Top jockey Paul Hanagan bypasses the £1m all-weather finals day at Lingfield tomorrow in favour of Musselburgh – and the hint should be taken.
The former champion came hot-foot from riding big winners in Dubai to open his domestic account with a double at Doncaster on Sunday and he can take the £50,000 Totequadpot Royal Mile Handicap (2.55) on Tadqeeq.
He teams up with the three-year-old for the first time and the gelding receives weight from all his rivals, so Hanagan will be riding at his absolute minimum of 8st 1lb.
Tadqeeq was slowly away and always in the rear when a well beaten fifth of seven runners on his debut over six furlongs at Yarmouth last August, but he had been well supported in the betting and clearly had been showing promise at home.
That was confirmed when he was stepped up in trip and went down only in a photo finish at Thirsk a month later and this well-related gelding went one better at Wolverhampton three weeks afterwards to recoup those losses.
A 95,000 guineas purchase, he still showed signs of inexperience there, but is closely related to a couple of winners at Group Three level and word from Newmarket suggests he has thrived since being gelded during the winter.
Tadqeeq needs to step up on what he has shown so far if he is to land this nice prize, but his trainer, William Haggas, has a good record with those he sends on the long trek to the East Lothian track and is strike rate here stands at more than 60 per cent in the past five seasons.
The step up to a mile should pose no problems for Tadqeeq because in his pedigree there are winners over ten furlongs and more in his near relations, and he can give Hanagan another success for his boss, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum.
Hanagan has picked up several outside mounts, including for his former boss Richard Fahey and can complete a double on Gabrial the Duke in the Toteplacepot Handicap (4.30).
The five-year-old could hold a fitness advantage over these rivals as he has been busy on the all-weather this winter, winning at Southwell and Wolverhampton in the past few weeks.
Five of his eight career wins have come on sand, but he is also useful on turf and can defy top weight here, while Moccasin – also a winner on the all-weather recently – can follow him home.
Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston has won with all three of the juveniles he has saddled so far this spring and Sixth Sense will be backed to extend that record in the opening Toteplacepot EBF Stallions Scottish Brocklesby Stakes (1.55)
The colt is a half-brother to eight winners and is clearly well forward, but First Bombardment already has racecourse experience and that can give him the edge.
David O’Meara’s youngster went down by only a short head to another Johnston youngster in the first race of the new turf season at Doncaster last Saturday and will have learnt a lot from that first racecourse visit. He cost 18,000 guinneas and is closely related to winners and from the family of smart sprinter Flanders, herself the dam of top sprinter G Force.
Popular veteran Borderlescott lines up for the race named after him – the £25,000 Totepool Borderlescott Sprint Trophy (3.30). He was just beaten in a photo finish 12 months ago and although it would be wonderful to see him go one better, the 13-year-old may have to give best again.
Robot Boy won the Scottish Sprint consolation race here last summer and followed up at Newcastle. He was just more than a length behind Blaine in a very competitive sprint at York last August and can take his revenge on slightly better terms tomorrow.
Selections: 1.55 First Bombardment; 2.55 Tadqeeq; 3.30 Robot Boy; 4.30 Gabrial the Duke.