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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Scottish Sprint Cup Outsiders

The Scottish Sprint Cup, run over the sharp, flat five-furlong course at Musselburgh, has to be the race for us this weekend. The race, worth £100,000 in guaranteed prize money, is the highlight of the season at Musselburgh and invariably well contested. Furthermore, little or no draw bias exists on the five-furlong course and the gentle rise from over a furlong out to the winning post gives horses coming from behind an opportunity to make ground on those racing on, or close to, the pace.

The first one that takes the eye this week is Royal Birth (16/1), who finished a never-nearer sixth of 15, beaten 2¾ lengths, behind Harry Hurricane at York three weeks ago. Stuart Williams’ 5-year-old missed the start on that occasion, but kept on well inside the final furlong and, off a 2lb lower mark, can make his presence felt. It’s interesting that his only previous win on turf came over 5 furlongs at Bath, where the straight is on the rise all the way to the winning post, and he’s only 2lb higher in the weights than when winning in this grade at Lingfield in March.

Of the other apparent ‘rags’, it’s worth remembering that, although well into his dotage, Tangerine Trees (25/1) won the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in his heyday. Of course, he’s nowhere near as good these days, but he won a small 0-95 contest on his debut for Michael Appleby at Nottingham three weeks ago and may have been rejuvenated by his change of surroundings. His form in recent seasons suggests that the combination of a 6lb penalty and a step up in class will be enough to prevent him following up, but he doesn’t have that much improvement to find to figure and is one to keep on the right side.

Selections: Musselburgh Sat 11th 3.45 Royal Birth (16/1), Tangerine Trees (25/1)

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