Musselburgh tips: Double up with Germany Calling and Castafiore
Charlie Longsdon looks to be the trainer to follow in front of a bumper crowd at Musselburgh's New Year's Day fixture tomorrow.
He stages a raid with three horses on the East Lothian track and can land a double with Germany Calling and Castafiore.
Germany Calling has been set to give weight away all round in the Totepool.com Auld Reekie Handicap Chase (1.40), but jockey Graham Watters claims a handy 3lb allowance and can still make it three wins from his last four starts.
Successful twice over hurdles, the gelding has blossomed as a chaser, winning four times and making the frame on four occasions from just a dozen starts over fences.
He made a successful start over the larger obstacles at Uttoxeter some 18 months ago and also won at Carlisle last autumn before getting somewhat bogged down in soft ground when a hot favourite at Aintree.
So he missed a winter of racing in the mud and reappeared after a four-month break to run well, although not placed at the Cheltenham festival in March.
Placed in two of his next four races, the eight-year-old returned to winning form at Bangor in September and was far from disgraced in a Listed chase at Ascot before romping home by 15 lengths at Doncaster on his latest appearance.
The handicapper has put him up 7lb for that effort, but off a mark of 145 tomorrow, he is still just 11lb higher than when beginning his chasing career.
A bold front runner, he may be challenged for early supremacy by Viens Chercher who also likes to set the pace, but the latter has had just two races over fences and Germany Calling’s quick, clean jumping can win the day.
Stable companion Castafiore can take the opening Totepool First Foot Juvenile Hurdle (12.30) to justify the long trek from Longsdon’s Oxfordshire base.
The filly was bred by the Darley Stud and carried the Godolphin colours to victory on the level in the summer when trained in France by Andre Fabre.
She is closely related to three decent flat winners and was snapped up for just 24,000 guineas by Longsdon just three weeks after that success.
The three-year-old showed her inexperience with some elementary errors on her hurdling bow at Warwick in November, but lost by just a neck in a driving finish and she was again runner-up at Aintree.
She was beaten a long way there, but it was a Listed event and the winner has since boosted the form by finishing second in a Grade Two contest, while the third horse had smart form on the level.
Castafiore gets the 7lb sex allowance from her five rivals tomorrow and that can help her to go one better here.
Kentucky Star romped home on this track a fortnight ago and will be strongly fancied to follow up in the Totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap Hurdle (2.15).
But the Irish raider runs off an 8lb higher mark this time and may find it hard to confirm form with Full Jack who was just more than four lengths back in third place a fortnight ago.
Full Jack was sent off favourite then and can turn the tables on 6lb better terms to recoup the losses.
Atomix looked an unlucky loser when favourite and falling at the final flight here recently and can atone in the Collect Tote Winnings at Betfred Shops Handicap Hurdle (3.25).
A bumper winner here last term, he steps into handicap company, but is lightly raced, has scope and the longer trip will help.
Selections: 12.30: Castafiore; 1.40: Germany Calling; 2.15: Full Jack; 3.25: Atomix.