Leading Trainers Target Musselburgh’s Scottish Cheltenham Trials
Big Guns Head North For Prime Jumps Meetings
Musselburgh’s decision to extend the Scottish Cheltenham Trials over a weekend appears to have paid off with more than 75 entries for tomorrow’s (Sat 4 Feb) eight race card.
In the £25,000 Bet365 Scottish Triumph Juvenile Hurdle (1.30), top trainer Nicky Henderson welcomes back from injury principal jockey and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Nico de Boinville to take the saddle on Soldier in Action. Royal trainer Charlie Longsdon returns with Forth Bridge, owned by The Queen, and a winner over the same distance at Musselburgh in December, while Alan King fields a rare runner at Musselburgh with Fidux, a winner last month at Kempton.
The longest race ever run at Musselburgh, the four mile £40,000 Bet365 Edinburgh National has 13 runners and is viewed as a trial for the Grand National. Course debutante jockey Harry Cobden will have to overcome an 11lb concession on the Paul Nicholls trained Just A Par, while Alvarado, trained by Cheltenham-based Fergal O’Brien, will hope to go one better than its second place at last year’s Scottish Grand National. Both horses along with Jennie Candlish’s Beeves are potential runners in the Aintree Grand National
In the feature race, the £50,000 Bet365 Scottish County Hurdle (3.15) trainer Iain Jardine and jockey Shane Shortall, who won the corresponding race last year with Shrewd, hope the winning combination will produce the same result with Traditional Dancer. Iain Jardine said: “I am expecting a big run because he was a close third over course and distance at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day.”
Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth said: “Top class entries pepper both cards over our Scottish Cheltenham Trials weekend and with more than £250,000 prize money this is a highlight of the jumps season which will go from strength to strength. We’ve had excellent support from trainers and owners and I am sure that will be reciprocated by an excellent crowd on both days.”
On Sunday, Solar Impulse could shine in the totepool Scottish Champion Chase (3.10) and has pedigree as winner of the Grand Annual Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival.
In the Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle (2.40) Paul Nicholls and stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies could be on to something with High Secret who made an impressive winning hurdles debut at Taunton, but will be up against the highly rated Peter The Mayo Man which has won its last three races.
In the Pertemps Qualifier (4.10) Nicky Henderson teams up again with Barry Geraghty on Cup Final, winner of the same race last year, and looking to score an identical result in the colours of JP McManus.
Gates open on Saturday at 11am and 11.30am on Sunday, and first race is 12.25pm and 1.40pm respectively.
For more information and to book tickets please visit www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk