Top trainer Richard Hannon sends Carry on Sydney on the long haul North to Musselburgh tomorrow and the trip can pay off with a big-race victory.
The three-year-old lines up for the £50,000 Totepool Royal Mile (3.35) – the feature on a seven race card which opens the flat season on the East Lothian track and can carry the prize off to Wiltshire.
Hannon saddled more than 200 winners last year and has already got off to a flying start this time around. He rarely raids the Scottish tracks, so Carry on Sydney’s appearance north of the Border is a tip in itself. The colt cost 20,000 guineas and showed promise when staying on into seventh on a debut at Goodwood over 6F last October before landing a bit of a gamble when scoring over an extra furlong in heavy ground at Newbury a fortnight later.
He was a game second on his reappearance over a mile at Kempton recently, making a previous winner from a top all-weather stable pull out all the stops and is sure to strip fitter now.
Richard Fahey does well here and saddles Khelman, who was an excellent second at Doncaster a week ago, while Mark Johnston’s Pure Excellence will carry top weight. This filly won three times last term, signing off with victory in a Listed event at Newmarket in the autumn.
She has been running in Dubai, where she was unplaced but not disgraced in the UAE Guineas and Oaks, so this represents a step down in class. She does have a big weight burden to shoulder and Carry on Sydney gets the vote.
Hamish McGonagall has an outstanding record, both at Musselburgh and in the early days of the season, and can give weight away to all his rivals in the Totepool.com Borderlescott Sprint Trophy (3.00).
The gelding has won or made the frame in his first two outings in the spring in each of the last four seasons and he has some outstanding efforts to his credit on the East Lothian track.
Seven visits have yielded five victories and has never finished out of the frame over this fast five furlongs. Those wins include this corresponding event for the last two years and the Scottish Sprint Cup in 2010.
Tim Easterby’s sprinter continued to improve last term, even at the age of seven, rounding off a highly successful campaign by finishing third in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York and the Prix de l’Abbaye in Paris – the biggest 5f sprint of the year in Europe.
That sort of form sees him having to carry in excess of 10st tomorrow and he faces some fast opposition, but he simply loves this place and can land yet another victory here.
Experience is invaluable for juveniles and Mick’s Yer Man can put his to good use in the opening Toteplacepot Conditions Stakes (1.50).
The colt, who turned the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster into a procession on the opening day of the new flat campaign, looks set to follow up here and may well go on to better things. Trainer Bill Turner excels with early juveniles, but has high hopes that this colt may emulate his grand-dam who won the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot by going on to win at the Royal meeting in June.
A son of Bahamian Bounty out of a mare by Pivotal, he is bred for that and made all the running to score by five lengths just over a week ago.
Laffan finished an unlucky third at this meeting 12 months ago and went on to impressive all-the-way wins at Doncaster and Epsom.
Joe’s Musselburgh tips: 1.50 Mick’s Yer Man; 3.00 Hamish McGonagall; 3.35 Carry on Sydney; 4.45 Laffan