Derby followers can watch the action on the big screens at the East Lothian track during what is easily Musselburgh’s richest race day with prize money just a whisker off £200,000.
General manager Bill Farnsworth has set his stall out by aiming to build up the feature race from its current £80,000 prize pot in to a £100,000 fixture and he hasn’t been disappointed at the quality of entries for the Edinburgh Cup’s first outing.
With a maximum field of 15 in the Class 2 Heritage Handicap, the top Newmarket stables are represented by John Gosden and William Haggas while Barry Hills and Mick Channon will be hoping for a share of the spoils.
Middleham’s Mark Johnston is making a determined effort to keep the Edinburgh Cup in the north with the Kingsley House trainer running three of his original entry, headed by Corsica. Joe Fanning rides the top weight who completed his hat-trick with an all the way success in the listed Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton last month.
William Haggas relies on the progressive Harris Tweed, a promising runner-up to the Mark Johnston trained Green Lightning at Newmarket. But the choice is the lightly weighted Zuider Zee, a rare Musselburgh raider from the powerful John Gosden stable and the mount of Nicky Mackay. Last time out Zuider Zee was a cosy winner from Bowdler’s Magic at Chester and this improving three year will be suited to Musselburgh’s tight bends and quickish ground.
A quality field for the £50,000 totescoop6 Scottish Sprint Cup sees the recent York winner Hamish McGonagall attempt to concede weight to the inform pair of Striking Spirit and Sea Of Leaves. The Dandy Nicholls trained Striking Spirit is the best drawn of the trio and his sound fourth to Rileyskeepingfaith at Newbury suggests that he will be hard to beat over this sharp five furlongs.
Channel 4 cover the first four races and the probable Royal Ascot contender Excel Bolt should be the star of the 2.35, the totepool Edinburgh Castle Conditions Stakes. An impressive winner over the course on his racecourse debut, the Bryan Smart trained juvenile has the Norfolk Stakes as his target at the Royal Meeting and as his name would suggest the son of Exceed And Excel is blessed with more than his fair share of explosive speed.
Gates open at Musselburgh at 11.30am and first race is at 2.05pm. For more information visit www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk