Soph Could Surprise At Musselburgh

Bequia drifted like a barge before racing on Friday and, unfortunately, he ran accordingly. He raced close to the pace but when it lifted inside the final furlong he couldn’t go with the leaders. He did have a pretty rough race, and his jockey wasn’t overly hard on him once his chance had gone. Perhaps he will be better under more patient tactics and he isn’t one to write off yet.
Lil Sophella loves it at Musselburgh.
Today I like the look of one at a huge price at Musselburgh, and I think Lil Sophella could bounce back to form returned to quick ground at a track she likes. Patrick Holmes’ 8yo mare has been a grand servant to connections over the years, winning 6 of her 54 starts and placing on a further 20 occasions. She has been below par on both outings this season, but 7f on soft was never likely to suit the daughter of Indian Haven.
The handicapper has dropped her a couple of pounds in the weights for those two efforts and she gets to race off a mark of 76 today. That is 2lb below her last winning rating and if she is fully revved up for today’s race she is handicapped to run a big one. She was beaten just a length off 83 as recently as November at Newcastle, so if she can get anywhere near that level she has to go close.
She will be ridden by Neil Farley and he knows this mare inside out. He has ridden her on 8 occasions in the past and his form figures on her read 02731124. Another reason for optimism is Lil Sophella’s record over today’s course and distance. She has had six starts at Musselburgh and she has only finished out of the money once. She won here off 76 back in September 2015 and she was 3rd off 81 in this very race last season.
Her trainer Pat Holmes does well with limited ammunition and he has his string in tremendous shape right now, firing in 2 winners and a 2nd from his last 5 runners. I think Lil Sophella may have been trained with this race in mind, and those two runs on soft should have left her cherry ripe for today. She loves the track, she is well handicapped and trip and ground will suit. I think she looks a massive price at 33/1 and she could well sneak a place.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.35 MUSSELBURGH-LIL SOPHELLA E/W @ 33/1

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