Clerk of the course Harriet Graham reports that temperatures have stayed above freezing with more than 5mm of rain early yesterday and that the mercury is set to climb to around 7C today and tomorrow.
“All of the frost seemed out of the ground on Thursday lunchtime and we were virtually raceable,” she told me, “so with such a favourable forecast we are not planning to inspect.
“In fact, with more light rain forecast, the going may be well on the soft side for our big jumps day,” she added.
The meeting, which features the Cheltenham Festival trials and has almost £90,000 in prize money, was cancelled last Sunday, but with the bad weather wiping out most of the turf jump racing up and down the country, Musselburgh and the racing authorities got together to reschedule the fixture.
Ingleby Spirit has won his last two races over hurdles on this track and can complete a hat-trick of victories in the John Smith’s Scottish County Hurdle (2.20).
Twice a winner on the level, he was fourth on his hurdling bow at Carlisle and then runner-up at Ludlow before opening his account over timber with a six-length victory here just before Christmas.
He strolled home by a much wider margin back over this course and distance at the end of January and can make a successful first step up into handicap company.
White Fusion was a shock 66-1 winner at the last meeting here, but can prove it was no fluke with another good run in the John Smith’s Scottish Triumph Hurdle (1.45).
The four-year-old is closely related to four good winners on the flat and made 68,000 guineas as a yearling. He showed promise on the level for Howard Johnson before joining the small stable of Andy Crook.
The chestnut was pulled up after running too keenly on his hurdling bow at Wetherby, but then finished a close second on the all-weather at Southwell – that form is rock solid – before his success here. The bookies won’t underrate him again!
Brian Ellison has his team in good form and can initiate a double with Ultimate in the John Smith’s Scottish Champion Chase (2.50).
This useful performer on the flat and over hurdles – he was third at this fixture last year – made a successful debut over fences at Huntingdon in October and was then far from disgraced in good races at Sandown and Cheltenham. The gelding was a close second at Bangor on his latest outing and can go one better here.
Ellison can take the concluding John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle (4.35) with Simonside, who will appreciate this two-and-a-half miles. The gelding has five victories on the flat and a bumper success on his CV as well as two wins over hurdles, the most recent at Wetherby during the Christmas holidays.
Joe Rowntree’s Musselburgh selections: 1.45 White Fusion; 2.20 Ingleby Spirit; 2.50 Ultimate; 4.35 Simonside.