Money Back: 2.05 Musselburgh
Sky Bet are offering 'Money Back' if your selection finishes second or third in the 2.05 Musselburgh – check out our verdicts.
Sky Bet's Money Back offer is back on Saturday
Dave Ord – Istimeforapint
A fiercely competitive affair as the betting suggests but Lucinda Russell's charge is a tentative selection. He's a thorough stayer who gets every yard of this marathon trip and arrives here in fine form having finished a good third at Catterick last time. He's proven around the track too which is another bonus and he's taken ahead of Dancing Shadow and Just On A Par, who head a long list of dangers.
Ben Linfoot – Alvarado
Alvarado used to love his trips to Musselburgh in the days he was trained by Howard Johnson and could have a happy return on his first start at the track for Fergal O'Brien on Saturday. The veteran showed good form on his seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham in November and he only got as far as the second in the Becher on his only other start this campaign. He comes in here a pretty fresh horse, then, and given his affinity for marathon trips this test looks right up his street. Alvarado is going to have to run out an impressive winner if he's to get in the Grand National this year, but he's got plenty in his favour on Saturday and it's not beyond the realms of possibility. Interestingly, Paddy Brennan travels to Scotland to ride this horse instead of going to Sandown.
Will Hayler – Just A Par
Every self-respecting racecourse needs its own National these days, especially one as progressive and ambitious as Musselburgh, and this contest is a fine addition to an excellent meeting. Good ground is the key to the prospects of many of these horses and appreciable rain would change the picture, but if conditions remain fairly dry then Just A Par would have a really good chance of defying top weight. He isn't the most reliable, but seems at his best going right-handed and there's no doubt that this is a weaker contest than the sort he usually lines up in. This is traditionally not the best time of year to be following Paul Nicholls' horses and he's actually gone a rare week without a winner, but I'm not going to let that put me off the chances off a horse who is a proven weight-carrier getting his ideal conditions.
Man On The Spot – Five In A Row
Just A Par represents the champion trainer but has a big burden to carry and tends to reserve his best for the spring months. The bottom four have life made harder by being out of the handicap while Aintree regular Alvarado, despite having decent form claims, may just find things happening a little too quickly around this sharp circuit. Therefore, a hopeful choice is Five In A Row as though he was very disappointing at Sandown last time that was a performance out of character by this normally reliable sort. He stayed 3m5f well enough at Sedgefield previously, a run which should give him every chance of seeing out the additional trip around here. Gonalston Cloud and Azure Fly have claims as well but the potential dark horse is Dancing Shadow, impressive at Doncaster last time. He's never tackled anything like this trip but is a useful chaser on a good mark and will be a danger to all if his stamina holds out.
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