Racing: Just Paul your best bet at Musselburgh

The weather forecast is good for a fine evening of racing at Musselburgh
The weather forecast is good for a fine evening of racing at Musselburgh
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Just Paul went into my notebook as a certain future winner when a close fifth at Wetherby last week and he is nominated as the best bet on the card at Musselburgh tonight.

The gelding loves the East Lothian track with three of his six career victories coming over seven furlongs here and he tackles that same trip tonight in the Edinburgh Gin Handicap (8.45).

He has not won in 11 starts since scoring over course and distance in May last year, but is now on a 6lb lower mark and is set to receive weight from all but one of his rivals here, while smart apprentice Jack Garritty will reduce his burden by a handy 3lb allowance.

Trainer Mickey Hammond has got his team in great form, with 13 winners so far this turf season along with several over jumps in the last few weeks.

Just Paul travelled well at Wetherby until getting slightly outpaced approaching the final quarter of a mile when he had little room to manoeuvre, but he galloped on strongly in the closing stages to be beaten less than two lengths.

He had previously finished a close fourth when denied a clear run over a mile at Thirsk and I reckon the five-year-old can pay for the drinks this evening.

Jebediah Shine was running well on the all-weather last winter, winning at Kempton in November and finishing runner-up there and at Lingfield in the early weeks of the year. The three-year-old came back from a four-month break to open his account on turf earlier this month, beating two previous winners in the process, and a 6lb rise in the weights does not look insurmountable in the Racing UK 1 Price 3 Devices Handicap (8.15).

Keith Dalgleish is another trainer in good form and Livella Fella can prove best of the pair of youngsters he saddles in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes (6.45).

The juvenile cost 12,000 guineas as a yearling and is a half-brother to three winners. He was well beaten on his debut at Hamilton in May, but had obviously learnt a great deal from that experience for he ran a cracker next time at Pontefract where he led inside the last hundred yards, but was caught on the line and beaten a nose.

He was a 66-1 shot that day, but went off at much shorter odds at Carlisle a week later where he looked sure to win when taking the lead approaching the final furlong, however he tired on the stiff climb to the line and was caught and beaten in a three-way photo finish.

The youngster steps up a furlong tonight, but this sharper track should suit his style of racing and he is set to get weight from all his rivals.

Jan Smuts has been runner-up in his last races and can go one better in the opening Racing UK Profits Returned to Racing Apprentice Handicap (6.15).

The gelding was second at Carlisle and Newcastle early this month before chasing home Paris Snow at Doncaster and that winner has since completed a four-timer, so the form is rock solid.

It is more than a year since his last victory at Newcastle, but two of his four career wins have come over this course and distance and he certainly deserves a change of luck.

Musselburgh selections: 6.15 Jan Smuts; 6.45 Livella Fella; 8.15 Jebediah Shine; 8.45 Just Paul.