SMART RULER has yet to win on the flat, but the gelding can open his account on the level at Musselburgh tonight.
The nine-year-old’s four career victories have all come over hurdles and include one on the East Lothian track last November, while he has also been placed several times over timber here.
The chestnut gelding really caught my eye on his first start of this year at Catterick recently when he finished strongly to take third place in a competitive staying handicap over a mile and a half on the flat on the Yorkshire track. Held up in the rear after a slow start, he had a lot of ground to make up on the home turn, and was then denied a clear run on the inside approaching the final furlong. He had to be switched right and lost vital impetus, but finished to such good effect that he was only beaten just over a length.
That was his first run since winning here last year and so he can be expected to strip fitter this time, while the handicapper has put him up by only 1lb, so he gets the vote in the Bellmont Wallyford Handicap (8.10) when the extra two furlongs should be in his favour.
Half of the ten-strong field for the Canaccord Genuity Handicap (7.40) are recent winners, so this £10,000 contest over the minimum trip promises to be a tight heat.
Bunce beat Fredericka by a nose over course and distance earlier this month, while Margaret’s Gift had beaten Bunce at Ayr a few days earlier. Economic Crisis made all to win at Hamilton last week, but I prefer the chances of Bowson Fred who won nursery handicaps as a juvenile last year at Chester and on this track.
The three-year-old was third on his reappearance at Thirsk in April and ran a cracker in a big field at the premier York meeting last week where he led inside the final furlong, but was caught in the last 50 yards. The handicapper has raised his mark by 3lbs, but that will not come into effect until tomorrow so the colt is 3lbs well in and apprentice Nathan Evans will claim a very handy 7lbs allowance.
Richard Fahey has his team in good form and Postulant can add to his successful record on the seaside track by winning the Central Taxis – Faster,Green, Safer Maiden Stakes (7.10).
The filly carries the famous colours of Cheveley Park Stud and is extremely well bred, being the ninth foal of a mare who won twice herself and comes from the family of top sprinter Ya Malak.
Her first eight foals were all winners and include two who scored at Group Two level, so Postulant has plenty to live up to, but she showed definite promise when third on her debut at Redcar recently.
Too backward to run as a juvenile, she was slowly into her stride, but was doing all her best work in the closing stages as she got the hang of things and she should appreciate the extra furlong this time.
Mark Johnston is another with a good record on the East Lothian track and can saddle Mustaqbal to take the PDM Limited Handicap (8.40).
The colt showed promise in two starts as a juvenile and was third on his reappearance at Kempton in March before finishing second at Beverley and the winner there has scored again – on this track last week – to boost the form.
Selections: 7.10 Postulant; 7.40 Bowson Fred; 8.10 Smart Ruler; 8.40 Mustaqbal.