Lucinda Russell eyes back-to-back success at Musselburgh Racecourse Scottish Festival Trials

The bet365 Scottish Festival Trials promises to deliver quality jumps racing over Musselburgh Racecourse’s premier National Hunt meetings this weekend.

Lucinda Russell brings Scottish National winner Mighty Thunder to Musselburgh on Saturday
Lucinda Russell brings Scottish National winner Mighty Thunder to Musselburgh on Saturday

On Saturday, Lucinda Russell is targeting the most valuable race of the day, the £50,000 bet365 Edinburgh National Handicap Chase (3.45pm) with last year’s Scottish Grand National winner Mighty Thunder. The Milnathort-based trainer is hoping to win this race for the second year in a row, with the horse this time from a 19lb higher mark.

Scottish owner Thomas Barr will have other ideas, hoping Highland Hunter – second in the Welsh National in December – can produce the goods, while there is additional local interest with Berwickshire’s Sandy Thomson’s Get Out The Gate and Carrutherstown-based Iain Jardine’s Dino Boy, which won the 2020 Borders National.

The form pick of the day is John McConnell’s Irish raider Bardenstown Lad, a winner at Cheltenham in October and who has only lost one of his four starts over hurdles.

Russell is also eyeing the bet365 Scottish Stayers’ Novices’ Hurdle (1.29pm) with the Gerry McGladery-owned Diamond State which won twice last year at Musselburgh.

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On Sunday, in the £25,000 bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle (1.32pm), champion jockey Harry Skelton has been booked by brother Dan for the ride on Doctor Parnassus who impressed on hurdles debut at Ascot a fortnight ago.

Nicky Henderson, winning trainer with subsequent Grade 1 victor We Have A Dream in 2018, is represented by Impulsive One who was a close third in Grade 2 company in December.

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