Eric Alston hoping for Red letter day at Musselburgh

Caspian Prince carries top weight in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup. Picture: Getty
Caspian Prince carries top weight in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup. Picture: Getty
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ERIC ALSTON is expecting a big run from Red Baron in the £100,000 William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh today.

The Preston raider is among a maximum field for the 5f dash in which the winner usually clocks a scorching time of well under 60 seconds.

Alston said: “This big one has been the plan since he was narrowly beaten in the consolation race at this meeting last year. He loves the track and he’s won three races and been second three times.

“In a big sprint like this, you can never be confident, but I’d say he has to have a decent chance. Neil Farley gets on well with him and it’s nice to be aiming at such a big pot for a change.”

Among the opposition to Red Baron are the two most recent winners of the race, Michael Appleby’s Demora (2014) and Ed de Giles’ Kingsgate Native (2013).

The sole Scottish raider is Jim Goldie’s Hawkeyethenoo whose last victory came by a nose in the 2012 Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Top weight, off a BHA mark of 108, is Caspian Prince. Trained by Tony Carroll, he was sixth behind Demora last year, and was unplaced at Epsom on Derby day on his first race this year in the UK, having spent the winter in Dubai where he scooped a valuable handicap in February.

On a competitive afternoon, there are terrific supporting events, including a £30,000 Sprint Cup Consolation race and the £20,000 Stobo Castle Ladies Day Cup. The seven-race card is a sell- out as the 10,000 capacity was again reached several months ago.

Elsewhere today, Scalzo can make a perfect start for new owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum by landing the 888Sport Charity Sprint at York.

Previous owner Rick Barnes agreed to sell his star three-year-old for an undisclosed sum after his impressive seven-length demolition job at Haydock last month.

Previously a Doncaster maiden winner, Scalzo made quite a splash on his handicap bow on Merseyside, making a mockery of his initial mark of 77 as he breezed home in fine fashion without coming under any pressure at all. His change of gear made quite an impression.

Sheikh Hamdan subsequently snapped up Scalzo and he could prove a shrewd recruit as he certainly looks likely to rate higher than his current perch of 95 in due course. He faces tougher competition here, not least in the shape of the well-regarded unbeaten Twilight Son, but Scalzo should definitely be up to the challenge.

John Gosden enjoyed a day to remember last Saturday with his one-two in the Derby, and, while Wannabe Yours is not of that calibre, he should be good enough in the Ian And Kate Hall Macmillan Ganton Stakes.

He won three times last year, including by nine lengths in a Doncaster handicap, which shot his mark up to 100 and then 109. He fell well short on his final start last term, but that could have just been a step too far too soon and he should be nicely refreshed following a winter break.