Musselburgh preview: Let Haggas supply the beer money
The drinks should be on William Haggas at Musselburgh tomorrow when the Newmarket trainer launches a three-horse raid on the prizes.
The East Lothian track stages a twilight fixture with a late afternoon start, combining on-course action with a beer festival in conjunction with the local Caledonia Brewery. And Haggas can take the main event – the Caledonia Cup (6.30) with Novalina.
The filly cost 300,000 guineas and is a daughter of champion sire Galileo while her dam hails from a top-class family and is closely related to a champion filly in Japan.
Novalina did not race as a juvenile, but showed promise in her first two outings this summer at Doncaster and Newbury – both over ten furlongs. She is bred for stamina and relished the step up to a mile and a half when making all the running to land a maiden event at Ripon six weeks ago.
She disappointed subsequently at Salisbury on her handicap debut, finishing only fifth after being sent off favourite, but rain may have spoilt her chances.
The handicapper has left her on the same mark and the extra two furlongs tomorrow should be very much in her favour, while Graham Gibbons – who rode at Ripon – will be back on board again.
Haggas has a great record on this track with eight winners from 15 runners here in the last five seasons for a 53 per cent strike rate and he can take the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Scottish Premier Fillies Series Handicap (4.45) with Soundstrings.
The three-year-old is a full sister to a winner in France and a half-sister to six other winners. She was runner-up at Doncaster and Yarmouth before winning at odds-on at Catterick where Gibbons was on board for the first time.
The Northern-based rider has struck up a valuable partnership with Haggas – they have a 23 per cent strike rate this summer – and he will do the steering again tomorrow when the filly steps up into handicap company off what looks a fair mark of 75.
And the combination can make it a treble with Mujaamill in the Deuchers IPA Handicap (5.55). The colt is closely related to several winners, while his dam won the UAE 1,000 Guineas and was runner-up in the Newmarket fillies Classic too.
Mujaamil carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and hails from the immediate family of Dubai World Cup winner Almutawakel and Arc winner White Muzzle.
He was only ninth in a big field on hiss sole start at Newmarket last autumn, but was beaten only just over three lengths after being hampered and confirmed that promise when third at Haydock and Salisbury this term before finishing second when odds-on at Nottingham.
It took a decent filly from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard to beat him and Mujamill went one better when odds-on again and winning easily at Ripon. Afterwards Paul Hanagan – the Sheikh’s number one jockey – reckoned that Mujaamill had simply been toying with the opposition that day and a mark of 75 does not look too high for his handicap debut.
See Vermont was caught close home over the minimum trip here last week and can recoup the losses in the opening Hannah Fay Handicap (4.15) .
The gelding had won over this course and distance on his previous start, while useful young apprentice Lewis Edmunds will claim a full 7lb allowance.
Selections: 4.15 See Vermont; 4.45 Soundstrings; 5.55 Mujaamil; 6.30 Novalina