Archie Watson’s Ulster has the form to win Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh
Musselburgh stage an Easter bonanza tomorrow with more than £230,000 in prize money up for grabs on a tricky card of eight races that will form the anchor for the live ITV racing coverage.
The feature race is the £100,000 Queen’s Cup (3.35) in which Ulster can prove a real bargain by giving trainer Archie Watson yet another winner in a flying start to the new turf flat season.
Watson saddled four consecutive winners in mid-week and is operating at a strike rate of 25 per cent so far in this new campaign and Ulster can land his third success since joining the Upper Lambourn trainer last autumn when he was snapped up from Godolphin for just £25,000 at Doncaster sales.
He cost 120,000 guineas as a yearling and the four-year-old has shown promise when fourth as a juvenile on his only racecourse appearance in the Godolphin blue at Chelmsford before a lengthy lay-off, and he never ran as a three-year-old.
But he made a successful bow for his new connections over a mile and a half at Kempton in January and followed up over that same course and distance the following month before showing that he had plenty of stamina when runner-up at Wolverhampton over an extra quarter of a mile. He occupied the same position over 2m at Kempton last month when he looked set to score until caught in the final strides and beaten in a photo finish by a rival in top shape. That form looks solid and the drop back in trip should suit.
The gelding is a half-brother to two winners and although he will be racing on grass for the first time, he races off a mark only 2lbs higher than for that latest effort and appeals as a lightly raced type who could have lots of improvement in him.
The Scottish Sprint Cup (3.00) has been switched from it’s previous slot in June and although it is only worth £50,000 now, it looks to be a seriously competitive affair.
Several in the line-up for this 5f dash have good form over this course and distance, including Royal Brave who has won five of his 15 starts here and been unplaced on only three occasions when he has raced on the seaside track.
The eight-year-old was denied a clear run when fourth on his reappearance here recently – his first start since October – and has to be reckoned with, while Line of Reason won this event two years ago.
He was well beaten last term though after a slow start and cannot afford to dwell in the stalls this time. However, a recent run when second at Beverley earlier this week has boosted form, while he goes off a 3lbs lower mark than when successful in this race in 2017.
His trainer Captain Colby, and Final Venture. The latter has not been seen since September, while Captain Colby disappointed here a fortnight ago, so preference is for Line of Reason, who will be ridden by Connor Beasley - fresh from a highly successful winter stint in Dubai.
Our Place in Louie is a real course specialist and those punters with patience to wait until last event - the RacingTV.com Handicap (5.45) can enjoy yet another success for the gelding on the East Lothian track.
The six-year-old has won three of his six starts over this course and distance, been runner-up twice and finished third on the other occasion. He ended last season with two victories here in September and resumed with another success here a fortnight ago after his winter break.
He is climbing the ratings, but is clearly thriving and has a draw near the stands rail.
Peak fitness is vital at this stage of the campaign and Mont Kinabalu showed he is in great heart with a ready success on his reappearance at Pontefract last week. A follow-up in the Like RacingTV on Facebook Handicap (4.05) looks on the cards.
The bay won twice at around this time last spring and took advantage of a drop of almost a stone in the ratings when regaining the winning thread recently, The handicapper has put him back up by only 5lbs and so he may well still be ahead of the official assessor.
Selections: 3.00 Line of Reason; 3.35 Ulster; 4.05 Mont Kinabalu; 5.45 Our Place in Louie