12.50pm Musselburgh Tips & Betting Preview 20/01/2017

A very tricky nine runner handicap kicks off the day at Musselburgh on Friday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: A very tricky race can go the way of Nicky Richard’s PARC DES PRINCES, who is extremely well handicapped on his best form and showed hints that he was returning to form when seventh at Market Rasen on his latest start. Going back up in trip is a big plus and the Richard’s yard are in brilliant form at the moment, so all signs point to a good run and a seventh win over timber. It is hard to pick out a main danger in such a trappy contest but Urban Kode is likely to give him the most to think about if he builds on his latest second over C&D.

1 PEPPAY LE PUGH – Showed good form in bumpers and his fourth at Kempton in February was in a bumper where many have come out and won over hurdles since (2m, Soft). He however hasn’t transferred that ability to timber and has been poor on all three runs so far, finding little off the bridle despite travelling reasonably well. Switch to handicap company should help but a mark of 109 does look harsh and despite having conditions to suit, he’s probably best watched today.

2 DANCEINTOTHELIGHT – Won on his penultimate start at Catterick (2m 3f, Good to Soft), though was soundly beaten the next week off of toady’s mark at Ludlow (1m 7f, Good to Soft) with the trip a possible excuse. Seems very high in the weights at present and has struggled off marks such as this in the past, with his overall record of 8-105 hardly inspiring. Others have much sounder claims and is likely to continuing struggling until his mark goes down.

3 SPORTS BARROW – Has been in no sort of form for this yard, struggling in his last three runs under both codes though he showed a slight bit more promise at Down Royal on Boxing Day (2m, Soft). Return to better ground will suit and has the champion jockey Richard Johnson on board, but it is still hard to see him winning this against some more progressive types and likely best watched today.

4 ASOCKASTAR – Was a good second at Uttoxeter back in June (2m, Good) but hasn’t been seen since flopping at Worcester a few weeks later (2m 4f, Good to Soft). The absence is a worry though he returns on a two pound lower mark with Tom O’Brien taking the ride and if fully revved up for this return he would have definite place claims. Tim Vaughan continues to have a good season and he has to be respected but others are more convincing for win purposes.

5 SHY – Does have ability which has been shown at numerous points in his career though she’s yet to trouble for win purposes, still a maiden after eight attempts with no places either. A mark of 98 does seem harsh for what she’s achieved and looks unlikely to land a blow again here today. She’s got time on his side as a five year old but will have easier opportunities than this, especially with a lower mark.

6 URBAN KODE – Hard to catch right with a record of 4-40 over hurdles but did shown signs he would be returning to winning ways soon when second behind a progressive sort over C&D on New Year’s Day (2m 3f, Good). Now 2lb below his last winning mark and likely to run well with conditions in his favour and has to be respected, with Alexander Thorne taking off 10lb (who has had a winner in the past two weeks) and the Lucinda Russell yard striking form with a record of 2-15 in recent weeks.

7 RONALDINHO – 0-22 over hurdles and has shown no signs he’s going to change that in recent efforts over timber, finishing ninth at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day and a distance behind Urban Kode (2m 3f, Good). Impossible to build a case for him despite being on a mark of only 93 and is disregarded today.

8 ARANTES – Highly tried six year old who isn’t progressing much over hurdles, though he was a fair fourth on his latest start at Musselburgh earlier in the month (1m 7f, Good) and has dropped a further 3lb. 0-13 overall in this discipline but is on a fair weight and if stepping back up in trip eeks out further improvement he’d have to be considered an each way player for Andrew Hamilton and Henry Brooke, with ground conditions to suit.

9 PARC DES PRINCES – 11 year old who is very well handicapped at present, now 18lb below his last winning mark but he’s obviously well out of form in recent months. His latest run however was more encouraging when 7th seventh at Market Rasen (2m, Good to Soft), making some headway before going backwards again up the home straight. He is almost certainly capable of a win off this mark and conditions are perfect for him so there are no excuses, and judging by that latest run his next win could be near. Nicky Richard’s yard is in tremendous form at present with a record of 5-17 in the past two weeks and this veteran could be the answer today.

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