Vosges, trained at Langholm by the in-form James Ewart, was well beaten on his chasing debut at Kelso but Brian Hughes’ mount was in contention when blundering at the last open ditch and will be suited by the return to a shorter trip.
Heavenly Chorus represents the father and son combination of Keith and James Reveley and, while the mare is familiar with the East Lothian venue, narrow preference is for Vosges.
A similar head-to-head duel is likely in the Weatherbys Printing Services Novices Handicap Chase. Ferdy Murphy’s Stand Clear, runner-up in her last two outings at Sedgefield, is taken on by the versatile Baaher, trained by Jim Goldie.
Promising conditional Tony Kelly takes 7lbs off the back of Stand Clear and that may be enough for the mare to withstand the expected late finishing kick of Baaher, who has placed in his past two runs at Kelso.
Allow Me makes plenty of appeal in the Maiden Hurdle (1.50). Lightly raced over the past two seasons, the Ewart-trained gelding was overhauled close to home by Gordonsville at Musselburgh’s last meeting. Connections have always felt that Allow Me would come into his own over two and a half miles, the distance of this afternoon’s race, and he is expected to outstay the hurdles newcomer La Bacouetteuse from the Hawick stable of former jumps jockey Iain Jardine.
Two lengths was the winning distance, but connections of Grands Crus felt David Pipe’s grey had made a far greater margin of progress in the GPG Novices’ Chase at Newbury yesterday.
At the end of the season, the records could prove that conceding 7lb to Sonofvic was no mean feat as Tom Scudamore pushed out Grands Crus ahead of Paul Nicholls’ dark horse. Grands Crus went off as the 2-7 favourite in this Grade Two heat over three miles, but was still unable to shake off Sonofvic until the run-in, with his opponent looking an exciting prospect on his first start over fences under Rules.