Horse Racing: Yorkshire trainer has the form for Musselburgh

High OFFICE landed the biggest victory of his career when taking the Musselburgh Gold Cup last year and can open his account over hurdles on the East Lothian track tomorrow.

Richard Fahey’s gelding notched two of his four flat victories here and has shown plenty of promise in two starts so far over timber. The six-year-old finished fourth at Aintree after racing keenly in the early stages and was then sent off favourite at Catterick, but could again finish only fourth.

However, both those efforts came on soft ground and connections feel the better going at Musselburgh will suit in the Country Refreshments Maiden Hurdle (12.40).

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Fahey is overseeing his runners on the level at the Dubai carnival, but will no doubt be watching the Musselburgh action on TV and I can see Philharmonic Hall complete as double for his Yorkshire yard in the Country Refreshments Selling Hurdle (1.40).

The four-year-old failed to win on the flat in 17 starts but was placed on seven occasions and has started his hurdling career in good style. He was third on his jumps debut at Haydock in October before winning by an easy eight lengths at Hexham. The gelding was then runner-up at Market Rasen before disappointing when switched back to the flat at Southwell before Christmas. Like High Office, he will be ridden by Brian Hughes and the drop in class can see him back on top again tomorrow.

Hughes could make it a treble on Vosges in the Country Refreshments Beginners Chase (1.10) for the gelding has been runner-up in his last starts – both on this track.

Both his wins over hurdles came here in the early weeks of last year and his jumping has been safe in three starts over the larger obstacles. He led for a long way when fifth at Kelso on his reappearance before finishing second over the minimum trip here in November.

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He had to settle for minor honours again when stepped up half a mile here last month, but it should be just a matter of time before he gets his head in front again. Red Tanber managed only one placing from 17 starts over hurdles, but has been a revelation since switching to fences and can complete a Musselburgh hat-trick in the Country Refreshments Handicap Chase (2.10).

The nine-year-old was sent off at 100-1 and finished only fourth of five runners on his debut over the larger obstacles at Carlisle at the end of November, but then turned in a fine effort to win over two-and-a-half miles on this track in a novice handicap chase early last month.

He followed up over the minimum trip a fortnight later and clearly goes well for claimer Lucy Alexander who is again in the saddle tomorrow.

Joe Rowntree’s Musselburgh selections: 12.40 High Office; 1.10 Vosges; 1.40 Philharmonic Hall; 2.10 Red Tanber.