Hughes and Nells can get the better of favourite Bill Baxter
Back Nell's Son @ 11/5 in the 13:40 at Ayr
A triumph yesterday after plenty of near misses and a few 1-2s in the quest for the column, and Lucinda Russell is becoming an extremely reliable trainer with her young staying horses.
I also flagged up Conner McCann recently; in not only the Daily Racing News column while I stood in for Daryl Carter, but also these tipping pages as a talented conditional. He finished second on Gemologist yesterday, and gave the horse a fair bit to do. But he made no mistake with a front-running performance on Emirat De Catana and had to use a bit of strength too. His record now at Musselburgh is 3-4.
Scotland it is again today, and I am fast becoming as transfixed by Ayr and Musselburgh like Macbeth was before the floating dagger.
The 13:40 Novices' Hurdle looks a straight match between two promising horses. Bill Baxter looked pretty good winning at the track last time, but I was impressed with Nells Son at Kelso too with the way he travelled, and at 11/5 against Bill Baxter's 11/10, I'd rather have him.
He was still a little green having a good look at his hurdles last time, but he jumped well for a debutant and the way he responded to when the pace and tempo quickened before the straight was a joy to watch for a young horse, as they were really trapping when they went downhill.
The ground was officially good, but times suggested it could have been with a touch of soft. Either way, he won't be inconvenienced as he landed two of his bumpers in heavy ground at Ayr, so he has already shown a liking for the track.
The further step up in distance looks another positive as there is stamina in the family, and he's also related to Amberose and Rubytwo - who both ran in the Langdale Bloodstock colours.
Brian Hughes rides Nells Son, and is the top jockey at Ayr this term with seven winners from 24, while trainer Nicky Richards is 4-18 this season at the course - with a strike-rate of 22%.
Lucinda goes racing for the column again
Back Behindthelines @ 9/2 in the 14:45 at Ayr
I have a bit of a love affair going with Martin Todhunter's Asking For Answers, as I have backed him a few times in the hope that he will get his act together jumping as he has bags of stamina, but his fencing ability is holding me back today. He might sneak into each-way bet territory as I can see him drifting from his 11/1 price.
A real staying test seems to suit Behindthelines, and following a near two-year spell on the sidelines and wind surgery, he is shaping as if he is getting his spark back following two good runs this term.
He has handled two runs in the last two months, which was a good sign that he is over his problems and whatever was ailing him. Both were at Kelso, with a quiet hold-up effort finishing fourth in November, and then went a place better at the Borders track in a reasonable time against a winner down in grade.
He is best front-running and looked to have plenty of ability when landing a Newcastle hurdle race as a novice in 2018 and was earmarked as a future chaser by his trainer Russell, and is certainly well handicapped on his old form over hurdles.
Stamina is very much his forte and the testing conditions will suit him. Hopefully we can continue our good run with yard.