BRITAIN’S most northerly trainer Jackie Stephen has her eye on the two feature races at Musselburgh today.
Based in Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, she saddles Amilliontimes in the Racing UK Available Anywhere Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase and Problema Tic in the Interactive Handicap Chase.
Mrs Stephen said: “Amilliontimes has just started chasing and has taken to fences quite well.
“He’s been third at Hexham and Perth and I just hope the rain stays away. He likes the course as he was a close second over hurdles at this meeting last year.”
Among the rivals taking on the bottom weight is Lucinda Russell’s winning point to pointer, The Cobbler Swayne, who will be making his debut over regulation fences.
Problema Tic faces five opponents in the long-distance chase and Mrs Stephen added: “He’s had his problems since his last win but his mark has dropped as a result. He’s never been to Musselburgh before but he seems well enough and, hopefully, he will run alright after his break.”
Also in the line-up is Sue Smith’s Swing Hard – carrying the colours worn by 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore – who has been third in both recent starts at Sedgefield and Southwell.
Meanwhile, at Chelmsford, Annie Salts can make it third-time lucky in the toteexacta Pick The 1st & 2nd Maiden Auction, writes Glendale.
Trained by Martyn Meade, the Zebedee filly made a promising debut in May when beaten only six lengths by Besharah, one of the best two-year-old fillies in Europe this season.
She obviously picked up a problem after that because she was not seen again until last month at Wolverhampton when she was entitled to need the outing.
Nevertheless, Annie Salts was still sent off favourite, but, after bring trapped wide throughout, she did not have enough left for a sustained effort at the finish.
Despite finishing fifth she was beaten only a length and a half and looks capable of opening her account.
The step up in trip looks sure to suit Saeed bin Suroor’s Lovely Memory in the totetrifecta Pick The 1,2,3 Handicap.
Beautifully bred, the Shamardal filly is a daughter of Folk Opera, who won a Canadian Group One who has already produced a top-class filly in Proportional.
Having opened her account at the third attempt at this venue in September, she has since been a close third at Pontefract and a fast-finishing fourth back at this track.
All of those runs were over a mile, so the step up to 10 furlongs looks in her favour.
She meets some interesting rivals in Stencive, off the track for over 8,000 days but formerly smart for Haggas, and Hugo Palmer’s unexposed Spanish Squeeze, but Bin Suroor places his horses very well on the all-weather.
David Simcock appears to have found the perfect opportunity for Wavelet to open her account in the Celebrate Christmas At CCR Maiden Stakes. She looks all about stamina and has shaped encouragingly in two runs to date.
Father Edward is the pick in the Bet & Watch At winner.co.uk Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Market Rasen.
He disappointed at the Lincolnshire venue over hurdles in August but is an interesting contender as he switches to fences here.