A decent looking hell for leather five-furlong sprint that has been won in the past by Tangerine Trees (twice) and Hamish McGonagall (twice) as well as by Borderlescott after whom the race is now named. Favourite have been absent from the Winners’ Circle for the last three runnings with victor’s odds of 11/4, 7/1 and 17/2, and this season looks just as competitive and may well come down at least in part to luck in running. Top of the official ratings and thus the best horse in the race is Monsieur Joe, now a veteran at the age of ten but after winning two races last season and placing on numerous other occasions who is to say he can’t add another win here. Trainer Paul Midgley could do with some winners to back up his form chances after eight unsuccessful runners in the last two weeks, but it may be wrong to read too much in to that at this very early stage of the new turf season. As for the gelded son of Choisir, he has won thirteen races now (twelve on turf and one on the all-weather, all of them over this five furlong trip and on ground ranging from very soft to good to firm making him hard to knock, the main exception being an absence of a recent run which may be asking too much for a horse of his age who may well keep a little back for himself on the home gallops.
First time liners are being added to the John Patrick Shannon trained Taexali (each way) this afternoon which really catches the eye and may well be what makes the difference this afternoon in a small but competitive race. This will be his first run from his new Irish base having previously been in the care of Sateesh Seemar in Dubai where he has failed to win in his last four starts but his trainer knows him well having handled him before his little foreign sojourn. he has won a Brighton maiden over five and a half furlongs so does have ability and if the headgear wakes him up as expected he looks way overpriced and worth of consideration.
It is possible that Lexington Abbey is on a downward curve now at the age of six but he did finished second to Intisaab at York on his last outing in October only beaten a neck in the highly competitive Coral Sprint which looks a much better race than this. Put up four pounds for that his fitness after a long break has to be a worry but the Kevin Ryan stable are in among the winers with one in the last two weeks (from twenty-one attempts), and he ought to go close if able to get anywhere near to that sort of form.
Looking for trainers in great form and South Lanarkshire handler Keith Dalgleish certainly fits that description with three winners from his last fourteen runners for a 21% strike rate and a big 24.25 points profit to level stakes. He has Glenrowan Rose entered here and although she looks to have a bit to do in this company, she had a good season last year with two wins and a second in her last three races including when runner up to Caspian Prince here over course and distance. Still a youngster in sprinting terms at the age of four she may well have a bit more to offer over the months ahead and seems to handle any going with two of her three wins on the Good to Firm expected here, and the other on soft at Hamilton. She can make all the running and stays further than this and if she can slip clear early she won’t be stopping at the end and could even pull off a bit of a shock in a tricky race to call.
Outsiders ahoy next as Eric Alston allows Red Baron to line up here and he deserves a brief mention as the only other course and distance winner in the line-up. Trying to justify his place here is going to prove pretty difficult having finished in front of just four runners in his last seven races, and looking totally out of love with the game. Rated the lowest in the race off 82 today he peaked at 100 and has a half decent record around Musselburgh with twelve starts for four wins and four second places and although clearly going backward rapidly at the age of eight he just loves it here, and if he finishes last again then perhaps they ought to retire him.