The Scottish Sprint Cup run over 5f at Musselburgh is worth £100,000 in guaranteed prizemoney and invariably attracts some of the leading sprint handicappers (3.25pm Saturday).
Red Baron (5/1), who has already won three times this season, justifiably heads the market. Most recently, Eric Alston’s six-year-old failed by half a length to overhaul Monsieur Joe in a valuable sprint handicap at York, but the winner did that form no harm when runner-up, off a 5lb higher mark, in the Epsom ‘Dash’ last Saturday. Although drawn a little higher than ideal in stall 11, Red Baron can race off the same handicap mark as at York and looks a force to be reckoned with once again.
Barnet Fair (8/1) ran an eye-catching race in the Dash, staying on in the final hundred yards to finish fifth beaten five lengths behind Desert Law despite being denied a clear run in the closing stages. The handicapper has dropped him 2lb for that performance, so he is just 3lb higher than when winning a similar contest over 6f at Goodwood last August. He, too, would have benefited from a single-figure draw but, as a course and distance winner who hass twice run creditably in defeat in this race, he looks a must for any shortlist.
Last year’s winner Demora (10/1) is not quite so well drawn in stall seven than when making all from stall 3 last year, but is 2lb lower in the weights and has the benefit of two previous races. It would be fair to say that Michael Appleby’s six-year-old mare hasn’t exactly set the world alight this season, but she is not badly handicapped on her best form and not badly positioned to execute her usual front-running tactics. Last year’s win came on soft going, but she’s won on good, good to firm and even firm, so faster underfoot conditions should be no hindrance.
Kingsgate Choice (25/1) won this race off a handicap mark of 104 in 2013 for shrewd trainer Ed De Giles (pictured), so merits consideration off a mark of 103, despite failing to trouble the judge in three starts last season and at York on his reappearance two weeks ago. A strict interpretation of that form leaves him with something to find with Red Baron, but he’s entitled to improve for the run and has the plum draw in stall 1 to make his presence felt. Capable apprentice Megan Carberry takes off 5lb, which does his chance no harm at all.
Of the others drawn low, Boom The Groom (9/1) can race off the same handicap mark as when third, beaten 1¼ lengths, in the Epsom Dash last week and must have a chance, despite having won only once on turf, over 6f at Fairyhouse as a juvenile. He is only 3lb higher in the weights than when winning at Lingfield in February and is another to consider in a tricky contest.
- On balance, Kingsgate Choice was quite highly tried after winning this race in 2013, even contesting the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp, and has plenty going for him. Our betting tips advice is therefore to bet on KINGSGATE CHOICE each-way at current best odds of 25/1 with Betfred or Stan James.