The Betway Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle is run over 2m and has attracted a strong field including a handful of southern raiders.
Dan Skelton, who has his yard in absolute red-hot form, won this race in 2017 with Superb Story and saddles PROSCHEMA in this year’s renewal. He is still lightly-raced and will relish the quicker conditions he faces here, as opposed to the bottomless ground he hated on his previous run at Cheltenham.
Musselburgh is a flat track that is suited to horses with plenty of pace and coming off the flat, so he’s got the right profile to run a big race.
I like front-runners or those that race close to the pace at Musselburgh, so I do think that Rosie And Millie will run very well. She has improved this season and her second at Ascot last time – behind a very smart horse – sets the form in terms of standard. If she gets her own way in front, she could be hard to peg back.
Any money for the five-year-old Manucci will also be telling. He is likely to be the biggest improver in this field, and we are yet to see the best of him. He was running well in behind Goshen last season and won his prep race for this on the flat at Lingfield, beating a smart horse of Alan King’s.
He is also travelling up from South Wales, so I doubt his connections are just running him for the Scottish fresh air.
Course form at Musselburgh often stands the test of time and BUCKLED , who always runs well at the course, looks set to run another good race off his mark of 100. Some of his best career runs have come at this track and he’ll love and appreciate the good to soft ground. It’s a really competitive race, but if he puts his best foot forward, he’ll give his rider Ross Chapman a good spin.
Top weight Danboru is another travelling from Tim Vaughan’s South Wales yard and, on his best day, is much better than his rivals here. Conditions are in his favour and he’ll come forward for his comeback run, so I can see him going very well. Any money for this horse would also be telling.
The step back to three miles will suit MUCKAMORE down to the ground. He was a three-mile point winner and ran in some good novice hurdles last season. They’ve not waited too long to go over fences with him and I think his connections will be rewarded here.
Hold That Taught ran very well at Ascot last time out and he’ll appreciate the testing conditions. Venetia Williams’ horses always go well at this time of year and he’ll be doing his best work late on. He can make a race of it with Muckamore.
The Betway Auld Reekie Handicap Chase is another cracking race that has attracted a good field. It includes last year’s third COOL MIX , who has improved again this season. I’m not sure whether he had an issue that they have sorted, or whether they have changed his training routine, but he has been consistent at this level and will no doubt be doing his best work late on.
Romain De Senam runs for the Dan Skelton team. Their horses are flying so it would be no surprise to see this horse, who has his ideal conditions here, go very well. A quickly-run two-and-a-half miles plus suits him well and this race looks a good opportunity for him.
At a much bigger price, Bigmartre may have also been overlooked. He’s got some good form in the book and loves quicker ground. Every time he travels up north, he runs very well. Some horses just enjoy travelling and he seems one of those types.
There is a question of the form of his stable, but some of the yard’s horses have run decently in the last few days, suggesting that the tide could be turning. If it is, this horse is well-handicapped.