ON A day when Musselburgh racecourse itself made the headlines by staging its richest ever race and attracting a record 9,000 crowd at its annual Ladies Day meeting, Hawick-born trainer Keith Dalgleish promptly grabbed most of the publicity by saddling a superb treble.
It was his first training treble at the East Lothian track, just as his first treble as an apprentice jockey was also at Musselburgh way back in 2000, shortly after Dalgleish was named as a star of the future in these columns.
Weight problems meant that his riding career never hit the heights that it should have, but since his switch to the training ranks Dalgleish has made steady progress to the point where his yard near Carluke now has 80 horses, 30 of them being two-year-olds, one of whom, Just The Tip, kicked off the first of five wins by Scottish trainers on the day, Renfrewshire’s Jim Goldie weighing in with a double.
Unfortunately neither Scot could win the big prize, the £100,000 William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup which went to Demora, trained in Nottinghamshire by Michael Appleby and ridden very well by young apprentice Ali Rawlinson.
Demora hit the front shortly after leaving the stalls and was never headed in the five-furlong dash to the line.
Rawlinson, who still has his full 7lb weight claim, asked the 10-1 shot for a real effort just over two furlongs out and the mare responded well, winning a touch cosily by just over a length from the fast-finishing Masamah with Dinkum Diamond and Body and Soul a further head and neck away in third and fourth.
Rawlinson said: “That’s my biggest win by a country mile. She’s a game mare who has always had early pace and it takes a good horse to go with her, but today she kept galloping.”
Just before the race, bookmakers William Hill announced that they have renewed their sponsorship of the Scottish Sprint Cup in a three-year deal.
Bill Farnsworth, general manager at Musselburgh Racecourse, said: “The Scottish Sprint Cup is Musselburgh’s flagship race day and we are absolutely thrilled to have this long-term backing.
“The continued support of William Hill means a huge amount to us as a progressive and aspirational racecourse. The £100,000 William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup and the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, which is staged in September, are an excellent double act which are the standard bearers of Flat racing in Scotland. Scottish racing continues to make strong progress and we are looking forward to developing this brilliant race day with William Hill and Stobo Castle so it remains a sell-out capacity event for many years to come.”
Dalgleish started off his treble with 9-2 shot Just The Tip edging out Straightothepoint in a grim battle for the opening Madeleine Cup maiden auction stakes.
After Graham Lee won the following M-Pact Building Services handicap for Jim Goldie on the never-headed 7-2 favourite Mowhoob, jockey Tom Eaves made it a double for himself and Dalgleish on 1-2 favourite Lysino in the William Hill handicap.
Graham Gibbons then booted home David Barron’s useful Robot Boy, the 11-4 favourite, to win the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup Consolation Handicap.
It was back to Goldie again for the victory of 10-1 shot Caledonia under Jordan Nason in the two-mile Stobo Castle Ladies Day handicap, with Tommy Boyle of the owning syndicate Johnnie Delta Racing commenting: “He has had us scratching our heads about what to do with him but the penny dropped today and I think he’s the best handicapped horse in the country.”
Dalgleish gained his treble in the closing Gaynor Winyard Apprentice Handicap, Connor Beasley managing to control Mazeppa well as the easy 4-1 winner veered all over the track.
Dalgelish said: “We had been having a lot of seconds, but now we can’t grumble and we have a heap of horses running this week.”
That’s a good hint from a successful trainer to watch out for his horses.