Monticello is the one to watch at Musselburgh

Joe Fanning
Joe Fanning
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Mark Johnston has a fine record at Musselburgh especially with his juveniles and he should be on the mark again tonight.

The Middleham handler saddles two of the six runners for the British Stallions Studs Novice Stakes (6.40), but stable jockey Joe Fanning takes the mount on Monticello and that is a tip in itself.

The youngster cost 65,000 guineas and made a successful debut at Sandown a little more than a fortnight ago when he led from the start and ran on gamely when strongly challenged in the closing stages.

That was over seven furlongs, the same trip he tackles tonight and this easier track should play to his front-running style, so I expect him to dictate matters throughout.

Of course Johnston’s other runner – Thomas Cranmer – is worth a check out too. The youngster is the first foal of a mare who was placed in the Breeders Cup, but was easy to back and finished just fifth on his debut at Lingfield recently.

He was slowly away, ran green and hung in the closing stages, but should have learned from that experience. He may well be good enough to win races, but I do feel that he will need more practice and Monticello can justify favouritism.

Tonto’s Spirit is a half-brother to four winners on the level and cost 29,000 guineas as a yearling, but he cut little ice in seven starts over two seasons for Michael Dodds and subsequently joined Ken Slack in Cumbria to go hurdling.

A dismal debut over timber at Hexham was followed though by a big shock when the four-year-old made all the running to win at Cartmel at the end of May.

The gelding then switched back to the level to make all the running and win again at the big meeting here recently and looks all set to complete the hat-trick in the Racing Welfare Stable Staff Week Handicap (7.10).

Tranent-born Andrew Mullen steered him to victory here and takes the mount again. They justified favouritism with some ease recently and a 4lb rise in the ratings may not prove anything like enough to stop them.

Seamster has won ten of his 50 starts and can add to that record by taking the Racing UK in HD Handicap (8.40). The nine-year-old went down in a three-way photo finish at Thirsk in mid-June but won at Beverley last week where he defied a high draw in a big field over the minimum trip. That was an apprentice race, so he is able to run tonight without a penalty and he has a good draw near the stands rail.

Bajan Rebel has been in great form this year, winning three of her five races and being second and third. The mare made a successful reappearance at Catterick in April and followed up by justifying favouritism on the East Lothian track later that month.

She was then third at Nottingham before winning again at Hamilton where she again headed the betting and she went down only narrowly when runner-up at Carlisle recently.

Despite that run of good form, she is only 10lb above the mark off which she won at Catterick and so is set to get weight from all her rivals in the Forticrete Handicap (8.10) in which smart apprentice Nathan Evans will also help the cause with his handy 5lbs claim.

Selections: 6.40 Monticello; 7.10 Tonto’s Spirit; 8.10 Bajan Rebel; 8.40 Seamster.