Gordon Brown – Race Reporter
Gordon has a wealth of experience of racing through his background in the written and broadcast media. His current principle role is reporting and supporting the scene in Scotland on Racing TV and relaying the latest news with Scottish angles.
Musselburgh rises to Easter occasion with ultra-competitive Betway Queen’s Cup
Musselburgh Racecourse’s feature race in tomorrow’s (Easter Saturday) opening meeting of the Flat season has attracted an ultra-competitive maximum 14-strong field.
Scottish owner Douglas Livingston will be hoping for two-in-a-row in the £100,000 Betway Queen’s Cup with last year’s winner of this 1m 6f contest Themaxwecan entered from Mark Johnston’s Middleham Moor yard.
Johnston, now sharing the licence with son Charlie, is also represented in the big race by State Of Bliss and Soapy Stevens, and is bidding for a hat-trick in the Class 2 feature having also landed the 2019 renewal with Austrian School.
One of the likely market principles is Ian Williams-trained Enemy, who has been running in Group company in Dubai during the winter, while Zero Ten is a first Musselburgh representative on the Flat for Emmet Mullins, who landed the Grand National last Saturday with Noble Yeats.
Sir Rumi was second on his seasonal comeback at Doncaster recently and his Wiltshire trainer Richard Hannon has a 50 per cent strike-rate with his previous six runners at Musselburgh. Three Scottish runners, all trained by Keith Dalgleish, include Diocletian and Heights of Abraham, with the best potentially being course and distance scorer Alright Sunshine.
The Betway Easter Saturday meeting also features six other quality races on a card which boasts almost £240,000 in prize money.
In the five furlong sprint, the £50,000 Betway Holyrood Handicap (2.39pm), shrewd trainer Mick Appleby has high hopes for Raasel who is bidding to extend a winning sequence of five races including four at Nottingham. Uplawmoor-based Jim Goldie is double-handed with Call Me Ginger and Be Proud, while Dakota Gold’s trainer Michael Dods has made a decent start to the new turf campaign.
In the £30,000 Betway Royal Mile Handicap opener (1.32pm) Mark and Charlie Johnston are triple-handed with Value Theory, Spirit Catcher and Qipao, but having cost 325,000gns as a yearling, Kevin Ryan-trained Baikal catches the eye on his second appearance in handicap company.
The seven furlong Betway Musselburgh Silver Arrow Handicap (2.04pm) has a 10-strong field and Borders handler Katie Scott will fancy her chances with Gweedore as the Galashiels raider is a three-time winner at Musselburgh.
Leading tennis coach Judy Murray, OBE, a strong supporter of Musselburgh Racecourse, will present The Betway Queen’s Cup to the winning connections, and said: “It’s been two years since my last visit to Musselburgh Racecourse and I can’t wait to go back.
“Whether you like a wee flutter or just looking for something different to do with friends or family over the Easter weekend, Musselburgh Racecourse is a superb place to be and the Betway Easter Saturday meeting is honestly one of the highlights of the year for me.”
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “The quality of entries across the seven races speaks for itself and with an excellent weather forecast, the stage is set for a fantastic opening to our Flat season. We hope the Betway Easter Saturday meeting sets the standard for another excellent summer season of competitive racing at Musselburgh and we can’t wait to get started.”
Gates open at 11.30am on Saturday and guests booking in advance before midnight on 15 April will receive a £5 discount on admission price.