Jockey Paul Mulrennan is enjoying his best-ever season with 84 winners so far and can add to that tally with Orwellian at Musselburgh this afternoon.
The Yorkshire-based rider netted his biggest victory of the year in the UK when landing a major event at last week’s Doncaster St Leger festival and has sound prospects of achieving a landmark century of winners this time around.
He has partnered Orwellian to two of the gelding’s four career victories, the combination scoring at Southwell in March and at Hamilton in May, and the five-year-old has made the frame in his three outings since that latest success.
He was third at Hamilton in June and runner-up over this course and distance the following month when he went down by a neck in a driving finish. That form is working out well for the winner has since been an unlucky third at Redcar, while the third went on to finish third at Newmarket before winning at Epsom.
The fourth home is also a subsequent winner, so it was no surprise when Orwellian was sent off favourite at Carlisle on his latest outing, but he could finish only fourth.
That stiff track may have stretched his stamina – all four career wins have been at 6F – but the easier East Lothian circuit should suit. He certainly stayed the extra furlong when runner-up here in the summer and although he still runs off a mark some 7lb higher than for his last success, he can take the Xtra Local Handicap (4.40).
Exclusive Contract is the daughter of High Chaparral, a half-sister to four winners and ran well when second on this track on her first outing for Ollie Pears. Stepped up to a mile-and-a-half, she stayed on before finding the ground much too soft when last of six runners at Ripon last month.
She takes a slight drop in class in the Best In Handicap Stakes (3.30) when she gets a handy weight allowance from her older rivals and with useful apprentice Jake Butterfield claiming an additional 3lb allowance, she is taken to score.
Karl Burke has some smart juveniles in his Middleham yard so the fact that Tecumseh was sent off favourite on his racecourse debut at Ayr in June speaks volumes, even though he pulled far too hard, ran green and was well beaten.
The colt again pulled hard when unplaced at Hamilton, but turned in a much better effort on his latest outing when third at Windsor. It’s true there were only four runners, but he settled much better and was beaten just over three lengths.
He was three parts of a length behind the odds-on favourite who has since been allotted a rating of 79, so Tecumseh could do well off a mark of 67 in the Best One Nursery (2.40), especially as apprentice Joey Haynes has 3lb allowance.
Mark Johnston’s horses are always worth following here and Sir Frank Morgan can defy a big weight in the Batleys Cash and Carry Handicap (4.10).
The gelding stays well, having won over two miles at Lingfield and Catterick earlier in the year and ran well when fifth in a competitive affair at last month’s York Ebor festival. He has been placed in both his races since then.
Selections: 2.40 Tecumseh; 3.40 Exclusive Contract; 4.10 Sir Frank Morgan; 4.40 Orwellian