KELSO – Monday March 22nd
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
Buccleuch Cup day at Kelso, with the named event a novice hunter ‘championship’ in Scotland. The race may have seen the appearance of a potential hunting chasing star in easy winner Quotica De Poyans.
2.10 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
HOLD FAST had a problem at Catterick, losing his action on that occasion, but was back in the groove here winning tidily. It would appear he needs good ground and given that drier weather persists then it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s aimed at Aintree.
GILBARRY challenged going well two out but couldn’t hold the winner on the flat. He is a type to need a bit of time and a second here is a great encouragement.
COASTLEY ‘s effort in third holds the form together. He ran a decent second at Carlisle last time and stayed on here to be beaten only a handful of lengths
Previous winner DR LIVINGSTONE was a fair fourth, though tapped for pace from the last, while DICE, a 42,000gns purchase and a decent performer on the Flat, was another found out for pace late on but likely to benefit form a step up in trip.
2.40 2m 6 ½ f 0-115 Novices’ Handicap Chase
Progressive BENE LAD, benefitting from a step up in trip here, led after the last and stayed on well for victory. After a curtailed campaign last season he’s making up for lost time, winning from 5lbs out of the weights, and it’s unlikely he has finished winning just yet. Jim Goldie’s horses can often run up a number of wins once on a roll.
PADDYS UNYOKE produced a second consecutive decent effort, going on four out and keeping on once headed. This trip seems to suit better than the two miles he ran over last time.
WATERSKI looks held off his current mark and was beaten from the last, but ran a fair race.
PRIMROSE TIME struggled from three out and her jumping isn’t holding up when push comes to shove.
MARLEYBOW went out like a light from three out, a similar story to his last effort.
SEVEN IS LUCKY was still in touch when falling at the thirteenth while GRAND UNION never looked happy and was pulled up before the same obstacle.
3.10 2m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
LIGHTENING ROD is progressing. He probably learnt from his last run at Catterick and went clear on the flat here to win comfortably. The decent ground clearly does no harm and this suggests he is making good progress.
BAAHER stayed on under pressure but was easily outpointed from the last. He runs some decent races but doesn’t look especially well handicapped.
SUPER BABY, possibly needing a confidence booster, was up with the pace jumping big. He got tapped for pace going to two out but stayed on under pressure.
NIGHT FORCE stayed on from well back to take fourth place but never figured in the main battle.
BORDER TALE set the pace until giving way from the last. He seemed much happier dictating the pace and there’s a chance this run may signal a revival.
Four year old MELANGE has run some decent races in novice company but hasn’t been done any favours by the handicapper. He plugged on from two out but didn’t threaten the principals.
NEW TRICKS likes to be near the front. He got the worst of a mid air argument with White Lightening at the second, dropped to the rear and never figured. I’d ignore this run.
3.40 2m 1f 0-128 Handicap Chase
Each of KILMACKILLOGE’s wins have been on his seasonal debut, so the obvious conclusion is that he needs a long gap between races. He stayed on under pressure to capture this event, but he’s likely to be under priced if re-appearing soon.
STORMIN EXIT ran another creditable race, keeping on under pressure if held on the flat. He’s one to include on the short list in similar company as he has a good attitude and jumps well.
ORMELLO isn’t noted for his pace in the closing stages and was held from the last.
QUICUYO was held up and joined the main issue approaching two out. He couldn’t raise his game any further once turned for home and dropped away on the run-in. Recent evidence suggests much softer ground is needed.
OPEN DE L’ISLE was not looking happy after a mile and dropped away from three out.
TARTAN SNOW failed to build on the promise of his recent run here and was very disappointing. It seems he struggles when matched by others over fences.
BLACKS BRIDGE went well enough until four out but weakened three out and was pulled up before the last. He struggled off a much higher mark than last time and taking on tougher opposition.
4.10 2m 6 ½ f 0-114 Handicap Hurdle
HUMBIE caught my eye when first appearing and confirmed promise introduced to handicaps. He took charge three out and stayed on from the last to win in decent style for one so inexperienced. He looks a chaser long term, but might well pick up another hurdle before going over the bigger obstacles.
YOUNG BUDDY has been in good form all season and chased the winner home well clear of the rest.
KING MAK was up with the pace most of the way but couldn’t match the first two from the second last.
DUNDOCK showed signs of a revival. He was at the back most of the way but stayed on for fourth and might make a mark now the better ground is here.
4.40 3m 1f Class Maiden Hunters’ Chase (for the Buccleuch Cup)
A comparatively quiet Scottish hunter scene was woken up in serious style by the performance of the Shirley-Beavans’s QUOTICA DE POYANS. Unbeaten in points, he set the pace jumping really well and Kelly Bryson had only to let out a bit of rein for the French-bred to cruise home in not much more than a canter. The opposition included a few point winners to set the level, and it is reasonable to assume that this gelding might cut the mustard at top novice hunter level in the near future.
BENNY BOY, a five times point winner, has struggled to make the mark under Rules. However, he didn’t do much wrong here, jumping well enough and keeping on for second if not in the same realm as the winner.
PUTITAWAYFORAYEAR seems to have found his level in points and performed respectably here. He took second two out but weakened on the flat and had to settle for third. There will be easier contests in which he can get competitive.
ARDNACLANCY was always behind and beaten a long way in fourth ahead of SPECIAL PORTRAIT who briefly chased the leaders going to three out before weakening rapidly.
KNOW THE ROPES visored for the first time, though quite why only the trainer knows, fell at the sixth. He jumped well, if at a steady pace, last time and would surely be better off without the ‘aids’.
MY FINAL BID and OLD ROLLA fell at the eleventh and seventh respectively when in the rear.
BENBEOCH, who ran well here until falling last time, was making progress when hampered at the eleventh after which he was quickly beaten and pulled up.
CHARMING KNIGHT, with some promising hunter form behind him, ran no sort of race and was pulled up before the thirteenth.
CHESTER RIDGE, a six-year-old who has shown promise in points, went well in touch for a way but dropped back from the twelfth and pulled up before three out.
RAHOOD and SAM GAWN were both Irish point winners, but they must have won some dire events between them as both soon struggled and were pulled up after a couple of miles.
5.10 2m ½ f NH Flat
Regular readers will know that I place a lot of value on Kelso bumper form.
The winner here DR FLYNN is from a decent jumping family and will surely benefit from jumps and distance of ground. That didn’t stop him showing pace to win this event and his jumps debut is eagerly awaited.
Previous winner BOLD SIR BRIAN chased the winner home and lends weight to the value of the form since he was clear of the third. His is only a four-year-old and given that he’s out of a Galway Hurdle winner and is another who must surely be of much interest when going hurdling.
BRIDLINGTONBYGONES was held from two out, but is bred to be suited by further (dam is an unraced sister to Royal Athlete) and third place in this event looks no disgrace.
GOFFA CRAG plugged on in the straight and will come into his own once his stamina is tested.
CHICKINI a winner here as a three-year-old, may well have needed this run and finished a one paced fifth. She is likely capable of better.
Things happened a bit quick in the last half mile for WINTER ALCHEMY, but he stayed on for sixth and showed enough to offer hope for the future.
FORCEFIELD stayed on down the straight and once again at least hinted at promise for the future. He’s bred along flat middle distance lines, but has done enough to suggest he sees out the two miles well enough and he should have chances once sights are set.
SHERIFF HALL has ability but may have a problem between his ears and faded from three out on this occasion.