Listed Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juveniles) Big Race Preview

Nicky Henderson at Stables

The 2016 Listed Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle was easily won by Paul Nicholls’ Tommy Silver, but Saturday’s renewal should be far more-fiercely contested. Connections of 3 horses will have particularly high hope of winning this Musselburgh encounter.

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Project Bluebook

The Sinndar-sired gelding has immediately taken to hurdling and owner, JP McManus will be pleased with his progress. He suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Nietzsche, on debut at Catterick, but has raced twice since and won both contests. Both victories came here at Musselburgh and he reversed the form with Nietzsche, by some margin, on the first of those. Project Bluebrook looks very progressive and should go-off, as favourite.

Fidux

Alan King’s 4-year-old is another French horse that debuted at Catterick, though this one was victorious (he beat Walsingham Grange by half a length, despite lacking fluency). He was then sent to Kempton and ran a little keenly. Fidux proved a tough ride for Tom Cannon, hitting 3 fences, but he still found enough aces up his sleeve to finish 4.5 lengths ahead of Poker Play. Very-much an unpolished diamond, but already looks capable of putting a glint in Alan King’s eye on Saturday.

Soldier In Action

This chestnut gelding was certainly a busy bee, last year, running in no less than 10 races. He put in his best performance at Ripon, during the Summer, where he won a Class 2 handicap, although his form was patchy overall. Nicky Henderson has thrown his inmate straight into Listed company though and such a strong statement will always put punters on alert. Soldier In Action receives 8lb from every horse (apart from Warp Factor) and it will be fascinating to see how he responds to being sent into such a big battle.

Forth Bridge wears the Queen’s colours and cannot be ruled out, having won a Class 2 race here in December (Warp Factor was just a neck behind in 2nd and on level terms, suggesting the form may not be especially strong), but Nachi Falls looks well-held based on his most recent endeavours.

Racing At Musselburgh

This used to be called Edinburgh Racecourse, right up until the 1990s, before being  given its present name. The location of the track is Millhill, very near the winding river Esk.

To begin with, races in this area were held on the sands in an area known as Leith. They moved here in the early-1800s and this is a venue that offers both flat and National Hunt events. However, the jumps races have only been taking place since the 1980s.

The track is two kilometres in length and there is a golf course (just nine holes), in the centre of the racecourse. The golf course is very old and has been here since the 17th-Century.

The Bridge Over The Esk

The track can be accessed by road, but only on days when the racing is taking place. Otherwise, the bridge that crosses the River Esk is kept closed.

As with many other racecourses in Great Britain, the racing can be traced back to contests held between local gentlemen being eager to test themselves in head-to-head battles against one another. The lower-classes were drawn to watch the spectacle. Over time, the crowds got bigger and bigger and it soon became clear that there was a market for the sport of horse racing in the area.

Back then, the spectators were not asked to pay for the privilege of watching the action. The racing was not meant to be a money-making venture and the noblemen would have thought it beneath them to ask common-folk to cough-up.

Modern-Day Musselburgh

While the aristocracy slowly began to fade away, horse racing remained popular and evolved into the commercial operation that we see today. Before the introduction of betting shops, racecourses were the only place that punters could legally place a bet. When high street bookmakers did start to appear, racing went into decline as fewer people were attending the races.

Many racecourses closed, innovations in the 1980s rescued the racing industry. New technology enabled the races to be shown live in the betting shops. The racecourses received revenue from this and the high street bookmakers also saw more people coming through the doors.

Despite this, Musselburgh was still struggling financially in the 1990s. Only an intervention by the local council helped it to stay operational. The council were tasked with making Musselburgh profitable again. Amazingly, they managed to do this within the first twelve months and Musselburgh is now a thriving business.

While it will never enjoy the same profile as a course like Ayr, Musselburgh is now a well-established racing venue which always offers a great day out. Pay this unique racecourse a visit, if you ever get the chance.

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Listed Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juveniles) Big Race Preview
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