front three, despite the race having a competitive look to it on paper.
2.20 5f totepool EBF Edinburgh Castle Stakes (2yo) (Class 2)
This race throws up possibles for Royal Ascot but KO CACHE significantly reversed form with the second on York form. She went right out of the gate but was always in touch and showed good resolution to assert in the final half furlong. On the face of it a decent effort as the other four were well beaten and it could be there were excuses at York.
DON’T TELL ANNIE, fifth in that listed event at York, disputed early and took a clear advantage two out only to be worn down in the closing stages. A sound enough effort.
VIMY RIDGE made progress over one out but was aimed towards a gap which was necessarily completely there for him. He was stopped and couldn’t recover after that though held third place.
PRINCE BONAIRE was well backed but put in his place in the latter stages of the contest.
2.55 1m Bet totequadpot 3yo Handicap (66-82)
Another race on the round course where a prominent position was everything.
IFWECAN has done most of his racing at sprint trips but made the early pace, looking a trifle keen, and responded well to pressure from two out. His sixth over this trip at Newmarket in early May reads quite well and it could be that seven furlongs or a sharp mile are right for him.
KING OF MACEDON kept on for second but didn’t threaten the winner.
TWIN APPEAL had every chance off his new mark and, though not disgraced, could not offer extra from over a furlong out.
FINN CLASS came with a promising run from three out but was held at the furlong pole.
3.30 1m 4f 100yds Totescoop6 Edinburgh Cup 3yo Handicap (70-90)
A contest that is always full of progressive three-year-olds and generally throws up a good number of future winners, and has yielded Group winners in the recent past.
The rain had set in by this point of the meeting.
Once again being up with the pace was key. HESKETH BANK raced up with the pace, was driven to challenge and got his head in front close home. Promising in maidens before this, he was dropped into a competitive race on handicap debut and did very well, the first pair pulling clear. He’s going the right way and can take another handicap.
Mark Johnston entered this contest mob-handed and MASTER OF FINANCE made a bold bid to make all, staying on determinedly but was worn down in the closing stages. A good effort nevertheless and he saw out this trip well enough.
INNOCENT TOUCH stayed on to finish a clear third without ever getting to the first two. This was a good effort from off the pace and he can win a handicap in slightly easier company. A step up in trip would do no harm.
FULL DAY ran a sound enough race but was held from two out. The effort augurs well if dropped back down a grade, his last time out win coming in a closely matched 68-69 Class 5 race.
BLUE ATLANTIC was a bit keen in behind the leaders. He was found wanting from over a furlong out but ran a fair enough race and a drop down a grade will do no harm.
I intimated that ALEX MY BOY might pitch up for this event after he won a maiden here in April. He ran into significant trouble on more than one occasion, and given that he raced in rear he did very well to finish in seventh place. Though not completely straight-forward, he’s much better than this form suggests and can leave this effort behind. He might be worth noting if aimed at Royal Ascot.
COLLABORATION ran well for a long way but weakened approaching the final furlong and may well benefit from being dropped back in trip.
4.30 1m 4f 100yds Bet toteexacta Handicap (59-79)
This race was billed the Tradesman’s Derby last year, but reverted to one of Fred’s oh so imaginative race titles this year.
Another race that proved that if you can work out who is going to lead on the round course at Musselburgh then you pretty much have it cracked. David Allan got DANCE KING to the front, dictated as he wished and his mount found plenty once asked from two out. He was held up when well beaten at Ripon last time. The tactics worked and he doesn’t have too many miles on the clock.
NORTHSIDE PRINCE was held up in rear and stayed on to snatch second on the line. He’s proved adept at avoiding winning in recent seasons and may be worth opposing if short odds next time.
CORTON LAD tried to match the winner until his resolution came to an end over a furlong out.
EVER FORTUNE flattered briefly over one out but didn’t get to the leaders.
ARYAL was keen early and that cost him his chance, eventually fading to fifth.
5.05 1m 1f Totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Handicap (60-80)
Ah, thanks Fred!
Murky conditions for this race and going was now officially Soft.
BARTACK got the lead soon after the start and guess who won? He was headed after three furlongs but stayed chasing the leader and had more than enough from two furlongs out. Theoretically he doesn’t handle this ground, but ‘Musselburgh soft’ is seldom as testing as at other northern courses and he handled it well enough on this occasion. David O’ Meara is doing really well this term and has this one going in the right direction.
EUTROPIUS led briefly but was then at a distance from the leading pair. He stayed on from two out and the bare form is maybe a little better than the figures suggest.
STAFFHOSS was never in a position to challenge and his best form has been on all-weather. May be worth noting if he pitches up on Polytrack after his unsuccessful run on turf.
HARD CORE DEBT led after three furlongs but threw in the towel once taken on again three furlongs out.
5.40 5f Bet totetrifecta Handicap (65-85)
Not much between these and there a real barging match in the closing stages. ROTHESAY CHANCER got the better run of the first three and just held on. He’s decent here, recording a fifth course and distance win, but needs things to fall right for him though having the assistance of Graham Lee does no harm.
GOWANHARRY suffered in the scrimmaging but was only just held in the lunge for the line. She’s done less racing than some at this level, might still have a little more to come and may be favoured by a stiffer five.
LEXINGTON PLACE has every chance and was just held. This was a fine effort given that she is better on faster ground.
GO GO GREEN was held in the final furlong.
JOFRANKA was badly squeezed in the final furlong and was eased close home, just losing fourth. Graham Gibbons explanation that she lost her action when suffering interference seemed quite red baron and creasonable under the circumstances.
RED BARON and CAPTAIN DUNNE blitzed off in front but paid for their efforts in the closing stages. The latter could have picked these up and carried them a few years back and is on the downgrade, though might be worth an interest if racing on fast ground as he still retains some speed.