KELSO – Sunday October 6th
Going – Good (Good to Firm in places)
A bumper crowd in excess of 4,000 gave a rousing welcome to the autumn campaign at the Borders track. The weather pretty decent bar one passing shower and the turf was in decent nick with no suggestion of jar in the ground. There was a fair bit of moisture in the turf after a little rain of late and I definitely choose the wrong footwear, ending up with soggy feet after walking the last couple of furlongs of hurdles and chase tracks.
2.00 2m ½f Borders Radio Handicap Hurdle (92-118)
GLENCREE looked better than many in the paddock despite a 119 day lay-off, his walking stride being noticeably longer than many. He led three out and steadily wound up the pace from that point, staying on well from the last to hold on in a close finish. He won’t go up a huge amount for this win but seems in good heart and may win again.
BRIGHT APPLAUSE, looking as if the race would certainly be beneficial, made a decent handicap debut. He put in a persistent challenge to the line and pushed a more experienced winner all the way.
ENDEAVOR keeps putting in decent efforts these days and had every chance here though held from the last. An adaptable sort he can continue to get in the mix in hurdles and chases at this sort of level.
ABBEY GARTH made good progress three out and had every chance at the last before being outpaced. He’s disappointed since a bumper success but showed enough ability on this occasion to suggest there is a race to be won with him.
CAVITE ETA had every chance but was found wanting from two out.
TALKIN THOMAS looks a chasing type and ran well for a good way, outpaced after a mistake two out.
NEXT EDITION was well backed but was labouring three out and never got near the leaders.
I had BALLYBROE down as one to follow over the season particularly if going chasing, but having made the pace he faded badly and was pulled up and dismounted after the last. A watching brief might be advised assuming he’s OK.
2.35 2m ½f Unwin Family Juvenile Hurdle
Experience proved the key here and KITCHAPOLY, a double winner in France, finally confirmed that he has retained his ability since his move. He led before two out and gradually asserted from that point. He jumps neatly and that should stand him in good stead in the coming months.
Perth winner ESTINAAD went well enough for most of the way, but a mistake two out set him back and the winner got away from him. He was clear of the rest and this looked a sound enough performance.
ANEEDH did best of the newcomers and though well held should learn from this and progress.
BROOKLAND BREEZE stayed on through the field to take fourth place. He looks more of a jumping sort than many in this race and should turn in better efforts in time.
3.05 2m 7½f Tiger McElrath Novices’ Limited Handicap (117-123)
A three runner race, but an intriguing contest nevertheless.
CARRIGDHOUN, part owned by one of the ‘Kelso top of the roofers’, set the pace here and early hesitant jumping gave way to better leaps as the race went on. He looked in trouble when headed four and was driven along on the final turn. However, he does stay well and was distinctly best once hitting the final climb. A good win but he might just have had a race that suited him here.
ATLANTA FALCON led four but didn’t have enough in reserve once headed at the last fence.
KRIS CROSS had every chance two out but was put in his place from then on. He looked as if the race would do him no harm after a lay-off.
3.45 2m 6½f NSPCC School Service Intermediate Hurdle (Class 4)
There can’t be many horses that have won the same intermediate hurdle twice, but MAGGIO hit form at a track where he runs well. Putting a below par Hexham effort behind him, he stayed on well to hold off three decent opponents. He’s on quite a high handicap mark and may not be that easy to place as he’s been comfortably held in his two latest efforts in handicap hurdle/chase.
OUR JOEY ran more or less to his form with Maggio, overhauled at the last having set the pace. A decent effort and this one should have a chance or two in handicaps but I would George Bewley will be looking to go chasing with this one.
Winner of a Grade 3 chase at Auteuil, FULL JACK made an encouraging start to his UK career, well there for most of the way but only finding one pace from the last. Pauline Robson should be able to place this one to win races.
BRIGHT ABBEY couldn’t make an impact from two out. He’s been running well of late but generally in slightly weaker company.
BE WISE and KITNKABOODLE were outclassed and well beaten, though the latter did at least show enough zest in the first two miles to suggest he’s not a total lost cause yet.
4.15 2m 7 ½ f Fleet Bar, Eyemouth Handicap Chase (59-95)
A moderate event in which CHICAGO OUTFIT broke his duck over fences. Taking closer order from four out, the John Wade trained gelding took it up at the last and stayed on well enough. Not many chasers pass through John Wade’s hands without entering the winner’s enclosure.
Hat-trick seeking PRESENTING JUNIOR put up a sound effort, just being outpaced on the run-in but sticking to his job well enough. He is only a six-year-old, has the right attitude and there should be another race in him soon though I suspect he will stick to decent ground.
Barbara Butterworth appeared to have coaxed a revival from WESTERN BOUND who stayed on well for third and was closing to the line. Right off his game since moving from Gordon Elliott, this does at least offer some encouragement though he has to prove it wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
WINTER ALCHEMY went well until two out but could offer no extra from that point. He has more than enough ability to win at this level, but absences from the track suggest a problem.
MR DUFFY’s best effort of late was a second at Cartmel and Dessie Hughes has been travelling to seek out soft events for one of his lesser lights. He was behind by the twelfth fence and never in contention.
KNIGHT WOODSMAN was left behind in the last half mile, while ALMOND COURT jumped well in front for a while but was beaten by the fourteenth and then pulled up.
SOLWAY DORNAL stays well but was held when decanting Stephen Mulqueen at the last. He’s often thereabouts but doesn’t win very much.
SHOOTING TIMES has ability at this level but can be moody. He was never going on this occasion.
Maiden pointer SNOOZE N YOU LOSE has shown no hint of being a serious racehorse and was beaten with a mile to go.
4.45 2m 2f Katie Scott Pointing and Emma Dunkley 18th Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Division 1) (75-95)
A very moderate event with few having anything much to recommend them pre-race.
HONOURABLE GENT apparently improved for application of the hood, getting into the race from two out and staying on after leading at the last. He didn’t achieve a lot in victory here.
SENDIYM, winner of a chase a Sedgefield in August, at least had some fair form to boast. He led until the latter stages and kept on honestly enough once passed. He’s one of the more reliable characters at this end of the spectrum and he’s 2 from 2 at Sedgefield.
DYNAMIC DRIVE had every chance two out but drifted toward the stands’ rail approaching the last and found no extra on the run-in. He won two flat races as 3yo in 2010 but nothing since.
VODKA RED was close enough if good enough three out, but could only plug on from that point.
RHYMERS STONE needed the race, but even then he made no impact from three out.
5.15 2m 2f Katie Scott Pointing and Emma Dunkley 18th Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Division 2) (70-94)
Katie, Emma and party seemed happy enough, but this was arguably even more dire than Episode One in terms of previous form. However, one or two of us spotted an opportunity in the shape of PUSH ME who has been showing fair form on the flat. She showed nothing in four previous hurdles efforts, but Iain Jardine has got her going the right way and she doddled up off a mark of 84. Hurdling neatly in rear, she provided one brief scare when almost running into the back of an opponent off the final bend, but she was cruising at the time and readily came away from her only serious challenger. I was chuffed to get 11/1 as I thought she was a shoo-in if reproducing her flat form, and I was amazed to find she had started at 20/1. She looks like a 100+ performer and can land another handicap.
DISCOVERIE stepped up on mainly disappointing efforts for his current stable. Led three out but had no answer when headed by a superior opponent. He’s a big chasing type and, presuming he schools OK, would be very interesting in novice handicap chases.
LUCKY SUN and TOP BILLING had every chance two out and weren’t good enough.
Long standing maiden LAYBACH was as shot as 5/1, which sums this contest up, but didn’t threaten in the straight.
5.45 2m ½ f City Roofing Ltd Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race
Regular readers of this column will know I’m enthusiastic about Kelso bumpers and this one had me purring.
A fellow ‘Kelso top of the roofer’ has a share in the winner MONT ROYALE, a gelding that looks a ridiculously good purchase at £1,300 on this evidence. He’ s a nice enough looking sort, settled well in touch with the pace and showed a nice turn of foot to pull clear in the last furlong and a half. In the same nominal ownership as the useful Orsippus, this is one to take forward.
LORD OF BEAUFAI had every chance two out and stuck at his job to hold on for second place. He was fifth at Roscommon in May in a contest that has worked out quite well and that looks a good measure for this contest.
COUSIN GUILLAUME represented bumper specialist Karen McLintock and acquitted himself well enough, racing close up and keeping on to the line. His trainer is savvy enough to place this one carefully.
FACTOR FIFTY, a Southwell winner in June, was held over a furlong out but kept on to the line. A half-brother to decent chaser Hill Society and a few other jumps winners, he should make a mark when facing obstacles.
FINAL ASSAULT set a steady pace but was outspeeded from two out. He’ll need a stiffer test to show his best.
DARK CAVIAR loo0ked a tough ride at Perth but wasn’t totally disgraced here, making headway two out but weakening before the furlong marker.
MR SELBY looked forward enough for his debut but made no impact in the straight. His stable generally know the time of day and don’t waste many opportunities in bumpers here, so his seventh place hopefully signals the quality on show.
THIS THYNE JUDE was second in a much weaker event at Perth. She could only find one pace here but wasn’t completely disgraced and will be one to look out in staying novice/maiden hurdles in time.