Horse Racing: Fahey's double gazing

RICHARD FAHEY has got off to a flying start to the new turf season and looks set to land a double when Musselburgh open their new summer campaign tomorrow.

The Yorkshire trainer sends a strong team over the Border and Jack O'Lantern can open his winning account in the totequadpot Maiden Stakes (3.20pm).

The three-year-old cost 95,000 guineas as a youngster and was trained last year at Newmarket by John Gosden for whom he made a highly-promising debut when third at Doncaster last autumn.

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He is a half-brother to two winners and led for much of the way that day, so it was a surprise when he was sent to the sales just a couple of weeks later. But Fahey had no hesitation in snapping up the son of Shamardal for 34,000gn and he seems to have found an excellent opportunity for the gelding to get off the mark.

Haigh Hall is another new recruit to the Fahey team and can initiate the double for both trainer and his stable jockey Paul Hanagan in the toteswinger Handicap (2.50pm) over the minimum five furlongs.

The filly cost 70,000gn as a yearling and it looked money well spent when she made an impressive debut as a juvenile at Thirsk for Tim Easterby, who admitted afterwards that she was the best he had trained for some years and she was then entered for the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A wide draw may have contributed to her defeat when only fifth at Beverley subsequently and she did not make it to the Royal meeting. In fact, she has not raced since and joined Fahey during the winter.

A half-sister to three winners, including at Listed level, she is reported to have thrived since resuming training and the official assessor may have erred in allotting her a mark of only 80 on her handicap debut.

Gordonsville won the big race – the 20,000 totesuper7 Musselburgh Gold Cup (3.50pm) – 12 months ago and bids for a repeat off a 6lb higher mark.

But he has top weight to carry this time and I prefer the chances of Bogside Theatre, who comes fit from a successful hurdling campaign.

George Moore's mare won easily over timber at Catterick last month and, although that was her first success for almost three years, she has some useful form and this tight track will suit her bold, front-running style.

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She was third in the Northumberland Plate two years ago and was beaten just a head in the Shergar Stayers Cup at Ascot a few weeks afterwards. Some disappointing efforts last term saw her ratings plunge, but she had problems with breaking blood vessels.

However, Moore seemed to have cured that on the evidence of some very good efforts over hurdles this winter and she races here off a mark 20lb lower than when she was at her peak. Hunters Belt made a successful debut in a bumper on this track early last year and was then fourth in a similar event here. He was having his first run for 11 months when switching to the flat and finishing unplaced at Wolverhampton in February.

But he showed that he can score on the level when going down by only a short head at Southwell a fortnight later and gets the vote in the Bet totepool Maiden Stakes (4.50pm)

Joe Rowntree's Musselburgh selections: 2.50 Haigh Hall; 3.20 Jack O'Lantern; 3.50 Bogside Theatre; 4.50 Hunters Belt.