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Sam James: Sophia’s Starlight Can Shine At Musselburgh

After going to Epsom on Friday, I make the long trip back up north to Musselburgh, where I have five rides on Saturday afternoon for a few different trainers.
Sam James

In the feature race, the Listed Queen Of Scots Fillies’ Stakes, I ride Sophia’s Starlight for Grant Tuer, who hopefully can go one better at Musselburgh.

What is it like to ride Musselburgh?

Musselburgh is very much a speed track when it comes to the Flat. There is a long home straight once you come around the tight right-handed bend, and it’s a track that suits horses that are on the pace. Having a low draw over the 7f and 1m trips can be key, as it can help you get a good position early in the race.

The 5f course is very quick, and it can often be an advantage to come towards the near side rail.

My Rides At Musselburgh

2.15 – Woodstock (Ruth Carr)

I’ve not ridden too much for Ruth Carr during my career, so I don’t know too much about him. However, by looking at his form he’s done quite well since joining her yard. His last run saw him finish a close third at Thirsk, which was a good effort. This is a competitive race, but if he can replicate his recent run, I can see him being in contention.

2.50 – Invincible Annice (Karl Burke)

She showed promise on her racecourse debut when she finished second at Pontefract, but then probably found things a bit tough when running down the field in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York next time out. We’re now dropping back in grade for this seller, which will help. Hopefully she’ll put her experience to good use and get her head in front on Saturday.

3.25 – Sophia’s Starlight (Grant Tuer)

It was a good run by her at Haydock when she finished second in a Listed event last month. That race was over 6f, and she’s now stepping up in trip to 7f. She’s won over that trip before, so I don’t see that being a problem. There are a few fillies in here you can make a case for, but I think my filly has a good chance of going one step better.

4.00 – Classy Boy (Karl Burke)

He started off the season well, winning at Beverley in April and then backing it up with a solid run at Nottingham. If there is a bit of ease in the ground, he won’t mind that, as he’s won on soft before. We’re drawn in Stall 3, which isn’t a bad draw at Musselburgh on the 7f course, so we’re a good place to get him into a nice position. 

5.20 – National Question (Adam Nicol)

I am not sure what to expect from him, as I’ve not ridden him before. He’s been campaigned over jumps recently by Adam, so it’s interesting to see him reverting back to the Flat. His best run on the level came in Ireland, when he finished seventh at Roscommon in Ireland, and he wore blinkers on the occasion. Adam is going back to that headgear here, so hopefully it will help him be competitive.

My Thoughts On The Epsom Derby

City Of Troy has been the talking horse coming into this year’s race. He was disappointing in the 2,000 Guineas, but the vibes from the yard is that his work has been exceptional. Aidan O’Brien managed to turn around Auguste Rodin to win the Epsom Derby last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again. He’s the one I would pick to ride.

I will also just give a mention to Ambiente Friendly. He was a good winner in the Lingfield Derby Trial for James Fanshawe, and I was very impressed by him. I think he could run a big race for the Gredley family.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and you’ll be hearing from me again very soon.

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After going to Epsom on Friday, I make the long trip back up north to Musselburgh, where I have five rides on Saturday afternoon for a few different trainers.
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