Musselburgh stage an extra fixture tomorrow with punters allowed free entry following a spate of Scottish meetings lost as a result of bad weather – and patience can earn them another bonus.
With a very busy day featuring the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Musselburgh management have opted for a late morning start with a mid-afternoon finish to the racing in East Lothian. And those who wait until the final event can profit from the best bet of the day.
For Leostar lines up for the Millerhill National Hunt Flat Race (3.10) and he looks a solid wager after two promising runs in this sphere.
This well-bred gelding cost 90,000 guineas as a foal and spent two years or more with Godolphin in Newmarket, but was backward and never saw the racecourse. But he is a nice type of animal and Borders trainer Alistair Whillans may well have stolen a real bargain when shelling out just 11,000 gns for him in January of last year.
The trainer has had to be patient though and told me: “We gelded him, but he was backward and needed an operation on his wind so we gave him plenty of time.”
The four-year-old made his debut on this track early in January when he showed his inexperience in finishing in midfield, but he clearly learnt from that and showed much more ability at Catterick last month when finishing a good third.
He was beaten just more than three lengths there and could take some beating tomorrow. He is by top stallion Nathaniel out of a mare who is closely related to some very classy Group race performers on the flat and should have little difficulty in scoring in bumpers before going on to make a useful hurdler.
Nendrum has won two of his past three traces with both those victories coming on this track and he can score again in the Musselburgh Racecourse Handicap Hurdle (11.30).
He made all the running to win by a wide margin here in January before finishing runner-up when favourite at Catterick and he recouped those losses back here last month when he again dictated throughout. Jockey Jamie Hamilton lost his conditional claim with that success and is on board again.
His trainer, Sandy Thomson, can complete a double with John Williams in the Monktonhall Handicap Chase (1.10). The gelding is another who runs well here.
The nine-year-old came back from a near six-month break to score over two miles at Hexham in October and followed up on this track the following month before disappointing when fourth over three miles here just before Christmas. He hasn’t run since then, but often comes back strongly after a break and should have enough stamina for this 21/2m trip.
Bedrock had some smart form on the flat for William Haggas at Newmarket and opened his account over hurdles at Warwick last May before scoring again at Bangor in October.
He was trained then by Dan Skelton and his last run for that handler was when fourth of five runners at Cheltenham in November – but that a high class Grade Two event. The gelding has since joined Ian Jardine and can make a successful debut for his new yard in the Wallyford Novices Hurdle (12.05).
Selections : 11.30 Nendrum; 12.05 Bedrock; 1.10 John Williams; 3.10 Leostar