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Musselburgh – Preview 3rd February 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.

Last year’s comfortable winner Magna Sam is among the twelve declarations for Saturday’s bet365 Edinburgh National, the first £100,000 race staged over jumps at Musselburgh.

Trained in Shropshire by Alistair Ralph, the ten-year-old has won on three of his four visits to the track including on debut for his current trainer when springing a 22-1 upset twelve months ago.

“He’s been training well for the race and we’ve been pinpointing this return pretty much since last year,” Ralph said. “He clearly loves the track and he also enjoys the better ground. He’s in good form and the prize money is even more attractive this time.”

Liam Harrison and Fergal O’Brien, the winning combination in 2022 with Captain Cattistock, are represented by Landen Calling, who won the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day.

Fourteen-time champion trainer Paul Nichols, who boasts a 33 per-cent strike-rate with his Somerset raiders, sends up  Enrilo, who was fancied prior to his early exit in the prestigious bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last April.

Irish handler Gavin Cromwell saddles Peaches And Cream under rising star Ben Harvey while Lucinda Russell is responsible for another of the market principals, Inis Orr, who was fifth in the Lincolnshire equivalent.

The opening bet365 Frodon Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase carries the name of the horse ridden to so many memorable triumphs by Bryony Frost (course figures 6-16), who partners likely favourite Monmiral for Paul Nicholls.

Frodon actually won this contest under Sam Twiston-Davies in 2017 and is now spending his retirement with Bryony, who recorded a treble on this card in 2020 after enjoying her first strike under Rules on the same day five years earlier.

Nicholls also runs Afadil, successful in last year’s Scottish Triumph Hurdle, in the bet365 Scottish County Hurdle.

Shouldering top-weight is Sandy Thomson’s Benson, a recent all-the-way winner of the Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle on New Year’s Day over 2m 4f.

Collingham and Parisencore, first and second twelve months ago, are also declared in a typically-competitive line-up.