By Dave Nevison
It is disappointing that the fields for Musselburgh’s trials meeting have not stood up a little better but it is a great two days nonetheless and I looking forward to being there for both days.
It is always a great weekend, although obviously the real Cheltenham updates are set to come from Leopardstown.
I must also add to the tributes to Malcolm Jefferson, who has been an absolute stalwart of the northern circuit for a long time and produced horses that were instantly recognisable when they came into the paddock.
He trained several really good horses and definitely knew which of his were good from the start and campaigned them for their long-term benefit.
Jefferson will be missed by all the Northern circuit and punters will miss him too as he had a terrific strike-rate to the end and did me more than a few favours over the years.
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He had his confidence boosted when winning last time out at Market Rasen - and not against mugs by any means.
Barney Dwan jumps really well in his races until he makes a ridiculous mistake but if the last run has focussed him and boosted his confidence he will win this easily. He ideally wants further but still rates the NAP.
This race will also bear no resemblance to the County Hurdle it is named after and the home crowd will be hoping Jim Goldie’s Sir Chauvelin will be able to see off the Paul Nicholls raider Amour De Nuit.
He may be up to it but this will definitely be tougher for him off an 8lb higher mark.
Bryony Frost has been first and third on two rides on Amour De Nuit and it will probably be easier to get him to settle on this sharper track. The 5lb claim for Frost is ridiculously advantageous.
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I was all set to tip Missed Approach to make up for a slight disappointment at Warwick last time.
The marathon distance might help him but in that latest race he was beaten by Milansbar - a horse with a string of Ps by his name ridden by Bryony Frost.
If Frost can get Milansbar into a winning rhythm I believe she will be able to do the same for Southfield Theatre, who has shown nothing much when ridden by an array of Nicholls stable jockeys of the highest calibre. Frost certainly has a chance as the 10-year-old is now off a mark of 139.
He would have won the Badger Ales at Wincanton last season off 147 but for a late tumble and was elevated to 154.
Frost is on for the first time with her 5lb allowance and if Southfield Theatre doesn’t go for her relaxed style I suggest he never will.
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