The ground was described as good to soft – soft in places – at Musselburgh for their first meeting of the year on Saturday and the winning times backed up the official description. There are further showers forecast ahead of todays card.
I cannot desert Broadway Joe (2.00) in the 2m 4f handicap chase given he has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks having won all three starts so far this season including twice over C&D. The handicapper has had his say and he is 23lbs higher than when scoring at Kelso back in October, but he is clearly progressing at a rate of knots and may not have reached his ceiling just yet.
Brian Hughes is retained to ride Mackenburg – who would not want any more rain but has had a wind operation since his last start – and Henry Brooke takes over in the saddle for Nick Alexander. The selection is 6/4 with MansionBet.
I was very taken with the chase debut of Kakamora, and this winning pointer will win races over fences. My concern is two-fold; the form of the Tom George yard and his ability to handle soft ground if the forecast rain gets into the ground.
First Account has been running well over fences of late, but he is now 8lbs above his last winning mark and I do think Dino Boy (3.00) will be a tough nut to crack if his fencing holds up.
The ew selection – 6s with Willam Hill – ran a terrific race over an inadequate 2m 4f at Carlisle on his reappearance and he jumped poorly when beaten out of sight over 4m at Kelso last time. If his jumping holds up, he will be staying on when others have cried enough.
Oliver Sherwood has not had a runner over the Festive period, but a market move for Republican would be significant in the 3m handicap chase at Southwell. He is considered well up to winning from his current mark.
The each way vote, however, goes to the mare Timeless Beauty (12.50) who looked ready for a step up in trip when third behind Saturday’s Cheltenham winner Vienna Court over 2m 4f last month. A winner between the flags over this distance she did look a non-stayer at Exeter over three miles with her previous yard, but she has a win over an extended 2m 5f over hurdles and 6/1 with William Hill looks a fair each way price.
At Lingfield I expect to see Al Mamar (1.10) go one better than when runner up on debut here to a subsequent winner at the end of November. The selection is certainly bred for the job – half-brother to six winners – and cost connections 140,000 gns as a yearling.
The newcomer Addingham is bred to be smart, but he lacks the experience of the selection and that might prove the key.