Some powerful Newmarket stables stage a raid on the Musselburgh prizes tomorrow and it’s hard not to see them carrying off much of the cash on offer.
Just five runners line up for the main event, the £30,000 Archerfield Cup (4.10), but three of them hail from Headquarters. The trio have won their last eight races between them with Life on Earth and Artemon both chasing a hat-trick, while Timoshenko has won his last four starts.
The latter is a typical highly progressive three-year-old from the Sir Mark Prescott camp, but his victories at Chepstow (twice), Ayr and Lingfield have risen him 16lbs in the ratings and this looks much tougher.
Life on Earth opened her winning account at Lingfield and followed up at Windsor, but both those races were over 1½m and there must be a question mark over her stamina, She is a half-sister to eight winners, but none over extreme trips and her pedigree does not suggest she is shouting out for such a marked step up in distance.
Artemon was runner-up at Newcastle in June before going one better at Catterick and then overcoming a step up in class and trip at Sandown with ease, making all the running. He faces an extra quarter of a mile here though and carries a 6lbs penalty, but he may be the one to score again. His trainer, Michael Bell is having a good year and he and jockey Jamie Spencer can initiate a double with Arabian Jazz in the EBF Scottish Premier Series Fillies Handicap (3.40).
She was placed three times last term before signing off her juvenile season with a victory over 7F of this track in September and she showed that she had trained on by scoring at Beverley in the spring. The three-year-old has been runner-up in her last two races at Thirsk and Yarmouth and can go one better here off just a 2lbs high mark.
Deputise is another Newmarket raider to follow in the EBF Miller Homes Conditions Stakes (2.10). The youngster is trained by William Haggas and she was a well-backed favourite on her debut at Yarmouth in June but she lost eight lengths with a very slow start and could finish only sixth.
However, she benefited from that experience to recoup the losses at Wolverhampton just 12 days later and followed up at Chester last month. An 111,000 guineas buy, she was far from disgraced when third in a good race at York subsequently and can get back to winning ways here.
Markhan isn’t trained at Newmarket, but she is certainly a long distance traveller having journeyed from Gordon Elliott’s Irish base to line up for the Edgen Murray Handicap (3.10).
The gelding won twice in his home country in 2016, but failed to score in a truncated season last year. However, he has been in good heart of late, finishing third at Dundalk and Naas. He has drifted down the ratings, so the fact that he is set to concede weight all round here underlines a big drop in class from his pomp and he can give Jamie Spencer another winner.
Selections: 2.40 Deputise; 3.10 Markhan; 3.40 Arabian Jazz; 4.10 Artemon