KELSO – Sunday March 8th
Going – Soft (Good to Soft in places)
An extra card at Kelso completed a run of Northern meetings.
2.25 2m 2f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
An event low on quality.
SIR TANTALLUS HAWK was the one competitor coming into this with winning form. Having been kept handy he moved up to challenge at the last and eased away on the flat. He will struggle to defy a double penalty, so presumably will be aimed at handicaps now.
NONOTREALLY was up with the leaders most of the way and led two out. He couldn’t match the winner from the last but this was a fair return after a two and a half year break. The big question now is whether this is a one off or can be built on. I’d like to see another run first.
SUNDAE BEST didn’t jump very cleanly early on but warmed to his task in the latter stages. He may need a bit of time but isn’t a lost cause.
MAXWELLTON BRAES didn’t build on his Ayr for and was a disappointing and well held fourth.
2.55 2m 6 ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
SPHINX is an 11 year old trying to make up for lost time over hurdles. On this evidence it’s a shame we had to wait so long to see him, since he came away from his field nicely. Given that he is fairly fresh in this sphere and going forward he may well pick up another race.
CLASSIC CUT is another interesting prospect from the progressive yard of James Ewart and sported the familiar noseband and white boots. He ran a bit green on the flat, it’s a long old run-in at Kelso, but stayed on and should win a staying event.
CASSIUS’s level of form is pretty well established and he sets the level on an official figure of 100. He ran well enough but was well held on the flat.
OSCAR HONEY raced keenly in front in first time blinkers but came down at the seventh. He hasn’t found his feet over fences in the UK so far and I hope this hasn’t knocked his confidence over hurdles since he should be capable of picking up an event of this quality.
The rest of the field were beaten a long way.
3.25 2m 6 ½ f 0-120 Novices’ Handicap Chase
This was a race which seemed between three, Super Baby, Bow School and Cornerback. In the event Bow School was below par and it was to the other two to fight it out.
CORNERBACK was held up early, but made steady progress to track the leaders down the back straight for the final time. She got a bit unbalanced over two out, but soon recovered to challenge at the last and was allowed to stride on in the final furlong. There may be a little more to come from this one since her jumping can be tidied up a bit. She won on better ground over hurdles and in a bumper, so is likely to progress through the spring.
SUPER BABY jumps well and gave an honest performance, being outpaced in the final furlong of the long run-in. He looks on his level at 112.
WATERSKI was dropped back to a more reasonable standard than his Musselburgh race. He went well for a long way but gave best from two out. He’s yet to win and needs another drop in class for a chance to prove himself.
ANGLICISME isn’t as good over fences as his 104 mark suggests and is currently held.
BOW SCHOOL didn’t jump well enough to make up for a 9lb rise following his Musselburgh victory. He faded quickly from three out, pulling up before the last.
PRINCE MOUSE has shown a glimmer of ability in a belated career under rules, but it seems too late now to make a mark. He fell at the thirteenth when feeling the pinch.
SUPREMELY GIFTED hasn’t lived up to his name over fences to date and fell away from three out before pulling up.
3.55 2m 1/2 f 0-135 Handicap Hurdle
GRINGO challenged before two out and was pushed out on the run-in. He did the job well enough but these are exposed performers and there wasn’t a lot of strength in depth for the level. He is definitely best on decent ground so should have conditions in his favour and might just manage another win before the handicapper gets hold of him.
ORMUS challenged before two out, lead at the last and kept on once headed. He’s another whose profile suggests good ground is best.
MARCEL has been switched back to hurdling after his chase mark rose into the 130s. This was an improvement on his last two efforts but he still needs to find more to win a race even off 115.
COCONUT BEACH was third in a Catterick seller recently and that level is all that he has won at in recent times.
MOHAYER was made favourite but came down at the fourth.
4.25 2m 1f 0-135 Handicap Chase
BOLD RANSOM is lightly raced and has a sound record to date, particularly in the mud. This was his first chasing win, but he goes well for one so inexperienced and stayed on too well for his closest rivals on the run-in. He is progressing and may well win again.
TWELVE PACES is useful on his day but difficult to predict and spends as much time trundling round at the back as he does up front. He runs his best races when able to get near the front.
MORE LIKELY was much happier here bowling along in front, but the trip starts to stretch her stamina ad she gave way on the run to the line.
CRACKADEE performed better than previous efforts this season but was held from two out. He may well be worth an interest in the near future given that he’s down below his previous winning mark
SCARVAGH DIAMOND couldn’t go with the others from three out and has been out of sorts all season.
4.55 2m 2f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
SINGING WIZARD led two out and battled back when headed on the flat. He showed more determination at the death. He jumped right so a switch to a right-handed track might bring about some improvement.
SPELLCHECKER came there cruising after the last but found very little when asked and is currently worth opposing.
BEST LOVER led at the seventh but, having go the rail on the run to the line, couldn’t respond when the first two went past. He hasn’t progressed since a second to Steady Tiger on his debut.
LEO’S QUEST made no impression from two out. This was a satisfactory hurdling debut.
SAM PATCH was one paced from two out, but showed a glimmer of ability on hurdling debut and may get more competitive next time.
5.25 2m ½ f NH Flat
PREMIER SAGAS doddled up here and, given that the trainers of the second and third know the time of day in these events; the form is likely to prove decent. This course has a record of producing decent performers from bumpers and Premier Sagas looks likely to add to the list.
BALLYMACDUFF led briefly before the home bend but was outpaced by the winner once turned for home. He is a half-brother to a couple of pointing winners and should progress from here.
COOL MISSION cost 44,000gns as a three year old, so there are clearly some strong expectations. He took a while to warm to his task, but stayed on well in the later stages.
CLAUDE CARTER made a respectable debut in fourth.