Back Rebel without a pause in last race at Musselburgh
Patience can pay off for punters at Musselburgh on Friday when those who wait until the final event can make money with Bajan Rebel.
The mare won with a little more in hand than the neck verdict suggests when making a successful reappearance at Catterick last week and I expect her to follow up in the Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers Handicap (5.15).
That Catterick event was for apprentices, so the five-year-old avoids a penalty. She was running from 1lb out of the handicap last week and the official assessor has responded by putting her up 3lbs in the ratings.
But that new mark does not come into force until Saturday, so her canny trainer, Mick Easterby, has clearly sourced a fine opportunity for her to win again.
Easterby has his string in great shape with nine winners in the past fortnight and stable apprentice Nathan Evans will nullify the rise in the ratings with his 5lbs claim.
Both of her career wins have come in the latter part of April or the first days of May, so this is definitely her time of year and the daughter of Bahamian Pirate seems at her best when fresh.
Leading Scots trainer Keith Dalgleish can saddle Azrur to defy top weight in the Bam Construction Handicap (3.05). The gelding has been in great form this spring, coming back from a five-month break to finish second at Southwell in mid-March and he went one better when making all the running on that track just a fortnight later.
A disappointing run at Catterick followed when he was unable to employ his usual pace-making tactics, but he was back to form when leading for a long way and finishing third over nine furlongs on this track last Sunday.
All five of his career wins have come at seven furlongs, so the drop back to a mile tomorrow should be in his favour.
Mark Johnston has a fine record on the East Lothian track and can take the Weatherbys Private Bank British Stallions Studs EBF Novice Stakes (2.30) with newcomer Kahrab.
The youngster carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and cost 110,000 guineas. He is closely related to two useful winners and his dam is a half-sister to Group One winner Red Clubs.
Johnston had him entered at both Doncaster and Newmarket this weekend, so the fact that he sends him north is a tip in itself.
Henley has yet to score in nine starts, but has been placed on four occasions and was runner-up twice last year when trained in Newmarket by William Jarvis.
The four-year-old is closely related to a couple of winners and has shaped with promise for North trainer Tracy Waggott and his new connections since changing hands for 3500 guineas last autumn.
He showed plenty of pace when beaten just over three lengths on his reappearance at Southwell in March and was again well to fore when leading over a furlong out at Pontefract last week before being headed in the last 100 yards.
The gelding did not quite get home there, but should be much more at home on this sharper track and can give his trainer her first winner of the year.
Selections: 2.30: Kahrab; 3.05: Azrur; 4.10: Henley; 5.15: Bajan Rebel.