Horse Racing: Fox is ladies choice at Musselburgh

THE NIFTY FOX has been running well all summer and can prove the star on Ladies Day at Musselburgh tomorrow.

The decision to switch this popular meeting to a new date during Royal Ascot week seems to have paid off with racecourse boss Bill Farnsworth and his team expecting a full house.

The crowd will be letting their hair down and Tim Easterby's sprinter can pay for some of the drinks.

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The six-year-old has won at least once in each of the previous four seasons – he actually scored three times last year – and has some good form on the East Lothian track.

He won over the minimum five-furlong trip last August and, earlier this month, finished a close sixth in the biggest sprint of the year here – the Scottish Sprint Cup – behind his much-improved stable companion Hamish McGonagall.

That was the first time he has finished out of the frame in six visits to the seaside track and he had previously gone close at Ayr where his late surge failed only by a head. The gelding faces a much easier task in the HBJ Claim Solutions Handicap (4.10pm) and is a confident choice.

Annibale Caro went into my notebook as a future winner when finishing third on his reappearance on the level here a fortnight ago. That form has been boosted by the pair who finished ahead of him and he can take the Specsavers Handicap (4.45pm). The gelding has five wins on the flat on his CV, including one over this course and distance a couple of years ago. He has been concentrating on the jumping game since joining Jim Goldie's Glasgow yard and notched two victories over timber last year.

The eight-year-old ran well when second over hurdles at Kelso in May after a break of more than seven months as Goldie tends to feel he is best on good ground and so avoids the winter mud with him. That policy can pay off here.

Richard Fahey has his horses in great form and his juveniles have been well to the fore – he saddled a Royal Ascot winner this week – so Polar Kite is worth close scrutiny in the Links Nurseries Maiden Stakes (2.20pm).

The youngster is closely related to three winners and showed bags of promise when third on his debut at Haydock despite a slow start after becoming upset in the stalls.

Madam Markievicz has been runner-up in her last two races and can go one better in the Egden Murray Europe Ltd selling Stakes (2.55pm). The youngster was sixth on her racecourse debut before finishing third at Thirsk. She would have won when dropped to this class on that same track three weeks later but for hanging left in the closing stages and she was again second at Beverley recently. Her turn can come this time.

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Joe Rowntree's Musselburgh selections: 2.20: Polar Kite; 2.55: Madam Markievicz; 4.10: The Nifty Fox; 4.45: Annibale Caro