Border primed for Gold
Veteran bids for a Scottish sendoff as retirement beckons
Last Updated: September 21, 2012 11:05am
Borderlescott: Retirement soon
Borderlescott's part-owner James Edgar would love his pride and joy to give his huge army of followers one last reason to cheer him home in Saturday's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
The veteran sprinter is likely to retire after he runs in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc weekend, so this is likely to be his last run in Britain.
While he is been trained throughout his career by Robin Bastiman near Wetherby, Edgar and fellow owner William Donaldson are Scottish through and through and would love nothing better than to win this race.
Back in 2006, before Borderlescott switched his attentions to Pattern races, he was narrowly beaten by Fonthill Road off a mark of 105 and yet six years later he is rated 5lb higher.
The 10-year-old showed he was still a force to be reckoned with when landing the Beverley Bullet last time out.
"He came out of the Beverley race really well and if he had stayed straight there, we were looking at five or six lengths. Hopefully he's still got it - he's still got an engine and is bouncing," said Edgar.
"He has run in this race before and he won the Coral Trophy on soft ground. Royston Ffrench kicked on two out at York and it was harem scarem when he just held on.
"We don't have any real fears about the ground, as long as it's not tacky we're in there with a shout."
Another runner who will draw on home support is Jim Goldie's Hawkeyethenoo. He has been unplaced in the last two renewals when trying to become the first Scottish-trained winner of the race since Roman Warrior in 1975.
The Stewards' Cup at Goodwood finally saw him land a prestigious prize and he was last seen when finishing down the field in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
His was the last name out of the hat when the draw was made on Thursday morning, leaving Goldie with no option but stall three.
"We are where we are in the race, but we'll go stands side and I'm quite pleased with it," he told Racing UK.
"When he ran in the July Cup, it was the worst ground I can remember racing on but he ran very well and maybe as he has got older, he has been better at handling very soft ground.
"I still have a feeling there will be something that handles it better than him, though.
"I wouldn't back him at 10-1. It's a tough race, we all know that."
Kevin Ryan won the race in 2007 with Advanced and also 12 months ago with Our Jonathan, who forms part of a three-strong attack for the Hambleton handler this year along with Pintura and Captain Ramius.
"Even for soft ground horses this is going to take some getting, it's going to be a slog," said Ryan.
"Luckily enough I've got three who will go through the ground, how well they will go through it I don't know.
"When the rain came, Our Jonathan was obviously one people latched on to and I'm really happy with him. We've trained him for the race, he looks really well for this time of year and seems in just as good a shape as last year.
"Pintura stays seven furlongs and a mile, he's not a slow horse and he loves soft ground so he should hold his own."
David O'Meara's Doc Hay is aiming to become the first horse since Lochsong in 1992 to win the Portland Handicap at Doncaster and the Ayr Gold Cup.
O'Meara has no concerns about the testing ground and feels the race could be run to suit the former Keith Dalgleish-trained sprinter, who moved yards in May.
"He hasn't been busy all summer, he had a three-month break, so he should be grand," O'Meara told At The Races.
"It (the draw) will be all right, we were left with little choice really. Our Jonathan may go over that side, where he won it last year.
"There is a bit of pace over there. Pintura is drawn nine and The Cheka is drawn 11, so there should be enough pace to give him a nice tow.
"Prior to the Portland, all his form was on soft ground, so it should be fine.
"He's a horse who finishes off his races really well, so hopefully they'll be stopping in front and it might just set it up for something like him."