Irish trainer Stuart Crawford netted a double at Musselburgh yesterday and is aiming to land some more prize money on the East Lothian track tomorrow.
After Call Box had won yesterday, the Larne handler added the big race with Strongpoint and was on his way back across the Irish Sea last night to bring back his runners for tomorrow. They include Solidago who will be ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy in tomorrow’s Mackie Motors Brechin Handicap Hurdle (2.40).
The fact that McCoy is likely to be on board the gelding is a tip in itself and Crawford is hopeful that the seven-year-old can land the spoils after an encouraging run at the last meeting here last month. Solidago has yet to win a race, but was twice runner-up in bumpers and looked set to score here four weeks ago when taking the lead on the home turn only to be caught at the final flight.
He was eventually beaten just over four lengths in that two-and-a-half mile event and is expected to appreciate the extra half mile this time.
The handicapper has raised him by only 1lb and, with McCoy in the saddle, he gets a confident vote to open his account at the seaside venue.
Scottish trainer Nick Alexander has a decent record here and can take the Kilmany Cup Handicap Chase (3.10) with Isla Pearl Fisher who always seems to produce his best form on this track.
The gelding has six chase victories on his CV with two of them coming over this course and distance – the latest just over 12 months ago when he came with a strong run all the way up the home straight to lead near the finish. The 11-year-old was still in contention when falling four from home at this corresponding fixture last year and has been lightly raced since then. He was runner-up at Hexham early April and was having his first outing since then when unplaced at Carlisle a month ago.
He will be much sharper now and can regain winning ways, while Jet Master can initiate an Alexander double in the 32red.com Novices Chase (2.10).
The gelding landed his only win so far at Perth over hurdles a couple of seasons ago, but was also placed eight times over timber. A switch to the larger obstacles saw him unseat his rider twice at Carlisle in the autumn. He was hampered though on the first occasion and had every chance when coming to grief at the penultimate obstacle on the second outing.
It did not dent his confidence though and he went down only narrowly at Kelso in November before finishing a close third at Carlisle in the middle of last month. He will appreciate the drop back to the minimum trip tomorrow.
Keith Dalgleish may saddle two runners in the opening Lauderdale Pony Club Maiden Hurdle (12.40) when Bassett Road may prove best. A winner four times on the level, his jumping was far from polished on his hurdling bow at Kelso last month, but he will have learnt from that experience and is reported to have been going well at home in the interim.
Selections: 12.40 Bassett Road; 2.10 Jet Master; 2.40 Solidago; 3.10 Isla Pearl Fisher.