3.00pm Musselburgh Tips & Betting Preview 15/04/2017

Just the two runnings of this contest to date and punters are yet to see a winning favourite in this mile handicap for three-year-olds, with Travel First winning at 7/1 for William Haggas in 2014 and Moonlightnavigator an 11/1 shock for John Quinn in 2015 with last year failing to beat the weather. Whoever wins this afternoon will be breaking the mould as there isn’t a single course winner in the field but they do have some distance winners and it may be best to start with them. Mark “Braveheart” has his string in fine fettle at present with five winners from their last twenty-two runners for a 23% success rate and a small level stakes profit. He is responsible for top weight Mailshot who will be ridden by stable jockey Joe Fanning (three winners from his last nineteen rides and a 19% strike rate), and better still, he won last time out. Sent to Chelmsford on the all-weather for a Class Three worth a nice £10,000 he looked uninterested after the stalls opened and Frannie Norton had to get after him pretty early in the race, but he ran on well over the mile in the end to go away for a two and a quarter length win that has seen him put up an added five pounds which doesn’t seem that harsh in the circumstances.

Rusumaat carries the famous colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum in this race and looks likely to improve this season making the son of Arcano the one to be on this afternoon. Last season he competed in some very valuable and competitive two-year-old races and ran his best race yet when second to Stormy Clouds in the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes, picking up close to £60,000 for doing so. With the step up in trip sure to suit and the Mark Johnston yard in good sorts with a 19% strike rate in the last fourteen days, Dane O’Neill will hopefully have little more than a steering job here as long as he trains on from two to three.

Meanwhile it is impossible to ignore the chances of Richard Fahey’s Rashford’s Double who deserves to be near the top of the list in any race preview. A son of Zoffany out of an Alhaarth mare he won his last three races in a row, two at Newcastle on the all-weather and the latest at Nottingham on turf in early November. Off over the winter punters will need to assume he has grown from two to three until he walks out in to the paddock though rider Adam McNamara seemed to think he will train on after his October win saying Rashford’s Double is very professional – he settled well and travelled well. You can put him anywhere. Next year I think he’ll be a nice horse, maybe over a bit further” which has to be seen as a good thing, though the stable could be in much better form with six winners from their last thirty-eight runners and a mere 18% success rate at this stage of a long season.

Anyone watching the racing over the last few weeks will be aware that the William Haggas stable have increased in size and perhaps in quality as well and their runners will always need a close watch from now on until that changes. The Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum owned Novoman looks interesting this afternoon after being gelded in January which is expected to make the difference. A son of Sir Prancealot he only won a Brighton maiden last year over seven furlongs on pretty quick going and ended the season as a beaten favourite at Doncaster off a rating of 88 with Ryan Moore in the saddle. He ran on well that day again over seven furlongs suggesting this mile or more is within his reach, and although he has been off the track for over five months, a market watch may be sensible in case connections to recoup any losses here.

To end the early preview Al Shaqab have an intriguing low profile entry here in Mazyoun wo struggled to win at all last season with a short head maiden win at Newcastle in October getting him off the mark at the fifth attempt after three frustrating places in a row. Admittedly he had been competing in better races but still had something to prove regarding the will to win but put any questions marks to bed when battling on strongly over six furlongs to get back up at the line. Gelded over the winter and stepped up in trip here he could well be better than most or even all of these and if Hugo Palmer had been in among the winners recently he could have been sorely tempting.

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