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Musselburgh – Preview 1st January 2024

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.

STUART COLTHERD is looking for an improved showing from Cooper’s Cross in the £40,000 feature race at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day.

The Selkirk raider, pulled up in a valuable contest at Haydock nine-days ago, faces eight rivals in the Auld Reekie Handicap Chase over 2m 4f.

“It was deep, very testing ground last time and he was never happy on it,” Coltherd said of last season’s Scottish National runner-up, who was also second in this event twelve months ago. “He’s come out of the race fine and, fingers crossed, he will bounce back to form at Musselburgh – if so he could go for another crack at the Great Yorkshire Chase, which he won last year.”

The opposition to Cooper’s Cross, ridden by Coltherd’s son Sam, includes Dan Skelton’s likely favourite Frere D’Armes, who was a close second in a hot race at Ascot in late November.

There is also a competitive-looking Handicap Hurdle on the card with Skelton’s bottom-weight In This World another potential market leader.

Sandy Thomson’s Benson was a course and distance winner at this meeting last year while Acadia, saddled by 14-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls, landed the Scottish Triumph Hurdle at the East Lothian venue last February.