Superb Story stars at Musselburgh
Musselburgh's traditional totepool New Year's Day meeting, with more than £130,000 in prize money, has attracted top quality entries from across the UK.
Superb Story seen winning the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle
Rapidly emerging trainer Dan Skelton is represented at the East Lothian course along with Venetia Williams and Charlie Longsdon, for a card which shares top billing with Cheltenham as ITV returns to live racing coverage.
In the £30,000 totepool.com Auld Reekie Handicap Classic (1.40), Hereford-based Williams send out Cold March with Liam Treadwell in the saddle.
Longsdon's Germany Calling is top weight and with two wins from its last three outings will put up a challenge to Royal Macnab, trained by Rebecca Menzies, a three-time course winner as well as runner-up in this race last year.
In the feature race, the £40,000 totepool Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle (2.50),Scottish trainer James Ewart is looking to do the double with last year's winner Aristo Du Plessis, while the Skeltons – trainer Dan and jockey brother Harry – have top weight and Cheltenham Festival winner Superb Story set to make his return.
Carluke-based Keith Dalgleish fields Mirsaale, a winner twice at Perth this year, while Jim Goldie has course favourite Jonny Delta hoping for a repeat of its last Musselburgh win on December 14.
Irish trainer James Nash makes his first appearance at Musselburgh, sending over My Manekineko from his Curragh yard, to add further intrigue to the main event.
With advance ticket sales markedly up on last year, Musselburgh are hoping for a near 6000 capacity crowd and racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth said: "We have some great entries from many of the leading trainers and our New Year's Day fixture is growing in popularity each year.
"With the dual attraction of first-class jumps racing and the historic Racing UK New Year Sprint athletics race, sports fans will struggle to find a better way of bringing in the New Year."
ITV racing expert Oli Bell will present live coverage from Musselburgh as it shares a platform with Cheltenham.
He said: "As Musselburgh begins its 201st year of racing it goes without saying that this is a track with real heritage and history, and I and the rest of the ITV team are delighted to be covering it.
"There is so much to look forward to, we can't wait to be there, and I know that myself and all the ITV team think it is the perfect way to start what is hopefully a really good tenure of covering this fantastic sport."
Gates open at 11am and the first race is off at 12.30pm. Online discounts are available but must be booked in advance at www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk.
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