NORTH YORKSHIRE trainer Peter Niven returns to his native Scotland today with good prospects of seeing Clever Cookie live up his name.
The promising gelding, winner of both his starts in bumpers, including one on this track, has twice finished second since over hurdles.
The first of those runner-up efforts came at Musselburgh before he stepped up to make the well-regarded Full Shift pull out all the stops at Newcastle.
Clever Cookie now contests handicap company for the first time and is expected to make a bold bid for Niven, who is based at Barton-Le-Street on the outskirts of Malton.
Wilson Renwick takes the mount on Clever Cookie in the Forth One Boogie In Morning Handicap Hurdle. He is fancied to resume winning ways.
Drumlang should be competitive in the Buy Your 2014 Annual Members Badge Today Handicap Chase, the feature race on the Musselburgh card.
Trained by Ian Williams, the gelding won by 11 lengths at Leicester on his latest start.
He has been raised 7lb for that success, which looks fair and which puts him in here with sound prospects of achieving an encore.
Norton trainer Brian Ellison has dropped Spin Cast in class in the Bluebird Care Selling Hurdle and the hint should be heeded.
Harriet Bethell’s mount finished a respectable third to the useful-looking Aalim at Catterick last time after previously occupying the runner-up spot at Ludlow.
He can make his presence felt in this less challenging company.
While Nicky Richards has a smart chance with novice hurdler Brijomi Queen (2.15), the Greystoke trainer may be denied a double in the concluding bumper.
Richards runs the very promising Warriors Tale, but the fly in the ointment could be a newcomer from the powerful John Ferguson yard in El Namoose, a son of Authorized and bred to be pretty good.
At Wolverhampton’s twilight meeting, all eyes will be on Jakkalberry, who must surely be the highest-rated horse to run at Dunstall Park in some considerable time.
Rated 115, Marco Botti's charge is something of a globetrotter. His last five races have been in Dubai, where he won a Grade 2 contest last March, Japan, Australia, where he finished third in the Melbourne Cup and the US where he won the American St Leger at Arlington Park.
The Coral Mobile Conditions Stakes is very much small fry for this classy performer, whose career earnings stand at more than £1.3m, but Botti is using this race as a stepping stone to another stint in Dubai in the coming weeks.
Jakkalberry has only three rivals and is head and shoulders above them on ratings.
He will start at cramped odds and should not be pushed to win handsomely.
North Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston failed to get a race out of Crowdmania last year after the juvenile had shown plenty of promise but then also showed signs of regression in his latter races.
A gelding operation might well have turned him around and he was beaten only a short-head at Lingfield on his recent return to action as a three-year-old.
If able to build on that display, Crowdmania should go well under Joe Fanning in the 32Red Handicap.
Also worth noting are recent winners Argent Touch (5.00) and nap selection Blackthorn Stick (6.30), who represent two in-form trainers in Derek Shaw and John Butler.
• Press tipster Tom O’Ryan was in spectacular form at Market Rasen yesterday.
He had five winners and a second placed finish from the six races – correctly predicting that Enchanted Garden (8-1), Yorkist (11-8 fav), Firth Of The Clyde (11-4), Ultimatum Du Roy (11-10 fav) and Kodicil (12-1) would all taste glory.
Musselburgh today 1.15 Twice Lucky, 1.45 Spin Cast, 2.15 Brijomi Queen, 2.45 Clever Cookie, 3.20 Drumlang, 3.55 El Namoose.
Wolverhampton 4.30 Red Star Lady, 5.00 Argent Touch, 5.30 Crowdmania, 6.00 Passing Star, 6.30 Blackthorn Stick (NAP), 7.00 Jakkalberry, 7.30 The Blue Dog.
Today’s other meeting: Musselburgh, Lingfield, Wolverhampton.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Ascot, Haydock, Taunton and Lingfield.