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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Scottish Sprint Cup Preview

One outright favourite and one joint favourite has won the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh since 2004, but other winners in that period went off at 50/1, 28/1, 25/1, 20/1 and 16/1, so it’s a race that’s right up our street. This year’s renewal, due off at 3.35 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, has attracted 17 runners and, with all bar one of them priced up at 10/1 or longer odds ante post, we should be able to find a few that represent value.

It’s interesting to note that, despite the apparent absence of any draw bias over 5 furlongs at Musselburgh, especially on soft ground, seven of the last 10 winners were drawn in stall 10 or higher. This fact hasn’t escaped the notice of the bookmakers and, predictably, the seven longest-priced horses in the ante post market are drawn in single-figure stalls.

Dinkum Diamond (20/1) has never won a handicap, although he was beaten just two necks in the Investec Specialist Bank “Dash” at Epsom, off a 10lb lower mark, last June. Despite a couple wins at Listed level, the Aussie Rules gelding has repeatedly failed to make the transition to Pattern company, but has his sights lowered again, so could go well at rewarding odds even under 9st 10lb. Musselburgh is arguably on the sharp side for him, but there’s unlikely to be any hanging about here and the faster they go the better for him.

Former Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp winner Tangerine Trees (16/1) is on a losing run of 10 and only 6lb better off for the 4 lengths he finished behind the ante post favourite Caspian Prince in this year’s Investec Specialist “Dash” at Epsom, so doesn’t exactly leap off the page as a readymade winner-in-waiting. However, he’s run well on both visits to Musselburgh, including a win in the Totepool Borderlescott Sprint Trophy over course and distance last March, so an improved performance would be no great surprise. He’s nicely drawn in stall 16, has winning form over 5 furlongs on good to soft and soft going and looks fairly weighted, off a handicap mark of 99, if anywhere near his best.

Former Stewards’ Cup winner Hawkeyethenoo (16/1) is another who hasn’t won for ages, but the last time he raced over 5 furlongs on soft going, at Doncaster last October, he was beaten just half a length off his current mark of 105. We’re reliably informed, by our friends at the BBC, that heavy rain is forecast for East Lothian on Thursday and Friday, so he could have ideal conditions by Saturday afternoon. Believe it or not, his course and distance win came as a three-year-old off a handicap mark of 54, so isn’t really significant, but he’s another who’s well-drawn in stall 15 and can prove a popular winner for East Renfrewshire trainer Jim Goldie.

With one eye on the sky, all our selections have winning form on soft going and they are, in order of preference:

Dinkum Diamond (20/1 with Betvictor)
Hawkeyethenoo (16/1 with Totesport, Betfred and Betvictor)
Tangerine Trees (16/1 generally)

Good luck!

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