Horse Racing: Vaughan and jockey Johnson target rare glory at Musselburgh

Richard Johnson looks a sound bet on Liberty Court and Alphabetical Order
Richard Johnson looks a sound bet on Liberty Court and Alphabetical Order
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Tim VAUGHAN and jockey Richard Johnson are rare winter visitors to Musselburgh, but they can rule the roost on the East Lothian track tomorrow.

Vaughan trains at Cowbridge, near Cardiff in South Wales, but regularly sends his horses to all parts of the country and has saddled a couple of winners here in the past five seasons. He can strike early tomorrow by taking the opening Maiden Hurdle (1.10) with 
Liberty Court.

The gelding was successful in his only point-to-point before joining Vaughan and was sent off favourite on his debut under rules in a bumper at Newcastle in November when he looked sure to win after taking the lead early in the home straight. He ran green, however, got tired and was caught in the last 100 yards.

Johnson was on board when the six-year-old stepped up in trip to make his hurdling debut at Fakenham last month when the combination stayed on well to finish runner-up. With those two efforts behind him, I expect Liberty Court to go one better.

Vaughan and Johnson can end the day on a winning note too by taking the concluding Open National Hunt Flat Race (3.40) with Alphabetical Order.

The gelding was fourth in a similar event on his racecourse debut at Fontwell 15 months ago when trained by Colin Tizzard and was then off the track for more than a year before joining present connections for whom he made a winning start in a bumper at Lingfield before Christmas.

That was on the all-weather surface and he quickened well to lead approaching the final furlong and score in good style. The five-year-old looks the sort to make solid progress and he can follow up under a penalty.

Isla Pearl Fisher has won two of his three races this term, scoring at Kelso in the spring and on this track in the middle of December when he stayed 
on strongly to lead near the finish. In between those efforts he fell in the early stages at Newcastle, but the gelding is normally a sound jumper and goes well for smart young rider Lucy Alexander who renews the partnership in the Scottish Racing Kilmany Cup Handicap Chase (3.10).

All six of the ten-year-old’s victories have come over the longer trips and he was 
successful here in the early days of 2011.

Yorkshire trainer Brian 
Ellison got a bargain when paying just 7500 guineas for Local Present at the summer sales and the gelding has already repaid some of that outlay with two victories from just five runs for his new connections.

He scored over fences at Worcester in September and again at Fakenham in November and was having a first run for almost seven weeks when sixth here on New Year’s day. That will have blown the cobwebs away and he can make a quick winning reappearance in the Handicap Chase (1.40)