Musselburgh open their flat campaign on Tuesday when Merhoob can make the long trip from Newmarket pay off by landing the main event.
The seven-year-old lines up for the £20,000 Borderlescott Sprint Trophy (3.15) and can make his superior fitness tell, having been in action on the all-weather surfaces during the winter. Six of his seven career wins have come on the artificial surfaces, the latest at Lingfield in December and at Wolverhanpton in February, while he has also been runner-up on four occasions this winter, so he is clearly at home on the sand.
But it is worth noting that his only turf success came on this track last summer and trainer John Ryan has his string in decent form, while all seven of his rivals are coming back from a lengthy winter break.
Jockey Jim Crowley takes the mount and travels north for just two rides. He can initiate a double with Alminoor for his boss Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum in the opening RacingTV Novice Stakes (2.15).
There is no form to go in this juvenile event but the youngster cost £135,000 as a yearling and is a half brother to four winners – all as juveniles – so the portents look promising.
His trainer Mark Johnson usually does well on the East Lothian track and the very fact that Crowley – who has spent the winter riding in Dubai – takes the mount suggests that the colt has been showing plenty of promise at home. His main opponent may well prove to be War of Clans, also closely related to several juvenile winners and who hails from the successful Middleham yard of Karl Burke.
Mark Johnson can complete a double himself with Love Dreams in the racingTV.com Handicap (3.45). The five-year-old has five victories on his CV and took part in some competitive events at Royal Ascot and Newmarket last term, as well as scoring at Goodwood and Chelmsford in the early weeks of the campaign. Three recent runs on the all-weather will have helped him towards peak fitness and he was keeping on strongly when runner-up at Kempton last month.
Pammi won on turf at Hamilton Park last summer and is another who will be fit after operating on the all-weather this winter when she was successful at Newcastle in November.
The filly stays this one-and-a-half mile trip well and Jamie Gormley will claim a very handy 3lbs allowance to help her cause.
Selections: 2.15 Alminoor; 2.45 Pammi; 3.15 Merhoob; 3.45 Love Dream.