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North On The Level

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    MUSSELBURGH – Friday August 2nd

    Going – Good

    A glorious sunny evening brought out a decent crowd for Musselburgh’s last evening meeting of the current season. The card was handicaps only, perhaps not one to suit the purists but plenty of chances to bet at a decent price with some shorter priced winners and the main event won by a long-shot.

    Once again I’ve shortened the titles of some of the races. I don’t mind making some acknowledgement to the sponsor, but some of the race titles are starting to get plain silly.

    6.10 1m 5f Amateur Riders’ Handicap (49-67)

    A decent contest to open the card, plenty of these in form before the contest and a winner who appears progressive.

    Mikey Ennis was patient enough not to go chasing the leaders too hard too early, allowing GUCCI D’ORO to use his staying powers from the three furlong marker. He wore down the leaders and led in the final furlong. The winner hasn’t had too much racing to date and looks one to carry forward for staying handicaps. He’s has really hit form now and will stay further than this thirteen furlong trip.
    The veteran GOLDEN FUTURE showed that he still has enough about him to be competitive at this level. Turned out looking in really good nick, he disputed the lead for much of the way at a good clip. He kept finding more down the straight but found the winner staying on better close home. He’s not a prolific winner, but his attitude was good here and he can continue to give his owners some fun in these minor staying handicaps.
    VOLCANIC JACK, running into form of late and another looking well in the paddock, mixed in with the first two throughout the final two furlongs but was held in third in the last half furlong.
    Nothing else got into the race bar AL MUHAT who helped set the pace but was much too keen and spent by three out.
    FROSTY BERRY is a lightly made sort who appears on the downgrade. He flattered with a brief effort over three out but was well held.

    6.45 5f Wilkinson and Associates Nursery Handicap (49-64)

    A weakly contested nursery that lost one contestant when BARLEYCORN played up in the stalls and was withdrawn.

    The old system of following seller winners into nurseries worked here, with TOUCH THE CLOUDS well in charge from halfway. For all that it was a weak contest there was much to like about the way the gelding came clear and he is clearly on the upgrade.
    KIRTLING BELLE chased the winner from two out but made no impression. She showed some promise first time out, and this effort suggests she’s not devoid of ability but she is moderate.
    STONEY QUINE has gone backwards since a decent looking second at Hamilton. He was well beaten here.
    COUNTESS LUPUS was unsettled by Barleycorn’s antics in the stalls and had to be led out the front then reloaded. She was always outpaced in the race and doesn’t seem quick enough even at a lowly level.

    7.20 1m 1f PDM Ltd and FP McCann Handicap (54-67)

    Lightly raced MANCHESTAR had shown enough to suggest a race was well within his compass. Racing in touch with the leaders, he made a sustained effort from three out and got on top in the final furlong. He beat a few in decent form here and should be able to move on to win again.
    Much encouragement back in second place for the mare PUSH ME, running her first race for Iain Jardine off a break of over three months. She was produced looking in excellent condition and showed a nice action on the way to the start. Having been squeezed for room over a furlong out she stayed on relentlessly to the line if running out of ground to catch up. In general races on the round course here suit those running close to the pace, so the performance is all the more meritorious since Push Me came from the rear. Although the mare has a few miles on the clock, Jardine has her in fine fettle and he should be rewarded before long.
    LORD FRANKLIN set the pace and kept on once headed two furlongs out. He’s consistent and ran to his new mark here.
    OUTLAW TORN made an effort and led down the centre two furlongs out. One headed inside the furlong pole he could only find the one pace.
    Outlaw Torn ran off 57 here which is about his mark and he ran a decent race if just found wanting close home. He was shunted up 6lbs for winning a dire race at Newcastle recently and will struggle off that mark. That race fell into his lap and I get the impression he is being penalised for the distance he won by rather than the merit of the victory. That isn’t the way to handicap fairly, and while there is a need to catch improvers to even chances this mitigates the chances of exposed performers where races fall for them.
    JONNY LESTER’S HAIR, coming here off the back of a promising Redcar effort, chased the leader but was held form the two furlong pole. His wins have come at Beverley and Carlisle, and he may be better at stiff tracks that blunt the speed of his opponents.
    DANDARELL was close enough if good enough , but dropped away in the final three furlongs.

    7.50 5f Cashino Gaming Handicap (74-89)

    Decent prize money for this contest and very competitive field resulted. There was plenty of pace on and the result favoured those coming through the field. The result was a 40/1 beating a 22/1 and a 25/1 which sums up how difficult the contest was to fathom.
    The winner NOODLES BLUE BOY didn’t appear on the premises until the final furlong, led no more than 50 yards out but had forged three-quarters of a length clear by the line. He’s got a decent wins to runs record but is very much an all or nothing performer these days and it’s difficult to pin him down to a win in advance.
    Ten-year-old MOORHOUSE LAD, lightly bandaged behind, was taken down to start early. He came to challenge approaching the final furlong and looked the likely winner before being passed near the line. He’s well exposed, and what you see is what you get, but he remains competitive at this fair level.
    MIDNIGHT DYNAMO, the youngest of the first three at the age of six, stayed on well in the latter stages if never looking like the winner. He was hampered somewhat at the start which won’t have helped. He is a consistent performer and can win a similar contest given the run of the race.
    AVON BREEZE was running only his ninth race so may have more in the tank than some here. Backed down to favourite, he had every chance but was held in the closing stages. Evidence to date suggests a stiffer track might be helpful and he certainly has more victories in him.
    CRIMSON KNOT showed good pace and ran a decent race to finish fifth. This was a good effort in this company and she needs easing in class, though she hasn’t got a great wins to runs ratio.
    THE NIFTY FOX is often thereabouts at this level and wasn’t disgraced in keeping on into sixth, while OIL STRIKE’s winning run came to an end as he was found wanting in this stiffer company.
    RED BARON couldn’t get to the front and was struggling by halfway. Now he’s been forced into better class, he may be better in a smaller field where he is able to dominate.

    8.20 1m Wilkinson and Associates 3yo Handicap (47-65)

    A weak handicap and I’m not over inclined to pay too much attention to the result, not the gaps at the finish.
    The contest was run at a decent lick though, and LEXINGTON BLUE soon had the race in safe keeping after hitting the front three out. He was visored for the first time and this was a much softer contest than his Beverley win in June. He has ability and this may be a confidence booster, but I would presume the handicapper won’t do him any favours.
    BOUSATET looked the obvious form choice following a promising handicap debut, but couldn’t match the winner once passed. He’s lightly raced though and has proved recently that he has race winning ability.
    INOVATE is a well grown three-year-old who looks more of a staying type to me. He was outpaced two out and plugged on from that point. He’s tried trips up to fourteen furlongs and it may just be worth persisting at staying trips.
    BIRDY BOY set the pace until three out but quickly gave way and this was not encouraging from one who had fair form in the winter. In general his turf form has not matched form on Polytrack.

    8.50 7f 30yds Cashino Handicap (64-74) (A Betfair Scottish Mile Series Qualifier)

    JUST PAUL has been in excellent form this season, progressing by means of a series of narrow wins which were never harshly penalised. He took over after the two furlong pole and always looked the winner from that point. He idled in the closing stages, which might explain his tight races in the past, but had any amount in hand at the line. If we ignore a Catterick disappointment he is still going forward and, given that the mile shouldn’t be beyond him, he may be competitive in the final of this series.
    JEANNIE GALLOWAY closed no the winner to the line but it was on sufferance and she was held. A decent enough effort though and she’s unlikely to come up against such a progressive type every time. Her last win was two years ago, but she looks capable off a mark of 72.
    MOWHOOB hasn’t looked a particularly easy ride and kept on for third without ever threatening.
    CARA’S REQUEST led until headed after two out. She plugged on into fourth but is vulnerable to anything progressive.
    DUMBARTON ROCK made an effort three out but was beaten fairly quickly. He might be better suited by six furlongs but would have to improve on this effort even if dropped back in trip, signs here not that encouraging.

    • Total Posts 6341

    HAMILTON – Saturday August 3rd

    Going – Good (Good to Soft)

    6.15 Avia Signs Nursery Handicap (43-64)

    A moderate handicap to start the evening with only one previous performance better than fourth place between them.
    Visored for the first time and dropped back a furlong in distance, ALL IN A GAME broke well, led all the way and was driven out to win with a few lengths in hand. This wasn’t a strong event but this one showed speed and a decent attitude.
    BANDOLIER played up in the stalls. He made progress up the hill to chase the winner in the closing stages and may have enough in him to challenge for a lowly nursery maybe over seven furlongs.
    CLAUDIA OCTAVIA had not shown much in three runs in the spring, though on one occasion hinting that a step up from five furlongs would do no harm. She came with a late rattle to take third, admittedly well held and will surely benefit from seven furlongs or a mile.
    The favourite TAMAYUZ DREAM is a half-brother to a Chester Cup winner though apparently not seeing out the trip over seven furlongs last time. He was struggling before halfway and seemed up against it in a sprint event.

    6.45 6f McGuire On Fire Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    Apparently a three runner contest with the rest in as fillers, but the winner came from well back to win at 80/1.
    STONEACRE OSKAR, debuting on the turf having been well held in four all-weather outings, responded to pressure throughout the final two furlongs to get her head in front on the line. It’s difficult to weigh the form up but the third and fourth had shown enough speed so far to suggest this isn’t a contest full of duffers. If we believe that then the winner may just be much better on turf than the artificial surfaces.
    PILATES, off the back of fair runs at Doncaster and Newmarket, took over a furlong out and looked the likely winner only to be collared in the shadow of the post. She now qualifies for handicaps and shouldn’t be over-burdened given that the winner is only rated 39.
    Newcomer YARN, from the yard of William Haggas, showed good speed. She showed some greenness on the run to the line and was held in third. She will improve for this, has some basic speed and looks capable of winning a race.
    MEETING IN PARIS was up with the pace for much of the way but was found wanting in the final furlong. This form didn’t build on a promising effort at Beverley though that was over the minimum trip.
    There was market interest for ROUAL DUCHESS who showed good speed for four furlongs before giving way. She looks like one for a bottom level five furlong handicap at a sharp track.

    7.15 5f Handicap (56-75)

    The field lost two at the start as both Chasing Dreams (refused to enter stalls) and Findog (after getting loose) were withdrawn. Both were amongst the leaders in the market. And the way the race panned out the form is at best of somewhat dubious value.

    Duran Fentiman stuck to the stands’ rails on PERFECT PASTURE, raced up with the pace and was well in command in the final furlong and a half. I presume that Fentiman had someone to do his pre-meeting work to check on the course condition as he was late arriving from Thirsk. He may indeed have taken a flyer at the rails course, but his mount gave plenty in a first time visor. The winner had shown ability on a couple of occasions previously. Only concern is that maybe the race fell for him.
    TOM SAWYER was best of the rest down the centre and saw off his rivals in their own race. He won at Sandown last August but has struggled in the main this season.
    DA’QUONDE had every chance down the centre two out, and might just have led the field, but was one paced in the final furlong.

    7.45 6f TBA British Stallions EBF Fillies’ Handicap (67-88)

    Four sprints in a row might save on stalls shifting, but it doesn’t show an awful lot of imagination in race programming! The fourth however was the feature race and run for decent prize of £9,704 to the winner.
    HOPES N DREAMS made her record 5 wins from 6 starts with a convincing win. She made the pace and wound it up from halfway, having the race won at the furlong pole. She will go up to a mark in the mid to high 80s and her opportunities at Hamilton might be reduced a bit. That being said, she’s been placed in her only runs at Carlisle and Beverley and would surely go well if tried at those two tracks more often.
    DRATRIX made progress from the rear but could make no impact on the winner. She was clear of the remainder though and she ran well enough off her new mark to suggest she can take another race this season.
    The ‘peloton’ was led home by DREAM MAKER who needs dropping in the handicap, but on the basis of two consecutive thirds probably won’t be, and ECONOMIC CRISIS who once again ran passably well but previously recorded by your correspondent as ‘runs often, wins seldom’. The latter does at least add regular prize money to keep costs!

    8.15 1m 65yds IHE Stainless Ltd Handicap (Betfair Scottish Mile Series Qualifier) (65-75)

    TED’S BROTHER joined the issue two furlongs out and wore down the runner-up in the closing stages. He is regularly competitive in this class and favoured by a stiff finish, so his trainer might be a bit frustrated that the final of the Scottish mile Series is to be held at Ayr!
    SATANIC BEAT tracked the leader and kicked on over two out. He battled hard to try to fend off his challenger and was only mastered close home. This hints that he’s back in the same form he was last summer and he has won off 8lbs higher than his current mark.
    HIGH RESOLUTION is exposed but kept on into third.
    JEBEL TARA was the subject of new tactics. He led until headed after three furlongs out, at which point he seemed he might capitulate. To his credit he stuck to his guns and kept on to fight for third if held by the first two.
    DARK OCEAN finished with a rattle but way too late to trouble the leaders. He has done this before which hints at needing a longer trip.
    ARGAKI has been consistent of late but never got into this contest.
    A winner here last time, WELLINGROVE was never better than midfield and faded tamely. He looks one to be wary off.

    8.45 1m 3f Margaret Smith Memorial Handicap (63-75)

    The pace was steady here and the race turned into a ‘three furlong burn-up’.

    CORTON LAD had been thereabouts a few times of late and showed plenty of determination to hold on here. He has done well at Hamilton, but most of his racing has been in Scottish or nearby so I can’t see any particular pattern to his performances other than he’s an honest handicapper.
    COSMIC HALO pushed the winner all the way and is another who generally runs his race.
    It’s worth noting that WOODSTOCK came from the rear to fill third, not an easy task in a slowly run race. An all-weather winner earlier in the year, he’s dropped down the handicap and this performance does at least hint that he retains that ability.
    KING KURT set the pace but couldn’t up his game sufficiently having increased the pace three out. He kept on at one pace for fourth place.
    KING OF PARADISE pulled too hard off the slow pace and didn’t have the pace to match the principals in the final two furlongs. He has made the pace recently, including when successful here and appeared to resent the restraint.

    • Total Posts 6341

    Not from my area but a couple of juvenile maiden races worth noting from yesterday.

    At Newbury the Saeed Bin Suroor newcomer FIRST FLIGHT was very impressive in winning a six furlong maiden. He stretched clear well for a clear win and looks one to go on to better contests, maybe over seven furlongs.
    Second in that race was ICE SLICE who had reasonable form going into the race and saw off the remainder of the field with no trouble. He’s been placed in three out of four races, which might be a factor that detracts support against well touted newcomers. He won’t always run into one as sharp as this winner.

    At Chester GALLIC BREEZE won the opening maiden despite looking totally at sea on the turning track. He stretched on nicely in the closing stages once getting on to a straigtish bit of track. The form may well be under-rated and this one could get into a nursery handicap on a decent rating.

    • Total Posts 6341

    MUSSELBURGH – Friday August 9th

    Going – Good (Good to Firm in places)

    2.00 7f Watermans Nursery Handicap (62-78)

    Upped two furlongs, SANDSMAN’S GIRL won this very nicely. She was covered up early, racing rather keenly, but moved into contention two out and went past the leader from one out. It’s worth noting that they did go rather slowly and the form isn’t guaranteed to work out.
    SPLIT ROCK set the pace, upped the tempo in the straight only to be outpointed form the furlong pole by the winner. He has a whole line of places but he has never raced more than five opponents, largely being tapped for pace in the closing stages. He won first time up at Southwell on a surface which might see him to best advantage.
    Of the others IMSHIVALLA pulled hard while held up in the rear and wasn’t seen to best advantage. I suspect she might prove better over six furlongs at this stage.

    2.30 5f British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stakes (2yo) (Class 3)

    A disappointing turn out of only four for an £8,000 prize. It must be galling for the course to find all races having single figure fields on a card with decent prize money up for grabs.
    VIVA VERGLAS showed plenty of early pace and kept going in fine style to win here. He won a six runner nursery at York last time and continues on the upgrade.
    BACK LANE matched the leader for four furlongs but was held from the furlong pole. He has enough pace to suggest a mark of 85 may not be too harsh in a sprint nursery.
    REBEL CODE tried to match the first two but was struggling two out. He was well held at Lingfield first time and needs sights lowered.
    MICK’S YER MAN, off the track since winning at Musselburgh season opener meeting, was taken off his feet right from the start and never got anywhere near the others. He presumably needs soft ground, though might have been expected to be closer.

    3.00 1m 6f Archerfield Cup Handicap (79-97)

    PARTY LINE, visored for the first time, challenged two furlongs out and stuck on well from that point. She’s a tough mare having run at Catterick three days previously . She hit form about this time last year, has won off a higher mark than the 84 she ran off here and may add to this £16,000 prize.
    TROPICAL BEAT stayed on from the rear to take second but never got to the winner. This was a good effort on seasonal debut, though he ran off a career high mark here.
    Dual purpose veteran NOBLE ALAN tried to stretch them in the straight but was under the pump two out and couldn’t raise his game. He stays well and is honest, but lacks an extra gear in a finish.
    JONNY DELTA was keen early on and was not suited by the steady pace. He kept on through the field for fourth and needs a true run race.

    3.30 7f Nairns Oatcakes Handicap (72-92)

    As has been the way for much of the season those running close to the pace. Coming off the back of a good second at Goodwood, ALEJANDRO hit the front two out and stayed on from that point to win by a couple of lengths. The race was run to suit but this one has the ability to make use of his chances.
    FROG HOLLOW was drawn wide and had to be dropped in early to get some cover. He made an effort three out but had a fair bit to and could only stay on for a never nearer second. He certainly wasn’t favoured by the draw on this track and the effort may be better than it first looks.
    SILVER RIME ran a creditable race upped a couple of grades. He chased the leader honestly enough in the final quarter of a mile and remains one to keep an eye on if eased in class once again.
    POWERFUL PRESENCE shared the pace with Alejandro but could only find the one speed once passed two out.

    4.00 1m Arthritis Research UK Handicap (45-68)

    RALPHY BOY made most of the running to hold off his only serious challenger BORDER BANDIT at any time in the race. The first pulled clear and it was two horse race from two out. The race was run to suit the pair and a mainly ordinary followed at a respectable distance.
    The favourite PUSH ME reared and lost lengths at the start. Although getting back to her field she was then forced wide on the bend. From that point it was a losing battle, but she is capable of much better is generally a consistent sort who can be forgiven this lapse.

    4.30 1m 4f 100yds Daikin Climate Control Handicap (45-71)

    A messy race, with horses weaving back and forth in the final two furlongs. VITTACHI just got up on the line to beat GEANIE MAC who looked the winner 100 yards out. Another exposed performer in GRAND DIAMOND kept on for third.
    Hat-trick seeker PEARL SPICE, who had them strung out like washing over a longer trip at Nottingham last week, had to work hard to get near the front. He was outpaced in the straight but stuck on again late under pressure. He probably wasn’t seen at his best over this shorter trip.

    5.00 2m Thomson Travel Amateur Riders’ Handicap (53-67)

    GOLDEN FUTURE had the run of the race here and got revenge for his defeat by Gucci D’Oro last Friday. Jamie Hamilton outrode his opponents in this race.
    Alex Ferguson looked to caught napping somewhat on GUCCI D’ORO. He gave the leader a similar amount of rope to last week but Golden Future had an easy lead here and the runner-up couldn’t make up five lengths in two furlongs. He wasn’t helped by LA BACOUETTEUSE weaving about, but that didn’t affect the result. The latter put it to the winner but weakened approaching the furlong pole.
    BOLLIN BOB was beaten three furlongs from home.

    • Total Posts 6341

    HAMILTON – Friday August 23rd

    Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

    Hamilton finished their 2013 evening programme with a card headlined by a competitive renewal of the Lanark Silver Bell, run successfully at the course since its resurrection.

    5.30 6f Ladbrokes Nursery Handicap (Class 5)

    The David O’Meara trained OMANOME wore down Handwoven in the closing stages to record a first win, having hinting at it when second in a maiden here previously. The stiff finish seems to suit.
    HANDWOVEN took over a furlong and a half out but couldn’t resist the winner in the last 50 yards. With his sights lowered a little of late he is going close and there should be a small contest for him.
    ANOTHER ROYAL kept on but never threatened to be better than third.
    BOOGANGOO ran with head held toward the rail and did not look particularly comfortable, even though disputing for four furlongs. She won here on good to firm though it was a weak maiden.

    6.05 6f Variety Club Handicap (3yo) (Class 6)

    GOLD BEAU has been competitive a grade up on this and the top weight made his lsight class edge tell in what seems a moderate sprint handicap. He ran on up the hill, has been reasonably consistent this year and should continue to pay his way.
    GAMBINO started at 80/1 here having never been less than 66/1 in any race but he stepped up significantly on some poor previous form. Showing enough speed to lead, he was headed at the furlong pole but kept on to the line.
    ALEXANDERKOLLONTAI is three times a winner but basically a Class 6 horse who can get in the mix in this company. He had every chance but was held in the final furlong.
    BAPAK PESTA struggled early on and gave typical signs of one struggling with this course. He picked up well in the latter stages and it was the downhill section that troubled him, a decent run at Carlisle suggesting a course consistently ‘against the collar’ is more suitable. The bare form is not brilliant but there are races to be won with this one.

    6.35 6f Download the Ladbrokes App Handicap (Class 4)

    The distance dial seemed to be stuck on six furlongs as we saw the third consecutive race over the trip. Saves lugging the stalls about, I suppose!

    SPIN ARTIST followed up his debut maiden win at Chepstow with a win in handicap company. Racing handily, he led a furlong out and stayed on determinedly to hold two challengers. I suspect he can progress again after this as he has plenty of speed and a typically good attitude for a Mark Johnston inmate.
    FREE SPIN was held by the youngster in the last 50 yards but lost nothing in defeat. He ran some fair races on Polytrack at the start of the year and will presumably be given chances on that surface in the coming months.
    SALVATORE FURY was not disgraced in third. Attempting this grade for the first time this season, he travelled keenly but well enough and challenged in the final two furlongs, being held in the final half furlong. If he can repeat this effort in Class 5 company he can win again.
    I stopped trying fathom BONNIE CHARLIE some time ago. He’s decent at this level when on his game but not particularly predictable. He was held from over a furlong out here. My wife has backed him before because we used to have cats called Bonnie and Charlie… We now have cats called Lucy and Suzy, so if there’s ever a horse called LucySuzy then the money will be down!

    7.05 1m 4f Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Handicap (Class 3)

    A decent first prize of over 16,000 for this ancient prize was rewarded with a competitive field.

    SPECIAL MEANING caught my eye here in lesser company earlier this season and it was no surprise that this progressive filly took this contest in impressive style. She dictated the pace under a canny ride from Franny Norton, kicked on four out and was in control in the final two furlongs. She won well enough here to suggest that she can move up in company once again.
    Stable companion NIMIETY chased from four out though held in the final two furlongs. She was clear second best though and put in a really decent effort stepped up in trip. There are races to be won with her in the ten to twelve furlong range and she looks to be coming to herself now.
    COSMIN SUN flew the flag for the older brigade, keeping on well enough for third.
    CERTAVI came from off the pace and was gaining ground late in the day. He would have be suited by more pace, is lightly raced and looks capable of landing a handicap before long.

    7.40 1m 1f Always Trying Open Maiden Stakes

    NIGHTSTER landed this race for Mark Johnston, sponsor of this race and a consistent supporter of Hamilton racecourse in terms of runners. The newcomer held off the challenge of Alan Swinbank ARZIYAD. The latter is going the right way and assuming the handicapper uses the third 66-rated MAGIC SKYLINE as a mark then neither of the first two will get a mark of much more than 70. Both NIGHTSTER and ARZIYAD should be capable of progressing to win handicaps.
    4/11 favourite HEROINE REQUIRED was hampered two out and could make no impression afterwards. For all that there may have been an excuse here she is not going the right way.

    8.10 5f AFM Electrical Ltd Handicap (Class 6)

    GOTTCHER followed up his Wednesday Musselburgh win, quickening up well to beat a well exposed bunch with no great problems. He’s progressing now and can move up a grade successfully.
    ROCK CANYON stayed on best to take second in front of CARRIE’S MAGIC but there were three others in close proximity and there’s no guarantee they will finish in this order next time.

    • Total Posts 6341

    A couple of flat meetings at the start of this week but quite low key.

    Hamilton – Monday September 2nd

    A three-runner maiden wouldn’t normally be a race to catch the eye, but I was very taken by the runner-up here SWEHAN. Making his debut he tried to match the long-odds on Mark Johnston favourite Mahican but had to give best in the final two furlongs. Swehan has a distinctly round action and looks sure to be one to keep in mind in the coming weeks as the autumn rain arrives. I’d be surprised if Kevin Ryan can’t coax a race or two out of this one before the turf season ends.

    FEEL THE HEAT won the Betfair Sprint Series in decent style from a competitive field. He’s probably still a few pounds better than the 66 he ran off here, but he’s fast ground specialist and would need a dry autumn to keep up the form.
    Old BECKERMET retians his enthusiasm and ran a fine race to finish second having been in the firing line all the way. His spans my period of living in Scotland and a bit more as I saw him win the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in 2005 a few months before we headed north
    The one that caught hte eye here was ALEXANDRAKOLLANTAI who finished well to take third. She missed the break completely and was driven along for much of the way. However she really picked up ground up the hill and was gaining fast at the finish. Her wins have come in good to soft and heavy ground, so she is one to keep in mind for the next couple of months.

    Musselburgh – September 3rd

    The East Lothian track kindly put on a meeting to celebrate my birthday(!), though unfortunately I couldn’t make it and was reduced to watching the replays.

    Canny Gordon Elliott is always on the lookout for opportunities and landed a double with GOAL, in decent form over jumps recently, and DIYALA who won the staying handicap with a fair bit to spare. Diyala probably has more improvement to come, having performed better with each step up in distance. Might be worth taking the hint if Elliott brings him back to Scotland or the North of England.

    • Total Posts 6341

    MUSSELBURGH – Monday September 16th

    Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

    I had a morning in the office before taking the train to Musselburgh for the Edinburgh Holiday Monday Meeting. There were a few families at the course, and many on the train making their way to North Berwick to take advantage of a bright if breezy September day.
    Sunday rain resulted in a slight softening of the ground form good, but the Musselburgh turf is in excellent condition considering this was the third last meeting of the flat campaign here.

    2.10 7f 30yds Batleys Foodserve Handicap (58-64)

    A evenly matched if moderate field for the first event of the afternoon, 14 having been eliminated at final declaration stage.
    I arrived about five minutes before the start but the antics of PARTNER meant I had time to settle. The gelding who unseated his rider going to post and then ran loose for at least a mile and a half possibly more. It was slightly surprising that Partner was allowed to take part, and after leading for four furlongs he was quickly brushed aside. He has ability, but his temperament isn’t helping.
    The result was a dead-heat between two of the in-form runners here, Fraser Perratt taking in the region of ten minutes poring over the photo before announcing what everyone had imagined was inevitable.
    CARA’S REQUEST is normally a front runner but didn’t lead on this occasion, although always handy. He took over two out and looked the likely winner. Keeping on well in the final furlong he battled back after being headed and got back right on the line.
    SUMMER DANCER challenged throughout the final furlong and gained a half-share of a race he won last season.
    The combined age of the first two is 17, so neither is likely to improve at this stage, but they are both honest sorts who gave their best to provide a cracking finish.
    VIVA RONALDO has slipped down the handicap but showed a glimmer more than of late, staying on into third place without threatening the winners. He has won on soft so might be able to land a similar event in the autumn.
    PERFECT WORDS had every chance if good enough and turned out not be on this occasion. This was a first urn at seven furlongs for this 19 race maiden and he appeared to see the trip out.
    MOWHOOB is probably capable of winning at this level, but doesn’t show too much inclination to exert himself at the business end. He was comfortably held in fifth.

    2.40 7f 30yds Drinks Express 2yo Selling Stakes (Class 6)

    MAID IN RIO had not shown much before this, well held at Ayr and Beverley then outclassed in a sales race at The Curragh, although she did show some speed in the latter event. This was however a good deal easier and she showed four rivals a clean pair of heels from the two furlong marker. Connections went to £8,500 to see off a single opposing bidder. She will presumably move on to nurseries.
    BLACK TREACLE was very late in the paddock, presumably because he looked rather revved up. He led for the first half of the race, and kept on honestly enough once passed to hold on to second. The effort suggests he stays seven furlongs. He’s honest enough and consistent and just caught one too good on this occasion.
    PRINCESS TAMAY hasn’t been brilliant to date. She had two handlers in the paddock and appeared a bit of a handful. She kept on in the closing stages but was held by the second throughout the final furlong.
    ANGEL ROSA was beaten two furlongs out and disappointed in comparison to previous efforts.
    BOY RANGER was way too lively in the paddock and much too slow in the race.

    3.10 2m Batleys Cash And Carry Handicap (64-79)

    A competitive little contest for a decent prize on a quiet Monday.
    MAN OF PLENTY has raced on no firmer than good and one supposes his trainer feels he’s best with cut. A little bit of juice presumably suited and he made the trip from Newmarket pay, asserting from a number of potential challengers from two out.
    BOWDLER’S MAGIC impressed with a determined effort chasing after the winner if never closing fast enough. He seems in good heart for his new yard, that of David Thompson. Seen out here in hurdles last season performing passably well, it would be no surprise if he pitches up again in November when the Musselburgh jumps season begins.
    DR IRV was outpace in the final two furlongs and appears on tougher mark now having been raised 6lbs for a neck win last time out in a six-runner contest.
    HIT THE JACKPOT had every chance two out and wasn’t good enough when the chips were down.
    JAN SMUTS was moved up a couple of grades and didn’t help his cause by rearing at the start. In rear for most of the way, he made some progress to threaten briefly over two out but could muster no more at this point. He needs to drop back in class. He didn’t convince over hurdles last year and I wonder if Wilf Storey might be tempted to use his staying power at Southwell.

    3.40 5f Best One Nursery Handicap (55-72)

    The winner ONE BOY has ability but it’s proven difficult to get the tactics right since a win at Redcar on debut. He tracked the leaders and showed a decent turn of pace to hit the front at the furlong pole, sticking on well to hold the main challenger. He has decent speed and should be capable of winning again.
    BOUNTY GIRL emerged from the field to chase the winner in the closing stages. She was tried in eyeshields here and ran to the best of her previous form on this occasion.
    I can’t remember seeing too many dead-heats in forty odd years of racegoing, but there were two on this card with CLASSICAL DIVA and BOUNTIFUL FOREST sharing third place in this race. The pair don’t look especially favourably handicapped, but weren’t disgraced here.
    NOBLE ASSET, an expensive Breeze-Up purchase, races a little too keenly for his own good. He showed early pace but was spent by the final furlong.

    4.10 1m 1f Best In Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

    This was a decent contest for a Class 6 with a number of older campaigners with decent form in the book. The race offered what I considered the best bet of the afternoon, the bet paying off as DEMOLITION landed the money off bottom weight. Entered for £5,000 by Noel Wilson, he was well favoured at the weights and didn’t look in any danger after taking charge two out. Demolition has been finding the task just beyond him in handicaps but he’s done well dropped to claimers and adjusted ratings gave him 7lbs plus in hand.
    EXTRATERRESTRIAL, another who has been making his mark now aimed at claimers, chased the winner form two out and was not disgraced. He might well find a similar contest and he has won claimers at Carlisle and Newcastle this season, suggesting that a stiff track suits.
    PRIME EXHIBIT is a hard puller who was restrained from the gate by his jockey. He never got a blow in at the leaders but stayed on in the last two furlongs to take third place.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT chased the leaders two out but couldn’t get in a serious blow at the leader. He ran quite well at these weights, but he’s favoured by fast going and time is probably running out this season.
    JEBEL TARA ahd every chance and wasn’t good enough from two out. He had a purple patch when well handicapped early in the season, but he’s gone up in the weights and found this company a little tough.
    SEATTLE DRIVE was squeezed for room two out and never got in a blow. He was subsequently claimed for £10,000 by David Pipe. Fifth in a big field maiden hurdle at Galway a year ago, he may now be aimed at hurdles by his new trainer.

    4.00 5f Petrushka Vodka Handicap ( 48-69)

    WINDFORPOWER has a lot of races under his belt for a three-year-old since this was his 38th outing. This was a sixth career win, a decent record at this end of the spectrum, though this was a first turf win. He raced prominently, led a furlong out and showed determination to gain the day.
    ECONOMIC CRISIS, noted on more than one occasion here as ‘runs often but wins seldom’, once again earned a bit of keep with a decent effort and was closing in on the winner at the line. Not betting material but does enough to keep her owners interested.
    MR MO JO led at a decent pace and kept on well enough once headed. A sharp five furlongs suits fine, though a win at Newcastle suggests he’s not one dimensional.
    GO GO GREEN, a winner of a seller this year, stayed on from the rear for a never nearer fourth.
    OUR DIANE came to the front approaching the final furlong but was headed and held in the final furlong.
    SAXONETTE didn’t go the early pace and could only pick up a length or two under driving late on. A fair enough effort, but the race she won at Hamilton in July was a dire contest and she normally finds a few too good.

    5.10 1m 4f 100yds Xtra Local Handicap (Betfair Stayers’ Series Qualifier) (51-62)

    A competitive event won in catching style by an improving three-year-old filly in Bayan Kasirga. She had tack problems last time when unseating, so this effectively reads as a second consecutive win. She led two out and ran on strongly to pull clear. The impression is that there’s a bit more to come and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she overcomes a weight rise. The final of this series is held here on October 14th and I would imagine Brian Ellison will be eyeing that contest.
    GEANIE MAC kept on well enough for second and ran up to her best of this season.
    Philip Kirby has recently acquired BURNS NIGHT and he could take advantage of this one’s current mark. His best form on the flat has been short of this distance, but he seemed to see out the trip if getting in a blow at the leader. He may be placed to win in the coming weeks.
    VALANTINO OYSTER isn’t straight forward but has regularly been in the mix lately. Pushed up to lead early on, he stuck at it once passed but had nothing left in the final furlong.
    HIGH ON THE HILL raced in rear and stayed on through the field to take fifth place. Lightly raced since winning in 2011, Iain Jardine seems to have the six-year-old in good heart and there may be a minor handicap for him this autumn.

    5.40 Petrushka Vodka Handicap (47-69)

    I noted OPT OUT as a possible future winner back in June when spotting him at Ayr. He didn’t go on from there, but he looked very well and the latent talent was uncovered on this occasion. Covered up on this occasion, he came through to lead inside the final furlong and asserted bin the closing stages.
    TOM SAWYER ran a decent race under a penalty. He soon led and ran on once headed, suggesting that there is another win around the corner.
    HERE NOW AND WHY had every chance but was held in the final furlong. He’s a win in his turn performer, but has been in decent nick of late.
    IRISHS GIRLS SPIRIT probably needs the ground slightly quicker, so a close enough fourth was a sound enough effort.

    With an hour to kill before the train back to the city I took a stroll across the centre of the course and walked down the back straight of the jumps course. The turf is in excellent nick and should please trainers looking to run in the four jumps fixtures coming up before Christmas. The turf is very lush and the surface even.
    Meanwhile the golfers were appearing for a few late evening holes on the links. Two of them put on a pretty dire exhibition of putting and chipping for me to watch. Gives me hope if ever the clubs appear from the garage again…
    Onward past Ma Forman’s pub at the end of the golf course. It was a sorry sight a few years back, but has had a new lease of life in recent times and the food menu looks well worth a try.

    Other commitments mean I won’t be at Ayr for the Western Meeting, but I will be on course at Hamilton on Sunday September 22nd. It’s then on to a belated birthday celebration at Musselburgh the following Sunday courtesy of my wife, a review of the Epperston Suite to follow! Kelso start their jumps programme in early October, then I hope to get in another visit to Musselburgh on October 14th when the Willie Park Trophy heads what should be a very decent card by normal Monday standards.

    • Total Posts 6341

    HAMILTON Sunday September 22nd

    Going – Good to Soft

    Just over a week to go to the end of the season, but the course was shown off to its best in early autumn sunshine. The going was good to soft, but it would have been drying out throughout the day and not sure that many runners would have been inconvenienced.

    2.20 6f totejackpot nursery Handicap (50-71)
    An exposed bunch of two-year-olds and nothing noticeably progressive.
    DONNY ROVER showed promise early in the season, but had not gone over the summer. On his best form he was arguably well treated here and had clearly been showing something extra because he was backed from 10/1 into 11/2 joint favourite in an open market. This was a good deal easier than the Doncaster Class 2 event ne contested last time and, taking it up a furlong out, he burst clear to put the race out of range of his opponents. This could be a case of everything falling right on the day and I’m not sure a repeat will prove so easy.
    Bottom weight showed plenty of promise, staying on nicely for second and hinting that there’s a small nursery within his compass this autumn. He should stay seven furlongs in this company.
    PIFEON PIE was well held in third after having every chance. He looks a good deal leaner than his stable companion OVERSTEP (well held seventh in first time blinkers), but looks the better performer at this stage.

    2.50 totequadpot Handicap (3yo) (60-75)

    BARON RUN was taken down to start early for this contest. Making all the running in the centre, he stayed on under driving to add to a previous maiden victory here.
    KHELMAN chipped away at the winner in the final furlong but was always just held. Try as I might I can’t find a pattern with this one who has run creditably on stiff and flat tracks.
    CHASING DREAMS had every chance a furlong on and kept on if held. She ran well in better company last season and may be one to bear in mind if the rains turn the ground properly soft.
    ALEXANDRAKOLLONTAI once again threw away her chance with a slow start. Julie Burke bided her time, putting the filly into the race up the hill, but she lost by the distance she gave away at the start. Connections are apparently considering a race here on September 30th but she needs to hit the boxes if she is to win.
    The remainder were beaten with a furlong to go.

    3.20 6f totepool Flower Of Scotland Fillies’ Handicap (67-91)

    A competitive contest for the biggest prize of the day.

    DANCHEUR has done all here previous winning on ground faster than this. She tends to blitz it out in front and then hopes to hang on, but she was clear a furlong out and won with something to spare.
    PEARL SEA is a strong impressive looking filly, but she hadn’t really progressed in recent runs. However, she kept on quite nicely to hold second having been near the pace throughout. She shouldn’t go up more than a pound for this a looks a potential autumn winner.
    ATHENIAN came here off a break and there looked something to work on. She disputed two out but couldn’t offer enough to go with the winner though keeping on for third. The race will likely do her good and there should be opportunities in the coming weeks.
    DUSKY QUEEN seemed to have the worst of the draw up the near rail. Racing prominently on this side she kept on into fourth and this may turn out to have been a creditable effort.
    AVON BREEZE is probably as high as she would need to be in the handicap. She had every chance but could only find the one pace to finish fifth. Five furlongs or a sharper six plays more to her strengths.
    TARTIFLETTE put in some good performances in early season but her form has tailed off a little of late. She had every chance and was held form a furlong out.
    SMALL FURY was on her toes in the paddock and raced keenly. Predicatbly she fell away and would need a drop in class to have a chance.

    3.50 1m 65yds EBF British Stallion Studs Maiden Stakes (2yo) (Class 5)

    A closely fought maiden with any of three in with a chance in the last fifty yards.

    MR GALLIVANTER has the look of one who will benefit from further than this in time. He built on an encouraging Beverley debut, staying on up the far rail and getting his head in front on the line.
    Held in Group 2 company at Doncaster, VIVERE led over two out and kept finding for driving. She looked to have done enough but was foiled in the shadow of the post. She certainly has the right attitude and there should be race for her before long.
    RANGI CHASE loomed up on the outside from two out, and looked the likely winner at the furlong pole, but was held in the closing stages. A good effort, stepping up on a Haydock third place.
    INEVITABLE is a big strong colt who used up too much energy in the preliminaries. He was on his toes and had two handlers in the paddock. In the race he was fast away and led until two out but was one paced from that point.

    4.20 1m 1f 36yds totepool Handicap (51-70)

    JORDAURA has been there or thereabouts on a number of occasions recently. Having dwelt at the start, he worked his way into the race two out and stayed on to collar the long time leader inside the final furlong. A nice effort and a follow-up is possible.
    LORD FRANKLIN set the pace and his tenacity saw off the majority only to get collared in the closing stages. Admirably consistent, although he’s not won at the trip he sees it out well enough and softening ground would be no problem.
    HIGH RESOLUTION made headway three out but couldn’t make any impact in the latter stages. This was as good as any effort he has put up this season.
    SIZE looked very fit. He couldn’t make an impact on the leaders in the last two furlongs.
    ICY BLUE chased the leader until weakening from the furlong pole. He’s not the easiest to catch right.
    NORTH POLE, with decent form at Brighton and Bath behind him, found the finishing hill too much here and weakened over a furlong out.

    4.50 1m 5f 9yds toteexacta Handicap (66-78)

    A race where the winner was gifted an early lead and only two ever looked like winning.
    KING OF PARADISE set a decent pace without overstretching himself. He had a five length lead three out and dug deep in the closing stages to hold his only challenger. This was his fourth win, all at Hamilton, and he saw out the trip albeit with only a neck to spare. Eric Alston commented that hold up tactics had been tired with this one, but they didn’t work and he’s much better allowed to do his own thing in front.
    DISCAY chased the winner all the way and wound him back up the final hill, just being held in the final reckoning. He’s proving quite consistent and ran to his best here. It could be argued that his jockey just misjudged things, but I guess he expected the leader to come back to him.
    SWINGING HAWK was reported as hanging throughout the race, staying on from a long way off the pace. He needs holding up and would have received little cover if he had chased the pace. His jockey was caught between a rock and hard place and this run can be ignored.
    GETABUZZ led the chasers to the main group, but didn’t close when asked and wasn’t good enough on the day.
    CALEDONIA is proving disappointing on the flat and was beaten over three out.
    CAPTAIN BROWN was making a first flat appearance for 800 days and was the first beaten.

    5.20 5f totepool Handicap (45-64)

    A very ordinary handicap but won by one of the few who is consistently in the mix. PULL THE PIN was fast away and led, responding well to pressure in the final furlong to hold on all out. He has a good attitude and it’s worth noting for the coming months that he has a fair record at Southwell.
    ROCK CANYON stayed on late and just failed, but he’s had plenty of chances this season.
    CHESTER’SLITTLEGEM is consistent and was never far away, finishing a close third.
    SAXONETTE kept on from the rear for a never nearer fourth place.
    DISTANT SUN notched up a hundredth run but didn’t look like winning while WICKED WILMA took her run tally to 106 without threatening. CHLOE’s DREAM couldn’t repeat Beverley form faded in the final furlong having raced prominently.

    • Total Posts 6341

    MUSSELBURGH – Sunday September 29th 2013

    Going – Good to Firm

    The glorious stretched into autumn, providing fine weather for the well attended Royal Scots Race Day. The going was on the fast side but, as Clerk of the Course Harriet Graham observed, there’s no need to water as the heavy autumn dews take any edge out of the surface.

    I was treated to a belated birthday celebration afternoon in the Epperston Restaurant by my wife. A very good afternoon we had, with decent food an attentive staff, the latter happy to keep us filled up with iced water even though we weren’t drinking otherwise. The food is excellent and a dessert of ‘Candied pear and nougatine parfait, burnt sugar caramel and Cox’s orange pippin compote’ was right up there with any I’ve had. For obvious reasons my paddock coverage wasn’t quite as serious as it might have been on other afternoons, though I did join the masses on a few occasions!

    News of next year’s Musselburgh programme is that the Scottish County Hurdle, held on Cheltenham Trials Day in February, has Listed status for its next renewal. The course have worked hard to promote this meeting over recent years, last year’s renewal of the meeting producing Cheltenham runners from all 8 contests. The course may not be similar to Cheltenham, but the consistently decent ground at this Linksland course does provide a warm up opportunity for good ground horses at a time when many courses are running soft or heavy ground.

    Thommo was in ‘good voice’ as ever, though we were spared an enclosure otur as the travelling mike wasn’t available.

    2.00 5f Royal Scots Club Nursery Handicap (50-70)

    Those with form were handicapped right up to it, the top-weight Tinsill running of a 17lbs higher mark for a Beverley win. Hence the race was ripe to be taken by something unexposed and the duty was carried up by three-raced GULLAND ROCK from David O’Meara’s stable. Well bred and steadily improving to a fair sixth at Wolverhampton last time, this one took advantage of a 58 rating, disputing the lead and asserting form the furlong pole. He’s a strong sort, did this well and I suggest is capable of going on from here.
    BALTIC SPIRIT was reportedly unsuited by the sticky ground at Hamilton last time. He was tapped for speed early on but picked up nicely in the latter stages to land second place. Time might be running out this season, but I suspect this one will prove good enough to win on similar ground at a stiffer five furlongs or if moved up to six.
    SAFFIRE SONG was dropped back a trip, a move I didn’t completely understand, but showed decent speed on kept on for third place having been near the pace all the way.
    PRINCESS MYLA made an effort over one out but couldn’t get to the leaders.
    TINSILL a strong, close-coupled out and out sprinting sort, was held up and made a little late progress. He wasn’t beaten that far and at a stiffer track should still be competitive off this higher mark.
    I noted BOUNTIFUL FOREST as ‘on toes’ in the paddock and she added to a rapidly growing losing run for those I have noted as such. These geed up sorts just don’t seem to make an impact once on the course and look to be ones to oppose, particularly if starting at short odds.
    WHITE FLAG was always out at the back and reported as not suited by the quick ground.

    2.30 7f 30yds British Stallion Studs EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

    I missed a trick here as I couldn’t find a great physical advantage amongst the four that had raced, and form of all was promising to a small degree. In the event the two outsiders filled the first two places and I wish I’d kept more of an eye on the market.

    NEUF DES COUERS built on a couple of moderately promising runs, staying on best of four who were pretty much in line over a furlong out. She stayed on determinedly to hold off here stable companion. She will stay further and is going the right way.
    PORTHOS DU VALLON set a fair pace and responded gamely once headed at the furlong pole. He settled nicely, looks a straight forward sort and there should be a small contest for him, possibly in a handicap as a current mark of 67 looks workable on this evidence.
    WEALTH looked well enough, had every chance and kept on in the closing stages if held.
    MAJOR SURPRISE looked the likely winner from my vantage point at the furlong pole*, but was run out of it in the closing stages. He will likely need a stiffer test.
    MARACUJA was green and wayward in the preliminaries. And looked as if there was still a bit to work on fitness wise. She was outpaced over two furlongs out but should come on for the experience and the gallop.

    *’Er indoors decided she wanted a shoes change and yours truly was sent to do the task. One perk I get for writing this drivel is a parking space in the Owners & Trainers car park , so at least I remained trackside for the race!

    3.00 7f 30yds rsp Consulting Handicap (67-85)

    The most competitive race aon the card with a number that are progressing or have progressed.
    JUST PAUL, a winner over course and distance in August, has made steady progress over the season. He has never won by a huge amount, and gives the impression he doesn’t do too much once in front. Putting in a sustained challenge from the two furlong marker, he led inside the final furlong and was ridden out. He has run well on good to soft, but is probably best on slightly faster ground.
    MISHAAL wasn’t far away from breaking the ‘on toes’ hoodoo. He was very awkward and sweating in the paddock before being taken to start early. Restrained in rear, he picked his way through on the inside rail to finish strongest of anything to take second close home. He’s a fizzy sort but has been running well of late and, provided his energies can be channelled in the right direction, can win a race or two.
    FUTURE REFERENCE sat down in the stalls and lost some ground at the start. Ridden to go prominent, he kicked on four out and though passed at the furlong pole stuck to his task well enough. He has done well on Polytrack and there should be further opportunities off a mark of 85.
    LAZARUS BELL raced keenly for much of the way, but put in a persistent challenge from two out only to be held in the latter stages. A better effort than his last two outings.
    CAPO ROSSO plugged on for fifth, suggesting an easing in the handicap is needed, while FUNDING DEFICIT came from well off the pace for a never nearer sixth and needs a drop in class.
    SOMEONE’s DARLIN stumbled at the start and was up against it from that point. She was then forced wide on the bend and had no chance from that point. She’s normally a consistent sort and may be a backable price next time given that her last two runs have been down the field.

    3.35 1m EBF Fillies’ Handicap (72-87)

    A largely exposed bunch of fillies contested this feature race of the afternoon. The race was won by a filly in COINCIDENTLY who seems to be an autumn sort given that she won at Kempton around about this time last year. Dropped back in distance after a fair effort at Redcar, she was kicked clear by Silvestre De Sousa at the two furlong pole and wasn’t in much danger from that point. She had to be kept up to her work, and drifted causing minor interference to the eventual second for which De souse got a day’s unpaid holiday. She looked worth more than the winning margin and there may be better to come.
    LIGHT ROSE had less mileage on the clock than some and ran a sound race in second place. She kpt on to the line having raced prominently and would have chances on the All-Weather in the coming months.
    ELLE WOODS is a largely consistent sort setting the standard in third place,.
    HOW’S LIFE impressed with her action on the way to start. She set the pace and kept to her task once overtaken two furlongs out. This was her first race out of pattern class since winning her first two races and there must surely be a race for her at this level, perhaps at 7 furlongs given that she was able to lead Goodwood’s Oak Tree Stakes until a furlong from home.

    4.10 1m 5f Thomson Holidays Handicap (73-86)

    A progressive animal beat a number of well exposed opponents. Sir Mark Prescott’s ALCAEUS, disappointing in an all-weather Listed company in Sweden last time, put things to rights here with a convincing effort back in a handicap. He made smooth progress to lead two out and was driven out in the closing stages. An example of Sir Mark Prescott’s ability to improve a horse from a lowly mark, Alcaeus’s record stands at an impressive 6 wins from 10 attempts.
    COSMIC SUN is well exposed but ran to his mark here, staying on from two out but never closing quick enough to threaten to pass the winner.
    HAWDYERWHEESHT was behind early but stayed on for a never nearer third place.
    SCATTER DICE made an effort three out but though keeping on was held in the final furlong.
    MUNTASIR, second in a weak event last time, was easily put in his place here, while MERCHANT OF DUBAI put up a third consecutive disappointing effort and faded from four out.

    4.45 1m 1f Steadfast Scotland Handicap (59-70)

    BERLUSCA’s best form had been on the Wolverhampton Polytrack but he came clear from over a furlong out to win very comfortably. Yorksters Prince had set a decent pace and Berlusca looked to be favoured by that.
    TECTONIC led two out, but he’s not the most resolute in front that early and was overhauled and easily outpaced soon after. Keith Dalgleish has done well with this one over the summer.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT had conditions to suit but was outpaced having threatened two furlongs out and there was precious little encouragement from anything else in the race.

    5.15 5f Royal Scots Apprentice Handicap (Division 1) (45-59)

    Bottom end handicap sprints wouldn’t normally be my ideal betting medium, but produced the bet of the day here in IRISH GIRL’S SPIRIT. She is suited by the quick ground, had gone well previously here and was in good enough form against a very moderate bunch of opponents. The only slight hitch was a wide draw, but I reasoned that sharp start would overcome that. Shirley Teasdale got her out quickly, tacked over to the rail and led after a furlong. Job pretty much done and this willing filly kept up the gallop to win with a bit to spare. I reckon she’s a 60 class filly given fast ground and a sharp five furlongs and she ran off 52 here.
    COMPTON HEIGHTS stayed on under driving to take second place. He went one better at Ayr a couple of days later, thus gaining saome reward for some fair efforts of late.
    WICKED WILMA ran her best for a while, sticking to her task for third, but those behind were very moderate.
    FOL HOLLOW ran down the field here but managed a win at Hamilton the next day on a ocurse that suits him better than this. Although he’s on a low mark now he did at least manage to propve he’s not a back number.
    TRUE THAT was made favourite following moderate form over 6 and 7 furlongs. He was never going and was reported as having a breathing problem. One positive from my point of view on this occasion was that he made the market as Irish Girls Spirit’s price was 4/1 rather than the 2/1 I had expected.

    5.45 5f Royal Scots Apprentice Handicap (Division 1) (40-58)

    Episode Two of this contest was no better than Episode One, though the first three had all shown a glimmer of form lately.
    BEAUTY PAGEANT’s record of 4 from 30 going into this is moderately respectable for the class. She broke well to lead and responded to riding in the latter stages to hold off her main challenger. She can remain competitive in all-weather contests.
    CHEYENNE RED offers up the occasional decent effort in amongst a load of tat these days. He was always chasing the leader and kept on to the line.
    HERE NOW AND WHY has performed consistently here of late though but hasn’t won very often in recent times and regularly finds one or two too good. He closed to the line for a never nearer third.
    TADLAVIL, lightly raced of late, ran respectably in fourth without ever threatening, while the rest were well beaten.

    THE KICKING LORD proved very mulish at the start and was withdrawn. He’s on a last warning now as another indiscretion would result in not being able to take stalls test for six months. This particular ‘on toes’ didn’t even get out of the gate!

    • Total Posts 6341

    MUSSELBURGH – Monday October 14th

    Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

    Musselburgh completed their 2013 flat season with a competitive card boasting decent prize money for a Monday programme. A season blessed with fine weather ended on a similar note as the East Lothian avoided the wet weather which I left back in Fife.

    2.10 5f Apprentice Handicap (46-60)

    TADALAVIL has been in the wars having recovered from a fractured leg some time back and then getting into a contretemps gate that ended with multiple stitches in his chest. He hinted at a return to form here a couple of runs back with a fourth place in similar company. Drawn near the rail in a race where such a draw was the key, Tadalavil got a good run through on the rail and showed enough determination in the closing stages to hold two main challengers. He’s not got as races no his record as some 8 year old sprinters so there’s a chance Linda Perratt can keep him sweet and coax another race win or two.
    BEAUTY PAGEANT, a winner here at the end of September set the pace from the best draw and kept on well enough once headed. She looked very well, is reliable in this company and there may just be time for her to take a similar contest before stumps are drawn on the turf season.
    HERE NOW AND WHY has been consistent of late and pushed hard for second place if just held in the closing stages. He’s not a prolific winner but has a decent record at Musselburgh.
    AMIS REUNIS finished as fast as anything in fourth. However, Alan Berry’s stable tend to fire lots of shots in the hope that a few will hit the target and can be opposed for betting purposes.
    LADY POPPY was dropped in class but didn’t make enough impact.
    LIZZY’S DREAM was outpaced early on and picked off half the field in the latter stages. He’s 2 from 3 at Wolverhampton and a comparatively lightly raced so might be worth a glance in lowly company at Dunstall Park.

    2.40 1m Irish Stallion Farms EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

    One or two might make up into better animals with another winter behind them.
    MINDBLOWING built on a third place at Redcar, taking up the running three out and basically had everything on the shove from that point. He’s out of the sprinter Mind Games, but there’s more stamina on the dam’s side and he wasn’t stopping at the end of this mile.
    MAMBO RHYTHM was dropped back from a stiff ten furlongs at Pontefract, so it was no surprise that she got taken off her feet for much of the distance. She rattled home down the middle the track from two out without threatening the winner. She’s a half-sister to Earl Of Leitrim who won over 6 furlongs in a truncated career but looks to need a distance of ground herself.
    LAYLA’S RED DEVIL progressed from a Chester sixth, keeping on for third. She’s a Dalakhani filly out of a Sadler’s Wells mare so it’s likely that longer distances will be her forte next term.
    ART OBSESSION probably ran to about the form of his Ayr second in finishing fourth here.
    INSAANY was an expensive purchase and half-brother to a number of winners. He still looked green when asked for an effort two out but did pick up a little in the latter stages to take fifth place.
    ICE MAYDEN looks to have some growing to do and is likely to benefit from a winter to strengthen somewhat. She looked to be travelling well over two out but there wasn’t as much forthcoming as seemed likely when she was asked. She may be one to note in handicaps next spring if she comes on over the winter.

    3.15 1m 1f GBI Racing Welcomes Nicosia Race Club Selling Handicap (45-64)

    The term seller tends to be looked on as the basement of racing, but this was a good deal better than a few non-sellers in Class 6. The first four have all been in decent form in the not too distant past and the result has a degree of strength about it. If there is a drawback it’s that the combined ages of the first four are 33.
    CAMEROONEY’s form had tailed off a bit under Brian Ellison, but Marjorie Fife has rekindled the gelding’s enthusiasm. Apprentice Nathan Alison set a sensible pace and was able to repel allcomers up the straight to record a third course win. Clearly the 10-year-old is an animal well loved by owner Jean Stapleton and even if there had been a bid in the auction I can’t imagine anyone else would have taken this one home.
    It’s worth remembering that a decent front-runner who can settle has every chance round here and prominent runners have come out consistently best at Musselburgh this year.
    Twice a winner this season, SILLY BILLY made the winner work in the closing stages under a penalty for an all-weather win. This one has plenty of mileage on the clock, notching 5 wins from 63 runs, but seems in good heart and will presumably be kept on the go at Wolverhampton and Southwell.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT had conditions to suit and kept on well enough for third, but is looking difficult to win with these days.
    VIOLENT VELOCITY never quite got to the leaders but kept on for fourth not giving up ground in the final furlong. Another ten-year-old, he seems in good heart and a slightly lower all-weather mark may be exploitable.
    A third 10-year-old, MONTHLY MEDAL made an effort two out but was never close enough.
    ASSIZES won a Newbury maiden in October 2011 but his career has been steadily downhill since with no other win to show. He was slow away, a bit keen early on and never placed to challenge.

    3.45 1m 5f Betfair Scottish Stayers’ Final Handicap (61-85)
    The end to a very successful series of Betfair races over the season. This is a chance to determine which of you readers were taking notes as I flagged up BAYAN KASIRGA as a potential winner of this race after she won a qualifier here in September. Given an excellent waiting ride by Samantha Bell she burst through a gap a furlong out and came through to win by a very cozy length and a quarter. A good point too was the fact that she seemed to relish being squeezed for room and was strong enough to comfortably win a barging match! She looked to have more in hand and will stay further so I’d put her on a list of horses to follow, whether itbe for a quick follow up or if she’s held back for next season.
    HAWDYERWHEESHT hit the front a furlong out, but I got the impression Graham Lee would have liked to have got there on the line and this one didn’t look all that comfortable out in front. A very good effort though.
    CORTON LAD finished fast to take third without ever looking the winner. He’s been consistent all year and though he hasn’t won at this trip he clearly sees it out well enough.
    VITTACHI ran a sound enough race to finish fourth, not that far away from the second. Having dropped in the weights he has done nicely enough this season.
    GEANIE MAC suffered slightly as a more determined came past at the furlong pole, but fifth place was an excellent effort form out of the weights. She’s run very well this season without getting her head in front.
    TITUS BOLT set the pace as he often does, but eyed the stable block going away from the stands and lost ground. He was headed three out and dropped away. He will presumably be on hurdling duties here soon.
    ST IGNATIUS ended up last but looked to have run quite well. He was in the front rank until over a furlong out before the tank registered empty. He quickly dropped back but it may be he didn’t quite see out this trip in a such a competitive race.
    WORTH A KING’s didn’t show much in the race, but he’s notably for the fact that he hind hooves clatter into his front hooves when he walks round the paddock. He’s very lightly raced in recent times and I do wonder if his race action is all it should be.

    4.20 5f 32Red Casino Handicap (64-75)

    LAYLA’S OASIS showed decent form for her previous stable but hadn’t quite clicked for Richard Fahey, though not far away on a couple of occasions. This win was not easy but she dug deep in the final furlong and got on top in the last 50 yards.
    GOTTCHER, well beaten at Catterick and then in a big field at Ayr, was back to his best with a decent effort in second. He led two out but was passed 50 yards out.
    ROTHESAY CHANCER ran his best race for ages from an unfavourable draw and stayed on well in the final furlong for third, while OPT OUT was drawn in stall 1 and ran a similar sort of race in keeping on for fourth.
    TOM SAWYER, a close second to Opt Out here last time ran more or less to form with that one in filling fifth place. He set the pace and had every chance.
    ALGAR LAD was outpaced early and made some late progress to fill sixth position.
    JINKY is capable on his day but was on his toes in the paddock and wasted too much energy pre-race.

    4.50 7f 30yds McEwan Fraser Handicap (80-90)
    CHOOKIE ROYALE performed well off similar marks last autumn and this does seem his time of the year. He hadn’t pulled up any trees since an all-weather win at Wolverhampton in March, but won with a bit to spare despite veering toward the stands’ rail in the closing stages. I noted that Chookie Royale’s handler Keith Dalgleish watched the races from the benches near the ½ furlong pole.
    SILVER RIME has run a number of decent races this season and stayed on for second place.
    WANNABE KING stayed on for third and it’s worth noting he’s got a fair wins to runs record of 8 from 40. He tends to be an ‘all or nothing’ character as he has only two places on his record and in my book that does make him handy betting material if you have the patience to survive some misses while awaiting a hit.
    ALEJANDRO was held in fourth and seems in the handicapper’s grip now.
    GANDALAK has plateaued after a decent spell in the spring. He set the pace but was held once headed over two out. To his credit though he didn’t completely capitulate once passed.
    Favourite IPTISAM raced too keenly in behind the leaders and was beaten from two out.

    5.20 1m 6f Willie Park Trophy Handicap (73-94)

    Potentially the classiest contest was left until last, though with two runners pulled out it was down on strength and a fair proportion of racegoers had left to avoid the traffic.
    We did have a contest that looked to have five animals with the potential to improve into their four-year-old season.
    COMMISSIONED, an 11 length winner of a Catterick maiden last time, got the best of a prolonged duel with a very determined front-runner. The battle will have done him no harm and I suspect he could make up into at least a Listed class performer next year. He determination saw him get his nose in front near to the line.
    DEFICIT set a decent pace from the start and proved very difficult to pass. He has only a win at Bath on his success record, but it isn’t for lack of effort and this may prove a decent close second in time.
    SLIP OF THE TONGUE attempted to match the first two but had to give way in the final furlong. He is a big long striding gelding who didn’t look totally at ease round the tight bends here, so perhaps will show better on a galloping track.
    ARAMIST has improved steadily for Alan Swinbank and stuck to his task if held. This was a tough ask and he will find easier opportunities in handicaps.
    SILENT MOVIE won a handicap at Wolverhampton and found this contest a bit beyond him, but there’s enough about him to suggest there are more races to be won. I would imagine Mark Johnston will seek out further opportunities for this one on the all-weather and the Middleham trainer is not averse to running his stayers at Southwell.

    Joe Fanning’s narrow win over Tom Eaves in the final contest meant that he pipped Eaves in the Musselburgh Leading Jockey Table by 10 to 8. It would have been 9 each if Deficit had held on.
    Mark Johnston secured the Trainers’ title narrowly from Richard Fahey.

    • Total Posts 6341

    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 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 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 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 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.

    • Total Posts 6341

    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 result 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 601 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 assorting ways on losing in a 20-race career. Under another corking ride from Graham Lee 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 probably 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 and faded from two out.

    • Total Posts 6341

    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 reasonable 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.

    • Total Posts 6341

    AYR – Monday 9th June

    Going – Soft

    Testing conditions after a wet weekend in Scotland.

    The most significant result here was DOC CHARM winning the opening two-year-old maiden very comfortably. He was beaten nine lengths by THE WOW SIGNAL at the last meeting here and the latter now looks a live chance at Royal Ascot. Even the well beaten third on that occasion, JUNGLE CAT, won a maiden at Goodwood last Friday. Might be worth keeping an eye out for the fourth and fifth on that occasion, AL RAYYAN and POOLSTOCK should they appear in run of the mill maidens.
    BLACKFOOT BRAVE was behind early but stayed on to good effect in the final two furlongs and should step up on this effort with the experience.

    LYSINO was an easy winner of the Betfair Stayers Series Qualifier. He had some fair form on the flat in Germany and France in 2012, winning his maiden at Munich, and this was his first flat race in the UK. He strolled away with this and he looks a fair bit better than the handicapper rated him here.

    THECORNISHCOWBOY won with a bit in hand over ten furlongs here though will move out of the basement grade after this. That said he is a bit better than Class 6 at his best and is in good heart.

    GONINODAETHAT showed plenty of determination to win his leg of the Class 6 Handicap, having set a searching early pace. He has recorded all his wins at Ayr, but given that he’s only once raced away from the three Scottish flat courses that isn’t an earth shattering fact.

    SAN CASSIANO won the Class 3 ten furlong event, but it was soft contest run three seconds slower than the time set by TheCornishCowboy. PULPITARIAN disappointed, but he hasn’t looked happy with cut in the ground on the flat or over hurdles here, and all his US winning form was on firm ground. He may be worth bearing in mind if the ground dries up.

    • Total Posts 6341

    Ayr – Saturday June 21st

    Going – Good to Firm

    A decent card as a support to the final day of Royal Ascot with fair weather and a decent turn out. The prize money for this meeting is very good, though field sizes were a little disappointing for such decent rewards.

    1.50 6f Sunsport EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

    Two pulled clear here with the winner’s experience perhaps making the difference in a close contest.

    SQUATS caught the eye most of these in the paddock, though he was a little fizzy pre-race. A fourth at Sandown on debut looked sound enough and he built on that to take this contest. Having raced prominently he led over a furlong out and was then challenged, but he showed plenty of resolution to rally and win perhaps slightly more comfortably than the head margin suggests. Last year’s winner was a Group performer, and though he doesn’t look in that class but he’s going the right way.
    SUREWECAN looked fit enough on debut and came with a challenge to look the likely winner inside the final furlong. He couldn’t quite respond to the winner’s rally, but is plenty good enough to win a maiden.
    SALATEEN was up with the pace most of the way but held from the furlong pole. His dam won from 1m 1f up to 1m 5f and a longer trip may not do any harm.
    ZUZINIA was most exposed of these and her previous record didn’t look exciting enough to justify opening as favourite. She was weak in the market and found wanting form over a furlong out.
    Newcomers SANDGATE and SPIRIT OF THE SEA both showed inexperience in the rear, but picked up a place or two late on and should come on for the experience.
    CLASSIC FLYER showed early paced but was well spent before the furlong pole.
    TECUMSEH was backed from 13/2 in to 100/30, but those backers didn’t see this one in the paddock. He was playing up and looked a bit headstrong to me. In the race he raced very keenly early on and had nothing left by the two furlong pole.
    SIR ACCLAM was outpaced from two out. He’s a half-bother to stayer and hurdler Mamlook so may need a fair bit more ground to cover.

    2.20 1m Scottish Sun on Sunday 3yo Handicap (76-95)

    A nice looking bunch in the paddock and there’s probably more to come going forward from a number of these.

    Lightly raced PRETZEL was impressive, taking it up shortly after the two furlong pole and quickly putting the race to bed. He’s clearly a good deal better than the 90 mark he ran off here, and will likely turn out to be better than a handicapper. He may have one more pot at a handicap before moving up in grade.
    BRAIDLEY is a rangy sort who performed very creditably in second place. He chased the winner in the final two furlongs and stayed on honestly enough.
    Under a 6lb penalty SIR GUY PORTEOUS performed soundly enough, outpointed for second in the closing stages. He like to lead but was perhaps a little keen early on.
    MIME DANCE kept on for fourth without getting near the lead and ran a similar race to HOMESTRETCH who pretty much accompanied him through the final two furlongs.
    ARAGAL looked very well but could offer disappointingly little when asked the question in the straight.
    MR MATTHEWS was held up and could never match the others.

    2.55 1m Slaters Handicap (85-97)

    The winner TWO FOR TWO is quite well exposed, but was recording a highest winning mark and has been competitive in Class 2 events. Running off near top weight here probably gave him that class edge he needed. He’s pretty much forced now into running in the top handicaps around one mile.
    DUBAI DYNAMO ran second in this contest last year and has been thereabouts on most of his outings this term. Moved up 4lbs after his win at Chester, he remains very much competitive.
    TRAIL BLAZE pressed the leader and led two furlongs out before being passed inside the final furlong. This was a fair enough effort and he would be of interest if able to get a comfortable lead.
    NORSE BLUES got a bit squeezed up two furlongs and couldn’t get to the leaders afterwards. He has won off similar marks.
    BALTY BOYS was perhaps fortunate when winning at Nottingham and didn’t get into a position to seriously threaten in the straight.
    CAPO ROSSO set the pace but was found wanting from two out, as was LAWMANS THUNDER who was a stand out on looks but found disappointingly little when ridden and is perhaps better on the all-weather.
    STONEFIELD FLYER was going well two furlongs out but emptied rather quickly and didn’t see out the trip.

    3.35 1m Arnold Clark Handicap (75-93)

    STRICTLY SILVER raced prominently and built on the promise he had shown last time at Chester. He led three out, stretched the field form there and was driven out to hold the advantage. This was the first time he had raced below a Class 2 event for a couple of years and the easier task clearly suited.
    ONE PEKAN went honestly after the winner from two out without looking like catching him. He’s relatively lightly raced and appears to be coming to hand.
    ARGAKI put in an effort from three out but appeared to be hanging a bit from that point and third was always going to be as close as he would be from a furlong out. He handles quick ground, so that presumably wasn’t a problem, and I’m told connections were pleased enough with this run if adding a rider that it may have come a little soon, being only three days after a decent effort at Hamilton.
    MUHARRER had every chance was held from the furlong marker. Conditions suited here and he couldn’t quite overcome the 7lb rise in the weights, though he didn’t actually weaken and might be better with a stiffer finish.
    COSMIC HALO didn’t have an awful lot of room in the latter stages and was ridden with hands and heels once his chance had gone. This run did give a degree of encouragement. To show how hectic a life jockeys lead, no more than 5 minutes after dismounting Samantha Bell was off to the car park ready for the journey to Haydock for a single ride.
    LOVE MARMALADE made moderate late progress from the rear but was never seriously competitive.
    BEAUMONT’S PARTY had every chance three but wasn’t good enough from that point.
    SAN CASSIANO led until three out and then steadily faded.

    4.15 5f Scottish Sun Miss Scotland Handicap (74-93)

    BURNING THREAD runs in some competitive sprints and is at his best on fast ground. This wouldn’t have been the toughest event he’s taken part in of late and he came with a late rattle to lead on the line.
    BEAR BEHIND set the pace, was briefly headed by Alaskan Bullet and then rallied determinedly only to be done right in the shadow of the post. He won’t go up more than a pound or two for this, is in really good heart and capable at this level.
    ALASKAN BULLET looks to be a tough ride. Missing the break, he worked his way into the race on the far rail, forced his way through a gap inside the final furlong but then lacked the resolution of the second and was headed in the last 50 yards. Capable but probably not easy to win with.
    DOCTOR PARKES was a length and a half back and that was as good as he was on the day. Not bad but not quite good enough.
    NEW FFOREST led briefly at the furlong pole but capitulated rather quickly.

    4.50 5f Scottish Sun EBF Land O’ Burns Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)

    This contest is a neat bit of planning that fills a niche in a week when most Pattern action is concentrated on Ascot. Once again it drew a competitive field but it’s a pity that Channel 4 couldn’t see fit to squeezing the race into their coverage.

    SWAN SONG was made favourite and looked very calm in the preliminaries. However, she blotted her copybook at the start and was withdrawn, never looking remotely like consenting to entering the stalls.
    HAY CHEWED went close in open listed company at Sandown last time and made no mistake against fellow fillies. One of a host of fillies on their toes in the preliminaries, she made smooth headway from two out , soon led and had the race in safe keeping inside the final furlong. The time of this race was a shade slower than the preceding handicap though suggesting it won’t be a given that the winner can step up to Group 3 level.
    INYORDREAMS, one who looked a bit headstrong in the paddock, was always on the premises and stepped on previous performances which had merited a rating of 80. This was her first try back at this distance since fifth at York on her racecourse bow.
    REROUTE was produced to have every chance over a furlong out but could make no further impression. She’s more lightly raced than some though has only once raced at a lower level than this.
    SURVIVED, a bit revved up before the start, was outpaced mid-race but stayed on again to take fourth place.
    VALONIA raced up with a strong pace but was held from the furlong pole.
    RISKIT FOR A BISKIT set the pace but had nothing to repel challengers approaching the final furlong.

    5.25 6f Leith 3yo Handicap (55-80)

    A difficult race to assess since only two got competitive and one of those was out of the weights.

    SPIRIT OF ALSACE chased the clear leader and closed approaching the final furlong. Leading inside the final furlong he had to hold off a challenge from the pacemaker. This one was really revved up before the start, which is unusual for a Jim Goldie animal, but did at least manage to channel his energies in the right direction. This race was run almost a second slower than the opening two-year-old event.
    SIGNORE PICCOLO set a strong pace and was five lengths clear after two furlongs. Distress signals were showing approaching the furlong pole and he was passed, but rallied to good enough effect to make the winner pull out the stops. Blistering pace is this one’s style so a good draw on a sharp track will aid his chances.
    HEROIQUE was never nearer than at the finish and she may be just a little better with cut in the ground.
    SLEEPER CLASS was taken off her feet early on and couldn’t get in a challenge.
    SANDRA’S DIAMOND went sharply right at the start and lost any chance at that point.
    ASPIRANT looked very well but was well beaten and is off his game, the application of blinkers having no effect.

    • Total Posts 6341

    MUSSELBURGH – Friday August 1st 2014

    Going – Good to Firm

    The promised rain did materialise in East Lothian and Musselburgh’s second evening meeting of the season took place on quick ground. A fair crowd in for Carnival night, the ears being tested by Thommo at one end of the enclosures and the DJ at the other end!

    6.10 1m 5f Rebecca Wilson Hen Party Amateur Riders’ Handicap(49-67)

    A run of the mill event, but won by a very interesting sort in the lightly-raced Alan Swinbank gelding GIOVANNI JACK. He’s a nice strong sort who looks all over a jumper, a factor that put me off him tweeted paddock picks, but I’d be really surprised if he can’t go to make a mark over the winter. (He has since run a close fourth in a more competitive event at Carlisle, looking like a stayer)
    Always travelling comfortably, Giovanni Jack took over two out and race was comfortably in safe keeping by the furlong pole.
    Megan Nicholls flew up for this ride and had a flight booked for 7.30 back to Bristol but, with taxi waiting, she had time for a quick interview with Derek Thompson. Her horse to follow from her father’s yard is SAPHIR DU RHEU who is reported as doing very well over the summer.

    The remainder finished in a bunch led by GEANIE MAC, a mare who often runs passably well but only has a single win to her credit.
    Veteran GRAND DIAMOND kept on through the field in his customary style without ever threatening. Often thereabouts but another who is not diamond betting material.
    GOLDEN FUTURE kept on into fourth place, while DUKE OF YORKSHIRE faded in the final three furlongs having raced prominently and is probably better at a stiffer track. Jockey William Easterby confirmed that the ground was ‘on the quick side’.

    6.45 5f Wilkinson and Associates Nursery Handicap (49-62)

    A very moderate contest but one or two at least showed a glimmer of speed.

    BOWSON FRED found this company a good deal easier than that he had encountered at York. He raced prominently and asserted in the final furlong. He is half-brother to a couple of winning sprinters and may pick up another handicap in the coming weeks.
    WESTHOUGHTON stayed on in the latter stages to take second place.
    PENALTY SCORER showed decent speed but was run out of it in the closing stages. She subsequently ran a fair second over an extra furlong at Hamilton the next evening and there should be a small contest for her in the north.
    PICKLE LILLY PEARL, not one who impressed in the paddock, showed up for a long way but faded in the final furlong.

    7.20 1m 1f PMD Ltd Handicap (55-70)

    The seven runners know their way around a racecourse, with 540 runs between them before this race, yielding 44 wins and 92 places.

    CAMEROONEY retains enthusiasm and from at the age of 11. He’s difficult to pass when in the mood and, having set the pace under claimer Jordan Nason, he found plenty when asked in the latter stages. He’s now 3 wins form 5 races at Musselburgh and won off his highest mark since April 2012 here.
    ELLAAL has been kept busy this year and run pretty consistently. He pestered the leader from two out but was held close home.
    CALL OF DUTY runs an honest race and has not been beaten far in any of his turf races since joining Dianne Sayer. He kept on but was held in the final furlong and a stiffer track is probably best these days.
    JANAAB is a maiden who recently came over from France and has shown a degree of promise. He chased the leader but was held in the final furlong. There should be a similar race for him with more UK race time under his belt.
    DHAULAR DHAR couldn’t get to grips with the leader from two out. Though putting in a number of sound performances of late, he last won in 2011.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT and OUTLAW TORN didn’t get in a blow.

    7.50 5f Mabanaft Maba-Dash Handicap (74-86)

    ALGAR LAD has crept steadily up the handicap of late but was rewarded for consistency. He hit the front over a furlong out and only just held on, but his jockey confirmed the impression that he had idled in front. There may be more to come.
    BUNCE performed admirably on ground possibly a little on the quick side. Driven to challenge in the final furlong he was closing and only just touched off.
    RED LADY ran a cracker off bottom weight. She was just held after putting in a sustained challenge in the closing stages. Dropped in class she should be capable of winning a sprint handicap in the coming weeks.
    ALASKAN BULLET made an effort on the outside over a furlong out but couldn’t sustain the challenge.

    8.20 5f Wilkinson & Associates Handicap (45-61)

    A moderate event won in encouraging style by SCRELINE, who is lightly raced compared to others at this level. He took it up inside the final furlong and ran on well. He reported as unsuited by the fast going when disappointing at Leicester, but maybe the linksland turf provides more of a cushion.
    TADALAVIL ran to his best recent form in second place.
    PAVERS STAR won a similar race here in May 2013 but, though running well on occasion, hasn’t won since. He led until headed inside the final furlong.
    MANDY LAYLA looked to have good opportunity to follow up her Hamilton win and looked very well, but was held from the furlong pole.

    8.50 7f 30yds Thomson Anniversary Handicap (Betfair Mile Series Qualifier) (56-75)

    A qualifier for the series which has its finale at Ayr on September 30th.

    The leaders went too quick and the winner came from well off the pace.
    STRONG MAN was under the pump and going nowhere over two out, but the rest came back to him and he came through to win a shade cosily. A decent effort off a break but the race went his way.
    SMART ALEC did best of those up with the pace and arguably achieved the most on the day. He led inside the final furlong but was denied in the final 50 yards. He has not had much racing and may have performed better than the bare result suggests.
    OPT OUT made progress on the outside from three furlongs out and kept on to finish a close third. This was only his second attempt over seven furlongs and he saw out the trip well enough.
    MOWHOOB and SNOW BAY contested the strong pace but faded in the latter stages.
    FUNDING DEFICIT ran a fair race in fourth having chased the leaders, but he hasn’t made a habit of winning in 20 races.

    • Total Posts 6341

    Saturday August 30th

    Musing on patterns today and how it is worth digging fro horses dropped to a class in which their ability gives them an advantage. Today for me was a story of one that was landed and the one that got away at Beverley.

    Ten-year-old sprinter OLDJOESAID has plenty of runs behind him was up in Listed class and mostly competitive Class 2 events early in his career. He’s now plying his trade in more mundane class, mainly Class 4 of late where he runs occasional decent races but generally finds a few too good. However, dropped into Class 5 and you have a horse who’s a strong selection. His career record in Class 5 or 6 now reads 71931411, and if you take out the all-weather efforts he’s 71111, with his only defeat coming on his Chepstow debut way back in the mists of time. Form coming into today’s race didn’t look brilliant, but he was in his class and did the business at 14/1. Muggins passed him over because of a bad draw, but I really ought to remember that any draw advantage is covered in the odds these days.

    In the 4.50 I spotted STORM KING dropped Class 4 for the first time for a couple of years, having won in that class in 2012. He’d run 6th of 10 last time in a Class 2 event behind Morache Music. Opposition didn’t look too taxing, I took 9/1 yesterday evening and he won at an SP of 9/2.

    It’s worth keeping an eye out for these horses that drop under the handicap threshold for their event and presented with chances at a level where they can hold inferiors. A single pound drop presented Storm King with a decent chance. Oldjoesaid fell into 0-75 class and had an ideal event that gave him his chance at Beverley.

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