Champion jockey Paul Hanagan may have landed a premier job for Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, but we will still see plenty of him on the northern tracks and he looks the man to follow at Musselburgh tomorrow.
Hanagan travels across the Border to partner several runners for his former boss, Richard Fahey and they can collect with Hawks Reef in the Betfred Goals Galore Maiden Stakes (3.20).
The three-year-old showed plenty of promise in two runs last term, being well backed on his debut at Redcar in October, but he was slowly away and then hampered at a vital stage.
Under the circumstances he did well to finish sixth and he underlined that promise with a fine effort at Doncaster the following month.
The colt had obviously benefitted from experience, for he was quickly away this time and led until the final furlong before finishing second, beaten just over a length. Both those runs were on easy ground, so underfoot conditions should suit tomorrow and he gets a confident vote.
Shubaat can land the big race of the day, the £20,000 Betfred Musselburgh Gold Cup (3.50) for Newmarket trainer Roger Varian and his jockey Neil Callan.
The five-year-old has obviously had his problems as he has raced just four times so far, but he shapes like a smart stayer. Unraced as a juvenile, he romped home by six lengths when favourite on his debut over a mile and a half at Doncaster in the summer of 2010 and was then third at Haydock and Kempton.
But the gelding was then sidelined for more than a year before finishing third again at Newbury last September when he was doing all his best work in the closing stages.
Tomorrow’s 14-furlong test should be just up his street and this half-brother to five winners has already proved he goes well fresh.
Maid of Meft was a winner here last year for Linda Perratt, but changed hands during the winter for just 4,000 guineas and made a successful debut for former jockey Keith Dalgleish when she reappeared at Wolverhampton earlier this week. a 6lb penalty means she has top weight to shoulder in the Betfred Treble Odds on Lucky 15 Handicap (4.25), but Joe Fanning takes the ride again and they can stage a quick follow-up.
Fanning can complete a double on board Alkadi in the Betfred 4 times the Odds on Lucky 31 Handicap (4.55) for the filly impressed me when making a winning debut at Lingfield in February where she beat some older horses – not easy for three-year-olds at this time of the year. Her dam was placed in the 1,000 Guineas, so she will eventually make a fair brood mare herself but in the meantime she can develop into a decent prospect over distance at around a mile.
Musselburgh selections: 3.20 Hawks Reef; 3.40 Shubaat; 4.25 Maid of Meft; 4.55 Alkadi.