First Fandango follows the long road to victory

Smart Ruler, left, and Brian Hughes were in winning form at Musselburgh. Picture: PA
Smart Ruler, left, and Brian Hughes were in winning form at Musselburgh. Picture: PA
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Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan made the long trip to Scotland pay when First Fandango took the feature Bert Logan Your Go To Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh yesterday.

The top-weight had struck over fences nearer home at Ludlow on his previous start, but the seven-year-old was not fazed by the change in discipline or the more arduous journey. Michael Byrne brought the 5-1 shot with his challenge on the stands rail to withstand the bid of Capellanus by half a length, with the latter having to settle for the runner-up spot in this race for the second year running.

Vaughan said: “Ground like that is probably the key to him, he was reasonably treated and things have come right form him. We’d love to think he could go for the Pertemps (Hurdle Final) at Cheltenham in the spring. He’s run well there and at Aintree. If he keeps in this form we’d probably look at something like that.”

Smart Ruler, sent off at 14-1, set the record straight as he took the £20,000 Neville Porter-Musselburgh’s No 1 Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Brian Hughes.


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Winning trainer Jimmy Moffatt said: “He was running away in this race last year when he unseated his jockey three out. It’s a nice pot to win so we’ve not thought about where to go next. We’ve started steaming our hay and that has resulted in a lot of the horses running a lot better as there seemed to be some sort of problem.”

Few horses are in better form than Dianne Sayer’s Bailey’s Concerto and he won his seventh race from his last eight starts in the Maxrecycle Rely And Comply Handicap Chase to complete a 29-1 double for Hughes. Sayer said: “He’s an absolute star and we love him to bits. He could go to Aintree or Doncaster next and I can’t believe what he’s achieved since he joined us.”

Donald McCain’s Master Dee (2-5 favourite) was always in control and just had to be ridden out by Jason Maguire on the run-in to hold the staying-on Tommy O’Dwyer by two lengths in the Follow Freddie Williams Bookmakers On Facebook Maiden Hurdle. McCain and Maguire also struck with Gingili (7-2) in the William Hill Rails Bookmaker At Musselburgh Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

McCain is expecting Swift Arrow to go close at Kelso this afternoon when he bids to land the Mayfield Restaurant Handicap Chase for the second year running. The locally-owned gelding, who won by three-quarters of a length 12 months ago, takes on seven rivals in the £15,000 2m 1f contest.

McCain said: “He is what he is but he seems to like Kelso. He can be in and out and he’s 6lb higher rated than last year. He finished strongly up the straight and hopefully it will be more of the same.”

Barry Geraghty’s mount The Young Master is the nap this afternoon in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton, while Hint Of Mint’s progressive streak should not be stifled by a tough-looking assignment in the Elite Hurdle.

Mount Logan can add a dash of quality to the final day of the Flat season at Doncaster by winning the Betfred November Handicap. Punters face an almighty conundrum when attempting to solve this 23-runner affair, but Luca Cumani’s colt could be the proverbial Group horse masquerading as a handicapper. The son of New Approach appears to have been preserved especially for this race after he fairly dotted up over course and distance in September.

Mount Logan was the only three-year-old in the line-up, but he made short work of sharp rivals like Forgotten Hero and Bold Sniper, eventually winning by two and a quarter lengths. Cumani’s representative is 7lb higher for this assignment, but he still has the right profile for a race in which his age bracket has a fairly good record and has assistance from man-of-the-moment Andrea Atzeni in the saddle.

Melrose Abbey can claim a nice bit of black type by winning the Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies’ Stakes.

Rhamnus may be allowed to go off at a meaty price for the More People Enjoying Straightforward Investing Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.


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