Rivals shall not Pass Muster at Musselburgh

Trainer Mark Johnston. Picture: Getty
Trainer Mark Johnston. Picture: Getty
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Pass MUSTER seems to have developed a liking for the sea air at Musselburgh and can land the main event there tomorrow – the £20,000 Totepool Musselburgh Gold Cup (3.35).

The gelding will be having his first outing on the flat for more than a year – 373 days to be precise – but had some useful form on the level in his earlier days and has been running well over hurdles.

He opened his winning account over timber here in November and was runner-up on this track in early January before winning a jumpers bumper on the all-weather at Kempton at the end of that month.

The seven-year-old disappointed when favourite and only 4th on his latest outing at Fakenham, but probably needed the run after a short break and that tight, left-handed track may not have been his cup of tea.

He made a successful debut on the level at Newcastle as a three-year-old when carrying the Godolphin silks and scored at Beverley the following spring after changing stables. Both those efforts were on good to firm ground, so underfoot conditions should suit here.

Pass Muster failed to score again during the next two and a half years, but was placed several times and was claimed by current connections for £6000 after finishing second at Wolverhampton just before Christmas 2012.

It has taken trainer Phil Kirby a little time to get the gelding’s measure, but recent efforts over timber suggest all is well again and Pass Muster can take advantage of a career low handicap mark to land the spoils

Mark Johnston rarely goes home empty-handed from the East Lothian circuit and Insaany looks a sound wager in the Best Odds at Totepool.com Maiden Stakes (2.35).

The colt cost 65,000 gns, but was backward last year and did not make the track until September when he was totally green and inexperienced and was beaten a long way at Ayr. But he clearly learnt from that exercise, for a much better effort ensued here a month later.

He was sent off at 28-1 in an eight strong mile maiden and finished fifth, beaten just four lengths and would have been much closer but for being denied a clear passage in the closing stages. The three-year-old is a half-brother to five winners and can uphold family tradition here.

The Middleham trainer can complete a double with Alex My Boy in the Tote Tentofollow Maiden Stakes (4.05). The three-year-old showed plenty of promise when runner-up at Leicester to a highly-rated Michael Stoute-trained colt who has a Derby entry.

Alex My Boy has no such pretensions, but he is a son of Alexandrova who won both the Epsom and Irish Oaks and the step up to a mile and a half can bring out the best in this colt. Greenhead High and Roy’s Legacy fought out the finish of the five furlong sprint here a year ago, with the former coming out on top, and they clash again in the Totepool.com Apprentice Handicap (5.05).

Both have been successful on the all-weather during the winter and so come here in good form. Greenhead High won at Wolverhampton in March and was runner-up back on turf at Catterick last week.

But he is drawn in the widest stall tomorrow, while Roy’s Legacy has a plum draw on the favoured stands rail. He has scored three times at Lingfield since the end of January and although only one of his nine career victories has come on turf, it was on good to firm ground. So with underfoot conditions to suit and the best draw, he gets the vote.

Musselburgh selections: 2.35 Insaany; 3.35 Pass Muster; 4.05 Alex My Boy; 5.05 Roy’s Legacy.