Troopers Gold has yet to win this season but looks all set to shine at Musselburgh on Thursday.
Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan had to close his yard for six weeks in the spring because of a virus attack, but has been churning out the winners since resuming and Trooper’s Gold can take the Brown Shipley Handicap (3.00).
He showed bags of promise last term, finishing second and third on turf before going down in a photo finish on the tapeta surface at Newcastle. That was over a mile and he went one better on a return visit to Tyneside to score handsomely over seven furlongs on his final juvenile start in October. The chestnut was sent off favourite on his reappearance at Pontefract in early May and ran with credit although unplaced. That was over six furlongs and he was doing all his best work in the closing stages. He faced an extra furlong at Doncaster later that month and finished only seventh of nine runners, fading at the furlong marker when the easy ground may not have helped. Subsequent events have shown that to be a very competitive affair. The winner – to whom Trooper’s Gold was conceding weight – scored again next time and has since finished second in a £150,000 handicap at Ascot; the runner-up was successful recently at Newmarket and the third won a competitive handicap at the Glorious Goodwood festival. Trooper’s Gold has not run since the end of May, but the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds in the ratings and this looks a suitable opportunity for him to get back on track.
Placebo Effect has been ultra consistent this summer, winning at Ripon and Catterick and being placed on three occasions – not bad for a horse who cost just £3000.
His wins came at selling race level, but he ran well when third in a juvenile handicap at Thirsk recently and still looks to be on the upgrade. He should be in the shake-up again in the opening division of the Addleshaw Goddard Nursery (2.00).
Trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Joe Fanning are always worth following on the East Lothian track and can take the second division of that event (2.30) with Claramara. The filly looked a little backward in her first two starts over six furlongs but ran well over a longer trip when second at Thirsk recently. The seven furlongs here should suit and she looks on a reasonable mark.
The dividing of the nursery means an eight-race card and the opening Wetherbys Novice Auction Stakes is now timed for 1.30pm. Debawtry will probably start favourite after a promising second on her debut recently, but I prefer Brandy Station.
The latter has to give lumps of weight away but was a good winner at Pontefract back in May when making all the running and has run with credit in the interim. The colt missed the break when fourth in a £25,000 affair on this track in June and ran much better than the final placings suggest at the big York meeting last week where he finished in midfield in a competitive nursery. He was beaten just over ten lengths but pressed the all-the-way winner until approaching the final furlong in that six furlongs affair and the drop back to the minimum trip will suit. He concedes 12lbs to Debawtry, but the latter showed little early pace at Beverley where the stiff uphill finish allowed her to get into the action late. She is closely related to several winners over much longer distances and may well be outspeeded over this quick trip.
Selections: 1.30 Brandy Station; 2.00 Placebo Effect; 2.30 Claramara; 3.00 Trooper’s Gold.