Musselburgh stages the finals of the Betfair Bonus Scottish Racing Series tomorrow with three £25,000 contests among a highly competitive card on the East Lothian track.
Runners have been qualifying for these finals during the season on Scottish tracks and Thinking looks an outstanding bet in the Mile Handicap (4.15), having won three of his last five races and been runner-up twice. Tim Easterby’s charge opened his account for the season in a tight finish at Beverely in June before going down in a photo finish on the same track and he made his only trip to Musselburgh so far a winning one at the end of that month.
The four-year-old was favourite that day and again headed the market when narrowly beaten at Hamilton before bouncing back to winning form at Thirsk last month.
That spell of good form has seen him rise 19lb in the ratings, but he is still on the upgrade and his proven ability to act on this tight track suggests he can score again.
Wicked Wilma is another who has been in great form and she can land a fifth victory of the season in the Sprint Final (3.05) in which smart apprentice Julie Burke will again help by claiming a valuable 5lb allowance
Paddy Mathers did the steering when the seven-year-old scored at Hamilton and Ayr in July, but Julie was on board when the mare completed the hat-trick at Ayr at the end of that month. The combination then failed to get a clear run when fifth on this track in August and were fourth at Hamilton before Wicked Wilma hit the winners enclosure again at Thirsk last weekend.
She was a winner twice over this course and distance in her earlier days and although she now races off a career high mark, Julie’s allowance and a good draw near the favoured stands rail can swing things in her favour.
Zennor tackles the 13-furlong trip for the first time in the Stayers Final (5.15), but this lightly-raced four-year-old has the makings of a useful performer and can land the spoils for Cheshire trainer Tom Dascombe. The gelding scored over just nine furlongs at Hamilton earlier in the summer and was runner-up in an amateur’s event over a mile-and-a-half on this track in June when he finished strongly from an unpromising position. Her amateur rider has not excelled in two other recent races with the combination coming from another parish to chase home a front running winner at Epsom, but a much more experienced apprentice is in the saddle tomorrow.
Zennor is bred to stay this trip and is a half-sister to seven other winners, so she gets the vote.
Glasgow trainer Jim Goldie can keep at least one prize at home in Scotland by saddling Grandad Bill to win the Stayers Consolation (4.45). The gelding has won over hurdles and on the flat on the East Lothian track and regained winning form when battling on gamely to score at 25-1 at Ayr last month when he beat stable companion Jonny Delta by a short head. He has since finished third over hurdles at Perth and off a mark only 2lb higher, can net a ninth career victory.
Joe Rowntree’s Musselburgh selections: 3.05 Wicked Wilma; 4.15 Thinking; 4.45 Grandad Bill; 5.15 Zennor.