Ralphy Boy can recoup losses from a recent unsuccessful venture south by winning at Musselburgh this afternoon.
The five-year-old was successful on the East Lothian track last term and sent off favourite on his reappearance at Redcar last month, but failed to get into the action proper and was unplaced. However, there were signs for optimism for he did make some ground up on the wide outside before tiring and he will undoubtedly have benefited from the exercise.
That Redcar event was over seven furlongs and he will appreciate the step back up to a mile in the CMS Handicap (3.05), having scored over this trip here last August when he made much of the running before being headed and then rallied gamely to regain the advantage in the final furlong.
Successful on his debut as a juvenile for Dandy Nicholls, he was not placed in seven starts in his second season when trained by Kevin Ryan, but the move to the Borders where he joined Alistair Whillans has proved decisive. Apart from his victory here last summer, he was runner-up at Chester and Pontefract and was also third twice at Hamilton.
Today’s opposition includes Echo of Lightning who made all the running to win over this course and distance in April, but he disappointed here next time and Ralphy Boy gets the vote.
Ruth Carr has her horses in great shape and Zain Zone can defy top weight in the Racing UK Available Anywhere Handicap (4.50).
The three-year-old cost 64,000 guineas as a yearling and made all the running to win over this seven-furlong trip at Epsom last summer when trained by Gerard Butler, for whom he was also second at Salisbury and Wolverhampton.
Carr snapped the chestnut up for just 10,500 guineas in February and Zain Zone showed bags of promise on his first run for his new connections at Pontefract recently. A half-brother to several winners, he came from off the pace to finish third in a six-furlong handicap and the extra distance today will be just up his street.
Mick Easterby is another Yorkshire trainer striking form – he had a double at Nottingham on Saturday – and Iggy can win the Racing UK Bet and Watch Handicap (5.20).
The gelding was too backward to run as a juvenile, but was second over seven furlongs on his debut at Wolverhampton in the early days of last year and went one better there a fortnight later.
Originally handicapped on a mark of 70 after that, he failed to make the frame in four more starts last year.
He was sent off favourite despite returning from a break of eight months when third on his reappearance at Wolverhampton last month and then found the minimum five furlongs much too sharp when fourth on this track just eight days later. He was finishing strongly so the step back up to seven furlongs will help today and the fact that Easterby has booked Kieran Fallon to take the mount is significant.
Fallon is making a rare visit to the seaside circuit and can initiate a double on Fly Solo in the Exclusive Free Bets at MonsterBet.co.uk Handicap (3.40).
The five-year-old has been runner-up in two of his three races this year and went down by just half a length at Catterick on his latest start. He races now off a mark 5lb lower than when successful over this trip at Thirsk almost exactly a year ago and can help make Fallon’s trip over the Border worthwhile.
Musselburgh selections: 3.05 Ralphy Boy; 3.40 Fly Solo; 4.50 Zain Zone; 5.20 Iggy.