Steeplechasing at Musselburgh has brought a huge change in the fortunes of Red Tanber and the gelding can complete a four-timer on the East Lothian track tomorrow.
The nine-year-old had only a single pacing to show from 17 starts before he opened his account on this track in early December on what was only his second race over the larger obstacles.
That was over two and a half miles the form has turned out to be rock solid for the runner-up has scored twice since then while Red Tanber returned to the seaside circuit to score over the minimum two miles just a couple of weeks later.
And he was back again at the last meeting to score again over the longer trip in the hands of Lucy Alexander, who has been on board for all of those victories and the young claimer must take some credit for the marked improvement in form of her mount.
Of course the handicapper has had his say too, but although he has banged the gelding up the ratings after each success, Red Tanber has kept on improving. He faces another 10lb hike in tomorrow’s Bunny Maitland-Carew Handicap Chase (3.40) and now runs off a mark 29lbs higher than when he began his winning sequence.
But he has done relatively little mileage for one his age and with Lucy again claiming a handy 5lbs allowance, I reckon they can score again.
Ingleby Spirit had three victories to his credit on the level and was rated highly enough to have run in some valuable handicaps in that sphere before switching to hurdling this winter.
He was fourth on his debut over timber at Carlisle before finishing second at Ludlow and went one better when scoring by six lengths on this course just before Christmas.
A sharp track like Musselburgh suits his running style and he can follow up despite a penalty in the Tom McConnell Trophy Novices Hurdle (2.40).
Embsay Crag was ending a losing period of almost two-and-a-half years when scoring over hurdles at Wetherby recently and can follow up in the Boogie in the Morning Handicap Hurdle (3.10).
The gelding showed only minor promise in his first two starts over timber and pulled hard for his head in the early stages at Wetherby before being settled in the rear. But he jumped soundly and produced a strong late surge to win in good style.
That was only a novice event and he steps up into handicap company tomorrow, but he has had plenty of experience on the level, having won three times and being placed on numerous occasions at the summer game.
Flaming Arrow can hit the target in the concluding Watch Racing on RUK Online National Hunt Flat Race (4.10) after showing promise on his first two visits to the racecourse.
The son of sadlers Wells was in training as a youngster with Sir Michael Stoute at Newmarket, but was too backward to run on the level. He was snapped up for just 11,000 guineas at the sales last July though and is a half brother to a couple of decent winners.
Now with Kevin Ryan in North Yorkshire, he was beaten only a nose on his debut in a bumper at Wetherby in December and ran with great credit in a highly competitive affair at Cheltenham on New Year’s day. He led until approaching the final furlong there and can open his account tomorrow.
Musselburgh Selections: 2.40: Ingleby Spirit; 3.10: Embsay Crag; 3.40: Red Tanber; 4.10: Flaming Arrow.