Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
The ground is usually closer to good than soft at Musselburgh even in the depths of winter, but with plenty of rain forecast conditions might be more testing than is usual.
That could be a big problem for Mullaghmurphy Blue in this afternoon’s 2m3f novices’ handicap chase as both his recent wins at this track came on good ground. Up another 10lb for the latest of those, he has to be taken on and Donald McCain’s MIDDLEBROW makes the most appeal of his five rivals.
The seven-year-old showed he handled soft ground when winning a bumper in Ireland and he has improved for the switch to fences the last twice, winning a similar race at Catterick before being brought down by a faller on his follow up bid at the same track six days ago. He still travelling okay at the time and the fact he is being turned out again so quickly suggests he’s none the worse for that experience.
Victor Dartnall is a rare visitor from his Devon base and his only runner in the past five seasons won, so the fact he’s travelling up with just one horse, UT MAJEUR AULMES, who contests the feature 2m handicap chase, has to be a tip in itself.
The ten-year-old has a serious chance in form too having finished runner up on both his starts this season, including when finding Baby King only a neck too good in a competitive handicap at Aintree last time. The form of that race has been boosted by the placed horses since and the selection, who looked all over the winner jumping the last only to wilt in the last 50 yards, will be suited to this sharper track.
A good jumper in the norm and fully effective on ground with plenty of cut in it, which can’t be said of all his rivals, he should make a bold bid to go one better and give Nick Scholfield a winner on his only ride at the track.
The market will prove the best guide to the closing bumper but unless there is any significant money for one of the newcomers, it looks a good opportunity for PAPER PROMISE to get his head in front after a promising debut second at Kelso in the spring. A 33/1 shot that day, he belied that price tag to chase home Heartasia, who runs in the opening maiden hurdle, with a well backed favourite well beaten off in third. While he’s been off since, the stable has been in good form and won one of these with a 13/2 shot at Sedgefield on Boxing Day.
All odds were correct at time of posting.