Keith Dalgleish has established himself as Scotland’s top trainer and certainly looks the man to follow at Musselburgh tomorrow.
The ex-jockey – who rode more than 300 winners before weight problems forced retirement at just 21-years-old – has sent out more than 200 winners since taking out a licence in early 2011.
He has set a record number of winners for a Scottish stable in the past two seasons and his Belstane yard near Carluke has become quite a force, particularly in Scotland and northern England, although he is not afraid to send his horses south to take on the big stables there.
But the action is much closer to home tomorrow when Circuitous rates a solid bet on the East Lothian track.
The gelding was caught on the line here recently and beaten a short head after setting out to make all the running and he can go one better in the Racing UK.com/HD Handicap (4.15).
The eight-year-old has not obliged since taking the Bronze Cup at the Ayr Western meeting in 2013 and has failed to collect in 22 starts in the interim. But, he has produced several decent efforts in that period and slid down the ratings so that he runs now off a mark a stone below his last winning level.
Dalgleish has a ten per cent strike rate on this track and can follow up in the very next event – the Real Water Handicap (4.45) – with Roc De Prince.
The gelding has already won twice this year, scoring over two miles at the end of May at Catterick and over a shorter trip at Ayr last week.
In between those victories, he was caught only in the closing stages when beaten into third and a three-way photo finish at Redcar and was sent off favourite when runner-up on this track at the end of June.
Dalgleish replaced the usual cheek pieces with a visor when the gelding made all the running to take an apprentice event last week and the headgear is retained.
Roc De Prince is able to run off the same mark without a penalty tomorrow, so receives weight from all his rivals and Dalgleish has booked Joe Fanning – who is a deft hand at front-running tactics – for the mount. I reckon that is a major plus in the gelding’s favour.
Fanning and Dalgleish can get punters off to a flyer with Incurs Four Faults in the opening ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Handicap (2.15).
The five-year-old is not an easy ride – he can take a fierce hold – but Fanning knows him and steered him to one of his three career wins. He was also on board when the gelding went down narrowly at Hamilton last week.
That effort suggests Incurs Four Faults is top form and this looks a suitable opportunity.
Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison had a good weekend when he reached the 1000th winner mark in a solid career and Pea Shooter caN carry on the good work in the Arthur McKay Handicap (3.15).
The gelding landed one of his five career wins over this course and distance last autumn and regained winning form at Wetherby at the end of May. He has not run since then, but can go well fresh and has a reasonable draw in this competitive sprint.
Selections: 2.15 Incurs Four Faults; 3.15 Peas Shooter; 4.125 Circuitous; 4.45 Roc De Prince.