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Musselburgh preview: Shipyard can sail to success

Trainer Mick Appleby does well with new recruits and Shipyard looks weighted to make a winning debut for him in the 5f handicap at Musselburgh today (16.15).

The gelding was a dual winner in Ireland when trained by Andy Oliver, with the last of those successes coming 13 months ago at Navan off a mark of 83.

Shipyard has since run well to finish in the frame on numerous occasions, including on his latest start at the Curragh last month when third of 12 to Dark Alliance off a rating of 79.

The six-year-old now makes his British debut for Appleby off 2lb lower, and has been given a major chance by the handicapper.

Shipyard’s current rating of 77 is 6lb lower than when last successful, and this class 4 contest looks far weaker than the recent races he has been competing in.

Appleby also has a knack of getting further improvement out of horses that come into his care, and everything suggest this is a glorious opening for Shipyard to get back on the scoresheet.

Longshadow has been highly tried in recent starts and can take advantage of a drop in grade to land the 2m handicap (16.45).

The Jason Ward trained gelding was well beaten in the class 2 Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot and a competitive 15-runner class 3 affair at York, but had previously been in good form and now slips back down into class 4 company.

That is the same grade as when Longshadow kicked off the new campaign with an easy 4 1/2 length success at Doncaster off a mark of 77, and the five-year-old backed up that run with a solid fourth at Newcastle off 82.

Longshadow is now able to race off 79, just 2lb higher than when strolling to success at Doncaster, and that gives the son of Monsun major claims at the weights now pitched into calmer waters.

Another plus is that Longshadow is a course and distance winner, and his only other run at the Scottish venue saw him finish a highly respectable third so the track clearly suits.

Selections:
14.15: Atlantic Affair
14.45: Livella Fella
15.15: Mambo Fever
15.45: Dalby Spook
16.15: Shipyard (NAP)
16.45: Longshadow (NB)
17.15: Lizzy’s Dream