The concluding bumper at Musselburgh this afternoon promises to be the best race on the card at the East Lothian track.
The William Hill Exclusive Mobile Offers (3.20) has attracted three previous winners and should be an informative event.
Professor Plum made a successful debut at Sedgefield in October, while Palermo Dan had some good form last spring when he was third on his racecourse bow at Newbury before winning at Haydock in March.
But Double W’s gets my vote after a promising effort when chasing home an odds-on favourite from the powerful Nicky Henderson yard on his debut at Market Rasen in May.
Malcom Jefferson’s gelding returned from a five month break to win by three lengths in front of 17 others at Ayr recently in the style of a more than useful performer. His dam won a bumper before making up into a decent hurdler and the four-year-old looks set to make his mark too.
Champion jockey Tony McCoy can get punters off to a great start by winning the opening event on Arabic History. The four-year-old cost 85,000 guineas and is bred for the flat game – he is a half brother to six winners in that sphere – but was backward and green as a youngster and did not see a racecourse until making a winning debut in a bumper at Newton Abbot in August and he scored again at Market Rasen the following month.
The gelding has since been runner-up in two classy bumper events at Cheltenham and now makes his hurdling bow in the William Hill Bet on the Move Maiden Hurdle (12.45).
His trainer, John Ferguson has saddled 37 winners from just 124 runners so far this jumps season for a strike rate of around a winner per three runners. He has yet to score from three runners at Musselburgh this winter, but has a strike rate of 30 per cent on the East Lothian track with eight winners from 27 runners here in the past five seasons. Arabic History is likely to go off a warm favourite, but can boost that score.
McCoy will be chasing a double on board Lucky Cody in the William Hill App Store Handicap Hurdle (2.20) when the gelding returns to hurdles after a deplorable effort when tailed off last of five runners at Uttoxeter recently.
He clearly did not relish the fences after an early error, but had previously been runner-up twice over timber before winning easily under McCoy in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in August before the combination finished third on that same track a few weeks later.
However a 15lb hike in the ratin
gs means he faces a stiff task and I prefer the chances of Claude Carter at the bottom end of the handicap.
He has four wins over hurdles to his credit, the latest over two miles here early last month and he again ran well when close second at the last meeting here.
With Callum Whillans claiming a handy 5lb, the ten-year-old has just a feather weight to carry and he races as though he will be suited by the extra half mile here.
Fife-based Lucinda Russell can get on the score sheet with Final Assault in the William Hill Download the App Handicap Chase (1.15).
A winner over hurdles at Ayr in January, he ended last term by finishing second twice on that same track. The five-year-old ran well when second on his chasing bow at Perth in September after being hampered at the very first fence. He again ran with credit despite a couple of small mistakes when third at Carlisle recently and can open his account over the larger obstacles here.
Joe’s Musselburgh selections: 12.45 Arabic History; 1.15 Final Assault; 2.20 Claude Carter; 3.20 Double W’s