Brian Meehan is a rare visitor to Musselburgh so his two runners on the East Lothian track tonight are worthy of the closest inspection.
The Manton trainer has saddled two winners from just three runners on the seaside circuit in the past five seasons, so the fact that he sends Red Lady on the long trek from Wiltshire in preference to another engagement tomorrow much closer to home at Goodwood speaks volumes.
The filly is a half-sister to five winners and cost 48,000 guineas as a yearling. She was hampered at the start on her racecourse debut last term, but then won in great style at Haydock and was thought good enough to take her chance at Royal Ascot where she finished unplaced in the Albany Stakes.
But she was far from disgraced, leading until approaching the final furlong. She then enjoyed a four-month break before finishing unplaced at Kempton on her final run as a juvenile. She began this term by running unplaced in a couple of competitive sprints at Newmarket and Newbury before finishing third at Haydock and Leicester where she again made much of the running. A solid victory at Bath followed when she wore a hood for the first time.
The filly is clearly a bit of a handful, often breaking well and simply running much too freely. She has been ponied to the start on occasions and has sported various pieces of headgear to help restrain her.
But Musselburgh’s sharp five furlongs is the sort of test she should revel in and she is set to receive weight from most of her rivals in the Mabanaft Mad-A-Dash Handicap (7.50). She could finish only sixth at Sandown a fortnight ago, finding the stiff, uphill finish too much after again being in the van all the way and she gets a confident vote to boost her paddock value by registering another victory tonight.
Meehan and jockey Stevie Donohoe will be fancied to initiate a double with Recover in the Wilkinson & Associates Nursery (6.30), but I prefer the chances on Tarando, who makes the long trip from Newmarket and is the only runner on the card for trainer Michael Bell. The filly has top weight, but sidesteps a prior engagement at Lingfield and has shown enough in four starts so far to see her open her winning account. She led for a long way when unplaced on her debut at Newmarket in April, then was fourth at Windsor and third at Thirsk before a two-month break. Nicely supported when stepping up to six furlongs in her reappearance at Doncaster, she seemed to get outpaced in mid-race before staying on in the closing stages.
So the drop back to the minimum trip looks a surprise move, but I felt that she simply “blew up” on Town Moor before getting a second wind and she will strip fitter now.
Camerooney is a confirmed front-runner, who may well get an easy lead in the PMD Ltd Handicap (7.20) and he can defy top weight to register a third victory in the seaside circuit.
Eight of his nine career victories have come with forcing tactics and he did well to score over this nine furlongs here last autumn. So far this term, has won at Hamilton and been placed on a couple of occasions, while apprentice Jordan Nason will claim a valuable 7lbs allowance.
Scottish trainer Linda Perratt’s team is in good shape and can take the Wilkinson & Associates Handicap (8.20) with Tadalavil, who will again be ridden by Samantha Bell. She was on board for victories here last October and at Ayr a fortnight ago and will claim a handy 5lbs allowance on the grey gelding.
Musselburgh selections: 6.30 Tarando; 7.20 Camerooney; 7.50 Red Lady; 8.20 Tadalavil.