Musselburgh stage their final meeting in the current jumps season tomorrow when Idder looks set to make a successful return to the East Lothian track.
The six-year-old opened his account over hurdles on this track in January and has had a break since a below par effort at Catterick three weeks later.
The gelding was stepping up in trip there and clearly failed to stay the extra three furlongs or so in heavy ground, but trainer Jimmy Moffatt also felt that his horses were a little under the weather at the time.
“I had four run disappointingly in a week or so and they all scoped badly afterwards, so I gave them all a break,” he told me.
The team returned to action only in the past fortnight with two of the three runners so far in March making the frame.
“They all seem so much better now. Idder has scoped clean and been working well, so he will go back to Musselburgh provided the ground does not deteriorate as he didn’t seem to be happy in the mud at Catterick,” added Jimmy.
Idder is a son of Epsom Derby winner Authorized and had some useful form on the flat when trained by Roger Varian, winning at Newmarket as a juvenile and finishing second at Haydock the following year.
He joined Moffatt’s Lake District yard after being bought for 7,000 guineas and certainly looks value for money, finishing third in a maiden hurdle at Ayr in October on his outing for his new connections.
His jumping was far from fluent that day, but the experience clearly helped as he followed up by winning at Musselburgh just after the turn of the year, cruising in behind the leader when left in front early in the home straight and coming clear to win by 11 lengths.
That latest effort at Catterick can clearly be ignored and I expect Idder to get back into the winning grove in the Capoquin Property Consultants Novice Handicap Hurdle (4.25).
The horses for courses theory often works well at Musselburgh and Pot Committed is another recent winner here who can underline his liking for the seaside venue.
The six-year-old sprang a surprise when scoring at 20-1 here before Christmas, finishing with a real rattle to lead close home. That was over the minimum trip and he steps up an extra 3f or so in the Racing UK Profits Returned to Racing Novices Hurdle (2.45).
The gelding was placed in two of this three bumpers and the form of his racecourse bow when third at Navan a year ago when trained in Ireland looks more than solid as the winner went on to win the championship bumper at the Punchestown festival while the runner-up has been placed in Graded hurdle company.
Pot Committed was third in an Ayr bumper in October on his debut for Borders trainer Iain Jardine, but was disappointing when well beaten on his hurdling debut at that same track in December.
But that can clearly be dismissed as his victory at this track came just nine days later. “It was a bit of a surprise, but he has bags of ability and is crying out for longer distances,” the trainer told me.
Jardine has his team in good form, both on the flat and over jumps and can initiate a double with Heart O Annandale in the opening RacingUK.com Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase (2.10).
The gelding won over fences at Hexham ten months ago and was placed in three of his next five races in spite of a hefty rise in the ratings. He has not run since July, but the handicapper has dropped him 8lbs so that he now resides on the same mark as when successful over hurdles.
It is significant that Jardine runs him here instead of over hurdles later in the afternoon and Ross Chapman is able to claim a very handy 8lbs allowance as he is riding for his own stable.
Dunly has been runner-up in all three of his bumpers so far and can get his head in front in the Racing UK Intermediate National Hunt Flat Race (5.25).
James Ewart’s French-bred gelding was second at Newcastle in December, went down by only a neck at Ayr in February and was again forced to play second fiddle on that track later that month. Victory tomorrow would be well deserved.
Selections: 2.10 Heart O Annandale; 2.45 Pot Committed; 4.25 Idder 5.25 Dunly.