Musselburgh races: Why Champagne Marengo can land the Edinburgh Cup
The drinks look set to be on Midlands trainer Ian Williams at Musselburgh on Saturday evening when he saddles Champagne Marengo for the Edinburgh Cup (4.40),
The gelding has been a revelation since being fitted with cheek pieces and stepping up to extreme distances, finishing second at Redcar in May and then rattling up a mid-summer four-timer with victories at Catterick, Chelmsford, Ascot and Nottingham.
At Catterick he beat Platform 19, who has since landed a four-timer himself to boost the form and despite that run of sparkling form. Champagne Marengo has been raised just 7lbs in the ratings.
He could finish only fourth at Chelmsford recently, but may well have finished much closer had he not run very wide on the home turn. The three-year-old was sporting a visor for the first time then, but his trainer reverts to the usual cheek pieces on the East Lothian track.
The £40,000 event is the feature on the tea time card and there is no shortage of tough opposition, including Newmarket challenger Hydroplane, who netted a hat-trick of successes before finishing second at Kempton recently.
Trainer Sir Mark Prescott fits a visor on his gelding for the first time and that may eke out a wee bit more improvement, but Hydroplane has been racing over 12f and less and the much longer trip here is a worry.
Mark Johnston saddles both Lord Lamington and Anyonecanhaveitall and both merits respect, while Keith Dalgleish will have high hopes for Euro Implosion.
The three-year-old has rattled up a recent hat-trick, but over a much shorter trip. Furthermore, the has gone up 13lbs in the rating and now steps into Class 2 company, so has plenty to do.
Band Practice is nominated as the best bet on the card in the EBF Fillies Condfitions Stakes (5.45) following a recent success at Chepstow.
The youngster was runner-up on her debut at Lingfield and then disaster struck at Beverley, where she was strongly fancied but was bumped at the start, The saddle slipped, her rider lost his irons and she was left trailing.
She cost 50,000 gns, is a half-sister to three winners and has a very progressive look about her.
Glasses Up caught my eye when running much better than the final placings suggest in a highly competitive affair at York recently and can take advantage of a drop in class at good odds in the Deloitte Handicap (6.15).
The four-year-old won three times at Ayr last term and is now 2lbs lower than his last winning mark.
Selections: 4.40 Champagne Marengo; 5.45 Band Practice; 6.15 Glasses Up; 6.45 Kermouster.