13:20 Betway EBF Novice Stakes

A field of four unraced two-year-olds have been declared for the opening contest and there isn’t a great deal to go on at this stage in their careers.

Any of the runners could be anything and the market will be the best guide in this instance.

While he’s still not actually two years old – having been born on 18 April 2019 – half-brother of The Gatekeeper , Time Shanakill, managed to win on his two-year-old debut in Italy, so there is precociousness in the family. 

13:50 Betway Musselburgh Silver Arrow Handicap 

In the last three editions of this race it has been hugely favourable to be drawn low, with stalls 4, 3 and 3 berthing the winner.

Marshal Dan is just 4lb higher than when he won over course and distance in October, and if he’s fit and well, he could run very well first time out.

It’s worth noting that when Ian Williams sends horses north from his West Midlands base, his strike rates are impressive. Despite being drawn unfavourably in 11, he saddles Ejtilaab , who is still lightly-raced. We’re yet to see the best of him.

At a much bigger price, Manigordo is having his first start for the Tim Easterby yard since leaving Richard Hannon. He was always highly thought of and, if the change of scenery has helped him, his mark of 84 could underestimate his ability.

14:25 Betway Royal Mile Handicap

Much like the previous race, the mile course often shows a preference to be drawn low.

In the last five renewals of this race, the race has been won by stalls 3, 2, 3, 5 and 6. However, this year sees a smaller field than average go to post, so the draw may not be so much of an issue.

When Forest Falcon  was stepped up to a mile on his third career start, he bolted up at Yarmouth. He’d run well in a strong novice race and clearly improved for going up in distance. His yard have been among the winners of late, so he is going to be tough to beat.

Any runner that local trainer Keith Dalgleish saddles at Musselburgh should be given a second look. Heights Of Abraham won at Musselburgh as a two-year-old and also managed to win at Doncaster on his final start of the season. He looks as though he could be better than his current mark of 83 if he has trained on.

The market will be a good guide on both of the Richard Fahey horses, both of whom look as though they’ll improve this season, too.

15:00 Betway Scottish Sprint Cup

While the low draw is favourable on the round course, it often pays to be drawn high on the straight course at Musselburgh. It is also often beneficial to be forward going and up with the pace in five furlong races at the track.

Justanotherbottle will be forward going, that’s for sure. He’s drawn in stall 11 and has already had a prep run at Wolverhampton recently, which would have put him spot on for this.

Copper Knight was fourth in this race last year and has gone well on other occasions here in the past.

Latin Five showed promise in three starts for his new yard last season. His trainer Paul Midgley – who fields four in this contest – is a master of training sprinters. He does need to improve slightly, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

15:35 Betway Queens Cup

The feature race on the card is the Betway Queens Cup, run over 1m6f. Betway ambassador Andrew Balding saddles two runners who have made the long journey up from his Hampshire base.

Nate The Great  has a decent chance. He’s a very smart horse, was a good winner last time out and some of the form in his book is among the strongest in this field.

The Park House Stables trainer also runs Diocletian , who can often run free and be too keen. He’s more than capable on his day, though, and is fit from his recent hurdling runs.

As mentioned previously, it’s worth taking a look at anything Keith Dalgleish runs. He saddles Alright Sunshine , who is unbeaten at Musselburgh in four career starts. He recently ran in a Grade 2 race over hurdles and this is a drop down in class, albeit in a different code. He looks a solid each-way proposition.

16:11 Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap

A maximum field of 17 have been declared for this Class 4 5f sprint.

It’s a wide-open contest and a case could be made for plenty of the field.

Tanasoq is very, very dangerously-handicapped. Yes, he’s not the same horse he once was, but he ran well on a number of occasions last season, in better races and off a much higher mark. He’s run well fresh in the past, too.

His stablemate Primo’s Comet was an eye-catcher at Newcastle last time out and a return to the turf could bring out further improvement. He’s also well-handicapped off a mark of 67. Hollie Doyle has been booked for the ride.

Fox Hill was beaten a short head on his only start at the course in October last year and he runs off the same mark again.

16:46 Betway Handicap

The final race on the card is a mile handicap for horses rated 0-60.

Despite having to concede weight all around, Merricourt is the best horse in the race and has run well off a higher mark than this. He’s a course-and-distance winner who ran fairly well on the all-weather eight days ago.

Jungle Book has some good form in the book in the past but does need to improve on what he showed in the second half of last season. If the first-time hood makes the difference, he could go well under Phil Dennis.

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