2.05 Musselburgh – MEADWAY
The selection, trained by Bryan Smart, is a son of Captain Gerard whose campaign in the past couple of seasons has revolved around this particular race, coming into it fresh back in 2015 when finding only Pearl Acclaim a head too good. The following 12 months were rather muted, punctuated by a third and course and distance success when landing a 5f handicap at Southwell towards the end of the year, and he duly sprang back into life when going one better in last year’s renewal of this race when crossing over from a wide draw to make all and score by a length from Olivia Fallow. He has once again spent time in the wilderness in the intervening period, aside from a good second place finish back at Southwell on New Year’s Day (badly drawn on his latest outing at Beverley in April); has a wide draw to overcome once again, but no surprise to see him make a bold bid to follow up last year’s win from a 3lb lower mark if indeed getting across from stall 3.
2.20 York – GET KNOTTED
The selection, trained by Michael Dods, is a son of Windsor Knot who hasn’t always proved the most straightforward of characters (unseated rider twice early in his career), but he has progressed with age and built up a good record at this particular venue, landing a handicap over course and distance 11 months ago (overall form figures here read: 321053). That was his fifth and indeed most recent career victory, but he has run well in defeat by and large since then, including a couple of third place finishes at Doncaster and finding only one too good in the Ayr Silver Cup and a 6f handicap back at Doncaster. He has again acquitted himself with credit in defeat this term, including last time over course and distance when third to six to Golden Stunner, a small-field affair not playing to strengths (raced keenly). A much bigger field this time ought to ensure a truly-run race, and he has also been nudged down a couple of pounds since that last outing; no surprise to see this son of Windsor Knot very much involved at the business end of matters.
3.10 Musselburgh – ORION’S BOW (nap)
The selection, trained by Tim Easterby, is a six-year-old son of Pivotal who proved a transformed character for previous handler Dandy Nicholls last spring, landing a 6f handicap at Newcastle in the May and following up in a similar event at Catterick 11 days later. He completed the hat-trick in a 6f handicap at Thirsk a further two weeks on and, following victory in a 5f handicap at Newcastle, completed the five-timer in a 6f handicap at Hamilton before posting an excellent effort in defeat when second to Dancing Star in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood. He wasn’t in quite the same form for his final two outings of 2016 and has so far looked to be working back to full fitness for his new stable this season, particularly so in a 6f event at Haydock five weeks ago, doing too much too soon and only giving best late in the piece as he came home in fourth behind Mythmaker (beaten 1½ lengths). He ought to be spot on now moving back into handicap company, incidentally, just 1lb higher than when runner-up in last season’s Stewards’ Cup; a strongly-run race at this trip will suit, shaping as though worth another go at the minimum distance (won on his only attempt at the trip), and no surprise to see this son of Pivotal land this valuable pot.
3.15 Sandown – BLACK TRILBY
The selection, trained by Clive Cox, is a son of Helmet who showed ability in a trio of well-contested 6/7f maidens at two, his best effort coming at Glorious Goodwood last summer when finishing third to Lockheed. He made his return to action in a 1m handicap at Leicester last month, tracking the leaders and racing enthusiastically, making smooth progress three furlongs out and challenging going well with two furlongs left to run, taking over soon after but joined and headed inside the final furlong and having to settle for second behind On To Victory (pair well clear). His latest outing came just 11 days later in a 7f handicap at Epsom, close up but racing rather freely and also caught wide throughout, ridden to try and challenge over two furlongs out and sticking on well to finish third behind Juanito Chico (beaten 2¼ lengths). It was a solid effort in defeat from this colt, not settling fully and posted rather wide throughout; up 3lbs now, but he still appeals as well treated and, if putting it all together, can notch a belated first success here.
3.30 York – CARLTON FRANKIE (nb)
The selection, trained by Mick Easterby, is a daughter of Equiano who was deemed good enough to debut in a Listed event here last May, her inexperience all too evident as she came home in ninth but looking a whole lot more polisged when sharply away and making all to land a 5.5f maiden back here some five months later. She has confirmed herself a sprinter of real potential in landing a pair of 5f handicaps at Redcar and Nottingham this spring, making all and strong at the finish on both occasions, readily accounting for the in-form Kinloch Pride on her return prior to seeing off next-time-out winner Arzaak with any amount in hand. This filly has quite clearly been targeted at this race, her two smooth victories at an admittedly lower level so far this term ensuring she made the cut; the step up to six furlongs does set a new challenge, and making all in a race of this nature won’t be quite as easy, but this daughter of Equiano possesses black-type pretensions and can set herself up for a crack at a higher level with victory here.