Ferguson's five Friday runners all have chances
JOHN FERGUSON'S well bred Population, sent off favourite for the bumper at the Aintree festival in 2012 won by The New One, is the 11-4 joint favourite for the Fergusson Coal Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh (2.35pm).
A half brother to Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Loving Claim, Population only ran three times last season, fairing best when chasing home My Tent Or Yours at Huntingdon and he makes his handicap debut off a mark of 122.
Australia Day, once rated as high as 157 over hurdles, also lines up off a mark 20lb lower than when in his pomp. Saturday's eight length Ascot winner Willow's Saviour, trained by Dan Skelton, is officially 9lb well in on that performance, is contesting favouritism with Ferguson's six-year-old.
It could be a good day for Ferguson who runs Ronnie Lawson, a full brother to David Pipe's exciting Kings Palace who has already achieved an RPR of 146 with three wins in five starts, for the first time in the concluding bumper on the card (4.05pm), while in division one of the opening novice hurdle (12.30pm) Ferguson saddles Purple Bay, a 4-9 shot.
Ferguson's two runners at Southwell, Curzon Line (2.15pm) and Paddy Mulligan (3.45pm) are 11-4 and 5-1, also have chances but the main story at the Nottinghamshire course will be Tony McCoy's presence for one ride, despite bring up his 4,000th winner on Thursday and it being his daughter Eve's birthday.
McCoy's sole mount, the aptly named Forthefunofit, runs in the closing bumper (3.45pm) and is contesting favouritism with No No Romeo at 5-2.
Danny Cook is 12 from 55 when riding in novice hurdle races for Brian Ellison (+£8.40 to £1 level stakes), including two from two at Hexham. He rides Ocean Club at 2.55pm.
Pointer provided by Raceform Interactive
Musselburgh good, good to soft in places
Southwell soft, heavy in places