Musselburgh hope to start off the New Year in style with a big crowd for their fixture tomorrow and have arranged special buses from Edinburgh city centre to the East Lothian track.
With limited public transport, plenty of punters are likely to use the service which leaves from Waterloo Place at the East end of Princess Street and must be pre-booked via www.musselburgh-racecourse.com.
I reckon they can recoup the fare by rowing with Everaard later in the afternoon. All four of the gelding’s successes over jumps have come on this track and trainer Kate Walton will be hoping to sign off with a win in the Bet Totexacta Happy New Year Handicap Chase (1.00pm).
Fellow Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby is moving into Walton’s Middleham yard as they combine their operations with Kirby holding the licence and Walton acting as assistant, so she will be hoping that Everaard can give her a final winner in her own name.
This is certainly the time of year when the six-year-old shows his best with all his wins coming in the early weeks of the year. In fact he notched up a hat-trick on this track twelve months ago, scoring over hurdles on this same card before following up over fences twelve days later and completing the treble in early February.
He showed definite signs of returning to that sort of form when leading for much of the way and then rallying in the closing stages to finish third over fences here three weeks ago.
Imperial Vic is another who has shown a marked liking for the seaside circuit, opening his account over hurdles here in November when he made much of the running and came home six lengths clear.
The seven-year-old employed similar tactics to defy a penalty at the last meeting here – both of those races over 3m 1f – and he again tackles that trip as he steps up into handicap company in the Make it More Exciting with Totepool Handicap Hurdle (2.45pm).
The gelding was a winner and placed several times in the Irish point-to-point field, so should not be inconvenienced if the underfoot conditions deteriorate.
Lucinda Russell has her horses in good form and the Fife trainer can saddle Blenheim Brook to take the Totepool.com Honest Toun Handicap Chase (2.10pm) under stable jockey Peter Buchanan. He has been on board for all five of the gelding’s wins since he joined the Russell yard after winning an Irish point-to-point with the last three victories coming over fences last season.
The gelding has finished runner-up in his last two races at Kelso and on this track when he was partnered by champion jockey Tony McCoy looked certain to score when taking command in the home straight. But he was caught close home and beaten a neck, so supporters will be hoping he can go one better this time.
Make a note of Rockawango if the gelding makes his UK debut for James Ewart in the opening Bet Toteplacepot First Footers Novices Hurdle (12.30pm) for the six-year-old has ten victories on the level in France to his credit.
He was snapped up in a private deal by the Langholm trainer after making a successful debut over hurdles at Auteil in September where he made all the running, jumped well and came home in impressive style.
Musselburgh selections: 12.30 Rockawango; 1.00 Everaard; 2.10 Blenheim Brook; 2.45 Imperial Vic.