BRIAN Hughes is looking forward to some nice rides on the final day of Musselburgh’s jumps campaign today.
First up for the Irishman in the New Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Maiden Hurdle is Marlborough House, trained by Chris Grant who saddled a treble at the East Lothian track’s previous fixture 12 days ago.
Hughes said: “I haven’t ridden him before but he was a close third at Catterick last time and I would imagine stepping up in trip on this better ground should be a plus.”
John Wade-trained Dingo Bay, one of seven declared for the Henry Reilly Memorial Handicap Chase (Betfair Scottish Chase Series Qualifier) is a horse he knows much better and he added: “He’s in grand form and I’ve won three times at Newcastle on him. His wins came at two-and-a-half and three miles and he is improving all the time. There is a slight concern the track might be sharp enough but there are no other opportunities for him.”
The feature race is the £10,000 Musselburgh Interactive Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase which has attracted a field of ten including top-weight Ifyousayso, a rare runner at the track for Tom George. Paddy Brennan’s mount made a winning debut in a bumper at Musselburgh two years ago when trained by Peter Niven and is on a hat-trick after strikes at Doncaster and Leicester.
Hughes gets the leg up on Swingbridge and he said: “He’s by Milan and a nice prospect that was bred to be a chaser. He had good form in novice hurdles and there is no doubt tackling three miles for the first time on his debut over fences is what he wants.”
Meanwhile, the final pieces of the Cheltenham Festival jigsaw fell into place at Kempton on Saturday, with the biggest hint from Paul Nicholls’ Irving – an impressive winner of the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle and now vying for favouritism for the Festival opener, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Unbeaten in three previous races, his win at Ascot had been advertised by Betfair Hurdle winner Splash Of Ginge and he was a heavily-backed 4-6 favourite. He was not expected to have it easy against First Mohican, a smart Flat horse, and Amore Alato, but he oozed class under Nick Scholfield and was not hard pressed to win by five lengths.