THE TOWER PREVIEWS THE SCOTTISH SPRINT CUP
The Scottish Sprint Cup. A great day here north of the Border and as a Scotsman, one of my favourite handicaps of the season. This is Musselburgh’s chance to shine staging the 5 furlong dash. This Class 2 contest, sponsored by William Hill, is the marquee event on the track’s calendar and will be run on good to firm ground this year. Let’s take a look at some of the key players lining up a northern raid:
KIMBERELLA (Best Price 5/1)
Has been all the rage in the betting this week and it’s not hard to see why. He was murdered at the start of the Epsom Dash and lost any chance he had of winning that day in the starting stalls, yet still he got up to narrowly miss out on the line. Only been raised 1lb for this and although he’s short enough in the betting at 5/1, sprint king Dandy Nicholls commands ultimate respect in contests like this and it’s hard to overlook the horse’s chances. If he gets the relevant luck in running it will take a good one to beat him.
RED BARON (Best price 9/1)
Comes north to defend his crown but immediately on the back foot having been handed a dodgy draw in gate 2. And the negative press doesn’t end there. Last year’s Sprint Cup was the last time he won – and he’s now plugging on a full 7lbs higher than he was back then. Best to look elsewhere.
DUKE OF FIRENZE (Best price 10/1)
Ultra consistent 7yo who is sure to give his running. Won handily enough at York last month and there was nothing wrong with his 3rd place effort in the Epsom Dash. But he finished behind Kimberella that day while the aforementioned had a tortuous passage to come through and beat him into second, so it raises questions over what the outcome would be granted a straighter race between the pair here. Place claims.
THESME (Best price 10/1)
Nigel Tinkler’s 4yo is not without support up here in Scotland and it’s easy to find reasons why. He improved last year at a rate of knots to the point that he started life this season in a Listed contest down at Bath. That was clearly a bit much on his reappearance and he looked far more at home at York last month in the race won by Duke of Firenze (finished 3rd). On that form he has under 2 lengths to find but the stable clearly thinks a lot of him and the shrewd money around would suggest there could be more to come.
JUDICIAL (Best price 14/1)
Julie Camacho is not a name associated with big sprint handicap wins, least of all north of the border. But she has a very live chance here. Judicial has won 5 of his 8 starts and appears to be improving all the time. He won well at Thirsk last time out (had Red Baron in behind) and is well drawn here too. The anchor could be an extra 6lbs he has to burden. Probably too much on his plate.
SEE THE SUN (Best price 12/1)
Operated at a very consistent level over the years and that could well prove key here. Has won his last two and did it well last time when asked to rally in front and show plenty of guts. But he’s been fairly hammered by the assessor and has gone up a total of 11lbs for those two wins and surely that will now take its toll.
MONSIEUR JOE (Best price 16/1)
The one I like at a price. Has been campaigned here, there and everywhere around Europe over the last 12 months but when you look at his form in Britain last summer, he was bang there in some very good races. He didn’t run the worst race in the Epsom Dash considering his draw gave him very limited options and that will have sharpened him up for this assignment. His mark of 108 doesn’t give much room for error but it’s interesting that Joe Doyle is booked for the first time since he took the ride on him in this race last year and they bagged a place. They had every chance that day as well. At 16/1 he offers the definite value but the favourite will prove a tough nut to crack for sure.