MUSSELBURGH staged a valuable card last Sunday, and Alan Swinbank and his team enjoyed a fine double on the afternoon, with the promise of much more to come in the season ahead.
The first winner came in the three-year-old maiden when Libran made an impressive start to his career, coming home in front under Ben Curtis.
Joyce Porter, owner of Libran, said: “He’s a big horse and he’s by Lawman, so Alan didn’t want to run him as a two-year-old.”
The trainer quickly doubled up on the afternoon when Eutropius took the very next race, a competitive 9f handicap, once again under Ben Curtis.
The winner had to overcome a poor draw here and is the type his trainer excels with and will be of interest wherever he turns up next time.
The feature race of the day was the totepool Musselburgh Gold Cup and it produced a cracking finish with Pass Muster getting up close home under a power-packed ride from Philip Makin.
It was trainer Philip Kirby’s first winner of the flat turf season and, afterwards, he said: “Pass Muster loves it here and the drying ground really suits him.”
Mark Johnston’s team rarely leave Musselburgh without a winner and that was the case when the very wellbred Alex My Boy took the staying maiden.
In the winners’ enclosure, the trainers’ wife Deirdre said: “He’s a horse who has always wanted this sort of trip.”
Redcar raced on Bank Holiday Monday and local trainer Ronnie Barr was on the mark in the opening 5f handicap with Foreign Rhythm.
A likeable mare, the winning handler said afterwards: “I thought she had got beaten.
But I knew she would run well, she always does and she has run well at many different places – she does try.”
The 7f handicap was made into two divisions, the first going the way of the Ruth Carr-trained Victoire De Lyphar and, afterwards, Carr said: “He has always had plenty of ability. He ran well first time at Doncaster where he probably needed the run and it was probably a more competitive race. He is suited by a straight seven furlongs and there is a race for him at Newcastle next Tuesday.”
Michael Dods saddled the winner of the second division with Escape To Glory. A relived trainer said: “He was disappointing last year but he has come down the handicap a long way and I hope that winning a poor race will do his confidence good.”
It was Catterick’s turn to race on Wednesday and Philip Kirby was once again on the mark, this time it was Cavalieri’s turn to come home in front under a good ride from the yards apprentice Eva Moscrop.
Afterwards Kirby, who is making a big impression under both codes, said: “Cavalieri is a nice horse who will jump hurdles one day. He probably needed his first race, but he’s also probably on a fairish mark. He’s very straightforward and likes a good gallop.”
Mark Johnston also kept up his fine run of form at Catterick as Little Shambles took the fillies maiden in the hands of Joe Fanning.
The trainers son Charlie Johnston was on hand, saying: “It was all a bit of a shock to her at Pontefract on her debut and it all happened too quick for her. She’s learned from that and Joe said this better ground suited her.”
Johnston enjoyed an across the card double on Wednesday as Sennockian Star landed the Investec Property Investments City And Suburban Handicap at Epsom.
A low draw was a crucial factor in the long-established mile and a quarter event, and stall three helped Silvestre De Sousa to be on the rail and up with the pace throughout. Responding to the requests of his pilot, the chestnut finished up a length and a quarter in front of Clayton.
With the trainer paying a rare visit to Perth after a British Horseracing Authority meeting, Johnston was represented by wife Deirdre, who said: “He was fantastic last season, winning five times, and we were worried he was going up and up in the handicap but he’s come and pulled another one out of the bag.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what the handicapper does now.”
Looking forward to a very good card at Ripon tomorrow.
The seven race meeting is due underway at 1.40pm and with valuable prize money on offer, there is no surprise to see so many top trainers and jockeys involved throughout the day.