Sunday, 5 April 2015

Musselburgh Easter Festival

Why does everything have to be a Festival these days?

Anyway...MUSSELBURGH – Sunday April 5th 2015

Going – Soft (Good to Soft in places)

I missed Good Friday’s meeting because of work as much of Scotland doesn’t seem to do public holidays, more a mish-mash of local holidays on which I also have to work! However I made my first outing of the turf flat season for the Easter Sunday meeting, a lower class card than the Friday but competitive nevertheless.
The day was billed a family day hence funfair and stalls and lots of stuff for the kids. It seemed to work as there was a decent crowd. As MC for the afternoon we were lumbered with Grant Stott, a DJ with Forth One Radio, who seemed to make a great play of knowing diddly squat about racing and offered nothing of note to the afternoon. Come back Thommo, all is forgiven!

The card was sponsored by totepool, so insert variations on their products in the race titles!

1.50 1m 35-58 Handicap

A dreadful contest to start the afternoon, full of professional losers.

Wilf Storey does at least do his best to conjure a tune out of moderate horses and his NELSON’S BAY showed way too much resolution for the remainder here. The winning way at Musselburgh is to get near the front early, particularly over distances between 7 and 9 furlongs. Most winners are prominent on the bend and Nelson’s Way was up there from the start. He led over one out and forged clear though it’s questionable if he achieved much in winning. Storey had been a little worried the ground might be a tad too soft, but Musselburgh seldom gets testing.
INDIAN GIVER, placed recently on Tapeta, gave chase but was always second best.
KEENE’S POINTE is a weak finisher and was held from the furlong pole.
RIOJA DAY is favoured by cut in the ground and ran passably well in fourth.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE was well backed and looked spot on for this. However, he gave way tamely from two out and remains a maiden as a five-year-old.

2.25 7f 38-60 Handicap

Down a furlong for a similar class race to the first, with another group of horses with plenty of miles on the clock but not a great win percentage.
NOVALIST was set into the lead and had pretty much put all in their place by the two furlong pole. He saw out his race with a bit to spare, though it may well be different if he’s pressured on another course. He won twice at Southwell last year, so can grind out his wins.
I reckoned SMALLJOHN might have a class edge, and he was well enough placed from the start, but he didn’t look that keen to go through with his challenge. He had enough left to hold second place and give the impression he saves a bit.
HELLBENDER has yet to win on turf and came off second best in the battle for the minor spots. He’s not betting material even at this level.
One glimmer of promise came from the lightly raced BLUE JACKET who kept on for fourth. She’s a nice enough looking filly who seems to have a little ability on this evidence and may pick up a lowly contest.
SEWN UP missed the break, and though putting in an effort up the straight, never troubled the leaders.
OPT OUT is a law unto himself and never showed, while JEBEL TARA looked cussed at the start and continues to regress.

2.55 1m 1f 67-78 Handicap

A better contest than the previous two which offered a number with a serious chance.
POLAR FOREST was progressive last year and continues on an upward curve as a five-year-old. Another one racing prominently, he led a furlong out and gradually asserted.  He never wins by far so can’t be hammered by the assessor, but his will to win is a potent weapon at this level.
MR RED CLUBS hit the front two out but couldn’t respond with any extra once passed at the furlong pole. He wasn’t disgraced and remains competitive on turf or all-weather. He hasn’t won on turf but did little wrong here.
ARGAKI ran his best race for some time. Having chased the leaders he looked to be feeling the pinch two out but stuck to his task in admirable fashion. Keith Dalgleish should be able to coax a race out of him, perhaps down a grade to Class 5.
The three were clear of SILVER DUKE who was outpaced in the final furlong having been a threat two out.
VALANTINO OYSTER led until two out and ideally needs an unpestered lead.
BAHAMIAN C looked race fit, but dropped out rapidly from two out.

3.25 2m 70-84 Musselburgh Gold Cup Handicap

LADY KASHAAN is a decent mare at this level and slipped back below her previous winning mark. She raced in midfield, made progress in the straight to lead two out and quickly put distance between herself and pursuers. So well did she come clear that it must be worth seeking out events in excess of two miles for her.
HANDIWORK is a lightly raced animal on the flat, but is moving in the right direction. He had the rest of the field spread-eagled, but just ‘ran into one’. A similar event seems his for the taking.
STREETS OF NEW YORK was not disgraced in third place and will find other opportunities as he saw out the trip well enough.
MR SNOOZY kept on for fourth, though well held by second and third.
MARAWEH was held up and stayed on to grab a remote fifth place on the line. Yet to win on the flat, but by no means a lost cause for his jumps orientated yard judged on this effort.
SCRAPPER SMITH ran an acceptable race in sixth for one off the course for a fair time.
ROYAL SIGNALLER dropped away tamely on the final bend and was reported as suffering from heat exhaustion. The form can be ignored.

3.55 5f Class 2yo Maiden Auction Stakes

POWERALLIED was fizzy in the paddock and keen going down, but had too much speed for the fillies here.
BABY BALLERINA, another a bit keen going down, missed the break. She picked up two out and stayed on well enough to snatch second close home.  Hopefully lessons will be learnt from her first outing.
AYRESOME ANGEL looks a rather leggy filly and may need a bit of time to show her best. However, she did show some speed and only lost second place near the line.
ARISE was always struggling to match the first two and held from the furlong pole.

4.30 7f 63-70 3yo Handicap

Another race won from the front with GABRIAL THE TIGER making all, sticking on well when asked for extra effort from two out. Exposed on the all-weather the hope would be that there is more to come on the turf, though he had the run of this race.
BEACH ACTION chased home the winner honestly enough and made a satisfactory handicap debut.
BILLY BOND was another making a handicap debut and showed signs of greenness when asked for an effort, squeezing up Salterello. He saw his race out to the line and has enough about him to take a similar race before long.
SALTERELLO looked to getting the worst of the argument even before running into trouble.
X RAISE didn’t look fully tuned up for her seasonal debut and was reported to have hung right throughout.
RIVER OF DREAMS wasted too much energy in the preliminaries.

5.50 5f 45-65 Apprentice Handicap

Seven of the ‘regular suspects ‘ pitched up for the closing sprint handicap.

WINDFORPOWER can be a bit hit or miss, but is useful on his day at this level. He got going from two out and stuck his head in front in the shadow of the post.
ROY’S LEGACY is pretty decent in these contests on turf as his regularly runs his race. Well drawn here, he led until near the post and would likely have won if the ground had been a shade quicker. Worth considering in similar events here if drawn near the rail.
LIZZY’S DREAM was off his game in an interrupted 2014 season. He is no back number judged on a fair third here and a fourth last time at Wolverhampton. Everything has be taken at its level, but he is at least competitive in basement contests.
LORD BUFFHEAD finds five furlongs here plenty sharp enough and was keeping on when the contest was done and dusted.
The Perratt pair of FINDOG and ROCK CANYON run often and win seldom, though the later did pick a ‘best turned out’ this time.
BRONZE BEAU was sweating and did not look at all well in his coat. He broke well from the outside and led for three furlongs but then faded.

 From Friday’s card make room in the notebook for:

SPRING OFFENSIVE a decent staying on second in the Royal Mile.  He was held up against a pace bias and the form is probably better than face value.
TOM HARK who missed the break in the same race and did well to come fourth. He was progressive last season and should leave this form behind.

Not really for the notebook but what a pleasure to see the battle of the veterans in the Borderlescott Trophy, with ten-year-old TANGERINE TREES winning from evergreen BORDERLESCOTT.

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