PICTURE: Mark Cranham
Ron Harris has high hopes for Judge 'N Jury
THERE could be some 2014 Royal Ascot clues in evidence in today's sprint feature, as two of the last three winners of this contest have gone on to land the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at the royal meeting the following year.
Of the 11 who go to post in an attempt to match the exploits of Sole Power (2012) and Prohibit (2010), locally trained veteran Borderlescott is making only his second start at Doncaster in a career that has spanned 71 outings.
The 11-year-old takes his chance in Listed company after the handicapper put him up 4lb after his third-placed effort in the Listed Beverley Bullet last time, something that did not impress his trainer Robin Bastiman. He said: "I don't know what race the handicapper was watching last time. Do they still think he's improving at the age of 11?"
Although only two favourites have obliged in the past eight runnings, the majority of winners have figured prominently in the betting, with only Humidor (14-1) two years ago bucking the trend.
Back for another crack
Excelette, one of two runners for Bryan Smart, was third behind Sole Power 12 months ago, an even better run in retrospect as the runner-up that day was Jwala, a shock 40-1 winner of the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month.
The stands' rail seems the place to be, with Sole Power obliging from stall nine a year ago. Judge 'N Jury, the mount of Frankie Dettori, has the plum draw today in stall 11.
What they say
Robin Bastiman, trainer of Borderlescott
"We may be running him back a bit quick after Beverley, but the handicapper has ruled us out of the Portland. He seems in good form at home, but if it goes good to soft or softer he won't run."
Ron Harris, trainer of Judge 'N Jury
"People might think he has a bit to do at the weights but he has suffered all season on fast ground and the rain they have had will make it perfect for him. He always runs well in better races and he has a fantastic draw."
Tony Nerses, racing manager to Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, owners of Justineo
"He's looking well and working well and seems to be improving with age. Any softening of the ground would be a concern."
Marco Botti, trainer of Masamah
"This looks his trip and he is in good form at home. We hope the ground remains good or faster and, if it does, he's in with a squeak."
Bryan Smart, trainer of Tangerine Trees and Excelette
"Tangerine Trees ran well at Beverley last time and a drop of rain wouldn't come amiss. In contrast, Excelette disappointed in the same race, but she looks in good form at home now and we're hoping she can bounce back."
Today's key pointers
2.30 D oncaster
Richard Hannon has won with three of the last four horses he has sent to the 2.30 at Doncaster (he ran two in 2009), so it makes sense to go with his Expert in 2013.
Since 2010, Richard Fahey is only 2-56 in Doncaster three-year-old handicaps, so one would be very wary of the chances of Flyman in the 4.45 at the course.
James Fanshawe has a terrific 24 per cent strike-rate (+£45.21) at Kempton since the start of 2012, and he has only one entered there on Wednesday, Red Tulip in the 8.15.
Pointer courtesy of Raceform Interactive
Galway: good to firm, good in places
Uttoxeter: chase - good, good to firm in places; hurdle - good to firm, good in places