Horse Racing: Ballad De La Mer can break hurdles duck at Musselburgh meeting

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Much of Britain might be under water and more than a dozen meetings washed out in recent days, but no problems are reported at Musselburgh for their meeting tomorrow.

The East Lothian track was hit with 22mm of rain last weekend but, thankfully, Clerk of the Course Harriet Graham was able to report that a dry week has helped the seaside circuit and, with a cold winds forecast, underfoot conditions are likely to be only just on the easy side

Ballad De La Mer netted the first of her two career victories on the level at Musselburgh and can get off the mark over hurdles there tomorrow.

The mare is trained locally by George Foster at Haddington and opened her winning account here in the summer of 2010 before following up at Ayr ten days later. However, she failed to trouble the judge after that and was switched to the jumping game earlier this year.

The six-year-old was in fourth and staying on when falling at the final flight on her hurdling debut on this course in January and has been runner-up twice in six subsequent 
efforts over timber. She was sent off favourite when second at Newcastle in March and finished runner-up over an extended three miles at Perth in soft ground in July, so tomorrow’s trip and ground should suit.

Her latest effort when unplaced at Newcastle in October was disappointing but she has slipped down the ratings and, with Grant Cockburn claiming a valuable 3lb allowance, she can bounce back to her best form in the opening 
Border Safeguard Conditional 
Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (12.10)

Kashmir Peak made a winning debut over hurdles at Market Rasen on his British debut three weeks ago and can follow up in the CEEJ Ltd Juvenile Hurdle (12.40)

The three-year-old joined Yorkshire trainer John Quinn this 
autumn after starting his career on the level in Ireland where he had some decent form. The gelding certainly jumped well to win easily on his first run for his new connections, who will be hoping that the ground continues to dry out.

Exotic Man has yet to win a race, but it seems only a matter of time and he can get his head in front in the Weatherbys Printing Services Novices Handicap Chase (1.10).

The seven-year-old cost 180,000 euros as a youngster in France before joining champion trainer Paul Nicholls for whom he showed some promise in two bumpers when wearing he colours of Sir Robert Ogden.

However, when the latter decided to concentrate on the flat, Exotic Man wound up with County Durham permit holder John Wade, who may well have secured a bargain. The gelding has been runner-up in three of his seven starts for Wade, finishing second over hurdles twice and showing plenty of promise when occupying that position on his chasing debut at Wetherby recently. The winner that day looked smart and was completing a hat-trick of victories, while Exotic Man looks sure to have benefited from his first run for more than six months.

Maybe I Wont has been runner-up in five of his ten starts over hurdles but there is nothing wrong with his attitude as eight victories on the level confirm. The seven-year-old has run up against some decent opposition on more than one occasion, including at the last meeting here, and he can go one better in the 80th Birthday Cissie (Granny Mac) McCallister Maiden Hurdle 1.45).

Musselburgh selections: 12.10 Ballad de La Mer; 12.40 Kashmir Peak; 1.10 Exotic Man; 1.45 Maybe I Wont.