Streets of Newyork has been running well all winter and looks set to turn in a fair effort again at Musselburgh tomorrow.
The gelding went down only a photo finish when runner-up at Wetherby on Boxing Day before going one better on the East Lothian track in the middle of last month when he cruised into the lead at the first in the home straight and ran on strongly to come home clear.
The handicapper promptly raised the eight-year-old by a hefty 8lbs in the ratings, but he showed improved form on a return to the seaside course.
Although he was stepping up markedly in class at the big meeting here ten days ago, he again went into the lead on the home turn, only to be headed at the final obstacle.
In the end, he was beaten just over a length into second place, but the gelding is certainly on the upgrade.
A winner over hurdles in Ireland before he joined Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison, he was also successful on the level at York last May and is a useful performer at his best. The handicapper will undoubtedly be putting him up again so Ellison runs the gelding on the same mark for the Geoff Kerr Memorial Hurdle (3.55) and I expect him to gain compensation before that new mark kicks in at the weekend.
“He is running realy well and is sure to go up in the weights again so this looks a great opportunity,” Brian told me.
Classinaglass has some very useful form in the point-to-point field and hunter chases and showed he may be a bit better than that when third on his handicap bow at Wetherby last month. Veteran trainer Mick Easterby clearly feels the eight-year-old can win in better class and the New Racing UK Ipadd App Handicap Chase (2.45) looks to afford a suitable opportunity. Rider Harry Bannister is still an amateur, but he has plenty of winners to his credit and is with the top yard of Jonjo O’Neill.
Donald McCain expects to have several runners, best of which could prove to be Red Spinner in the Racing UK Anywhere Maiden Hurdle (2.10).
The gelding was successful in a bumper at Roscommon before being bought for 55,000 guineas last September and ran well for a long way when seventh in a bumper at Aintree the following month on his debut for the Cheshire stable.
He made his hurdling bow on this track in November, going down by only a neck and, although he has not raced since then, the stable is in fine form and can go one better this time.
Octagon is bred to be smart at the winter game and can make a successful debut in the concluding Watch Racing UK Anywhere Intermediate National hunt Flat race (4.55). The five-year-old is a full brother to three jumping winners and a half-brother to three more and only one of his dam’s offspring has failed to win. He was bred in the Borders by Rhona Oliver – widow of legendary trainer Ken - and made 34,000 guineas at the sales over 18 months ago, but connections have given him plenty of time and their patience may be rewarded here.
Selections: 2.10: Red Spinner; 2.45: Classinaglass; 3.55: Streets of Newyork; 4.55 Octagon.