MUSSELBURGH – Monday Jun 29th
Going – Good
A run-of the-mill Monday meeting at Musselburgh with many of the regular equine performers pitching up. The £20 admission charge is excessive for moderate fare, particularly bearing in mind you now have to pay another £2.50 for the racecard. It’s not a cheap evening out and the racegoers are paying Premiership prices for lower Division fare.
Exit arrangements from the public car park were a shambles. Instead of being routed down past the stands, cars were sent down a potholed track behind the stable block and along an equally bumpy route down the back straight. The route was poorly signposted and may be fit for 4x4s but is no fun in your average car.
The bend past the stands is being re-cambered with work commencing the day after this meeting. The bend will be out of action until next year, so the inner all-weather surface jumps track bend will be in use for the rest of the flat season. This means races will finish up the jumps track, so I hope that the track measure and advertise their distances properly for the rest of the season. I will be on their case if they don’t.
6.15 2m Racing UK Apprentice Handicap (47-65)
A field full of exposed performers with COWSLIP backed to carry on from a successful jumps season running off a very low mark. It’s not always a case of simply transfer the form and Cowslip was well beaten here. He looked fit enough so condition was no excuse.
Versatile trainer Mike Smith won this with EILEAN MOR who forged clear from two out down the middle of the track and won with a bit in hand. Smith trains jumpers, pointers and showjumpers alongside flat racers and has shown he knows how to train on the level. The winner did well last year and may be worth looking out for now he has hit form.
JAN SMUTS runs an honest enough race but doesn’t have an extra gear in a finish. He stayed on in sound enough fashion to take second without ever threatening the winner. Wilf Storey does a sound job with a small string and his animals are often thereabouts in moderate contests.
WOR LASS raced a bit keenly in touch with the leaders. She kept on for third.
ALEKSANDAR set a reasonable pace but was held once overtaken two out. He did see out his race and would not be without a chance when able to dictate and this hints at a return to last year’s decent form.
PIXIE CUT was tapped for speed from three out. She’s probably better suited by Hamilton’s stiff uphill finish.
LA BACOUETTEUSE normally goes well here but never got in a blow.
6.45 7f 30yds British stallion Studs EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
Mark Johnston’s WELFORD made short work of these after stretching on from two out. He showed the typical Johnston charge head down determined attitude and will presumably now go on to nurseries.
LIVELLA FELLA chased the leader from two out and finished a clear second. He clearly sees out the trip well enough and has not done too much wrong to date. There should be a minor maiden or a nursery for him over this trip.
NOVINAPHOBIA chased the leaders but was held from the furlong pole. A step up on his York debut and he seems to be going the right way.
GOODKNIGHT PERCY doesn’t look straight forward at the moment. He was rather fizzy in the preliminaries, still looks green and could only muster the one pace once the tempo increased.
HOLLYWOOD KEN is tall and leggy and looks to have some filling out to do. He made a promising effort three out but was beaten from the furlong pole. His breeding suggests time is required and he will need a stiffer test than this.
INVINCIBLE BOND and THE AULD KIRK, both from stables not renowned for producing two-year-olds, were well beaten. I did a double take when I saw Aimee Waugh leading round a two-year-old! She’s more likely to be seen at Kelso in winter than Musselburgh in summer.
7.15 1m 4f 100yds Eddie Kricak Memorial – The Rocks Handicap (45-65)
An exposed bunch but a clear winner as NEUF DES COUERS came clear from two out. Stepped up significantly in trip from 1m 1f, she won this with any amount in hand and her trainer will presumably try to strike before the handicapper catches up again.
Veteran DHAULAR DHAR looked an absolute picture and Jim Goldie certainly knows how to keep his horses sweet in the old age. He never looked like winning but saw out his race soundly enough to take second. He remains in good heart.
HARRISON’S CAVE, fizzy in the paddock, kept on if held from over a furlong out. He runs the occasional decent race but is normally one to oppose.
NEW COLOURS led two furlongs out but was soon headed and then held.
YOURHOLIDAYISOVER normally gets involved some how, but only has one jumps win to his credit. He was ridden hands and heels in the closing stages, just keeping on steadily, and this is presumably how he has to be ridden.
LACERTA is a big strong type who is lightly raced. He was held from two out and it looks as if his table are trying to find his trip. I wonder if he might be better with a stiffer finish, as it might happen a shade too quick for him around Musselburgh.
7.45 5f Ivestec June Selling Stakes (Class 5)
Down at the start for the previous race I heard the jockeys discussing this contest. Joe Doyle said that the favourite SMART MOVER ‘has not gone forward’ with racing but they thought she should win this. She was driven over one out and looked in trouble, but responded and just held on from a fast finished. Her connections went to £11,000 to retain her, but she is not going the right way and this looked a very ordinary contest.
TOTAL POWER, a stocky muscly colt, was outpaced early on but scythed through the field and was in front a stride past the line. E would seem to have better prospects going forward than the winner, particularly with a stiffer finish.
CANFORD KILBEY wasn’t disgraced dropped to selling company, though clearly has her limitations. She kept on for third place.
RIO DEVA set the pace and rallied once headed but held in a close fourth near the line. She has the basic pace to give her some hope in similar contests.
FRANK BRIDGE looks pony sized, probably less than 15 hands. He showed early pace but weakened from the furlong pole and prospects look limited in all but the most dire company.
Beverley claimer winner LOLAMOTION was another held from the furlong pole.
8.15 5f Racing UK Handicap (46-70)
THORNTOUN LADY is quite lightly raced for a five-year-old sprinter. She closed steadily from two out and led on the line. She does have a tendency to race too freely, but settled better here.
GO GO GREEN looked the winner one out but was done on the line by his stablemate. He wins in his turn but does need things to fall right, though he does have chances if his mark allows him into this grade.
BUSY BIMBO showed decent speed and kept on for third. She races often but wins seldom.
TADALAVIL made an effort two out but was held and needs things to fall right.
JEBEDIAH SHINE looked the progressive three-year-old up against an exposed bunch. However, she was driven and outpaced over one out and under a 6lb rise couldn’t match her all the way Thirsk effort.
8.45 7f 30yds Edinburgh Gin Handicap (70-80)
Veteran RASAMAN forged clear in the latter stages. He’s been running soundly and is another to advertise Jim Goldie’s abilities with the more elderly contestants.
JUST PAUL came back to form with a prominent effort. He led briefly two out but was outpaced by the winner. Certainly worth an interest here if dropped a grade.
SILVER RIME kept on for third for a seasonal best.
RALPHY BOY had his chance but was held from the furlong pole, as did TRUE PLEASURE.
9.15 1m Edinburgh Gin Finest Quality Handicap (49-65)
HIDDEN REBEL led inside the final furlong, then pricked her ears and flashed her tail though saw her race out. She has worn a hood and doesn’t look straightforward, though plenty good enough at this level when in the right frame of mind.
BAHAMIAN DESERT saw his race out nicely. He was well held over 5 furlongs, but this trip seems much more suitable and it would not be unreasonable to expect a win before long.
LET RIGHT BE DONE set the pace and kicked on to three out, he was ridden and then headed inside the final furlong. A fair enough effort on debut for the stable who bought him for £8,000 out of a Leicester claimer.
Irish challenger STARSHAPED kept on in the latter stages having been outpaced and seems certain to be better suited by a return to a stiffer track, his win having come at Newcastle. His trainer is not averse to crossing the Irish Sea on a regular basis.
Best of the remainder was SPIRIT OF THE SEA who made eye-catching progress to challenge for fifth. Worth keeping an eye on.
Next flat meeting on the radar is Hamilton on July 11th. I will then be back on my 'home territory' catching up with family and taking in Newbury's evening meeting on July 23rd. Looking further ahead we are visiting Jersey in late August, visiting the closing meeting of the Jersey Race Club season at Les Landes.