KELSO – Sunday December 8th
Going – Good to Soft
A rather damp day for one of Kelso’s big days of the season, headlined by the Border National and supported by a couple of other Class 2 contests. Unfortunately other commitments meant I was reduced to watching meeting courtesy of Racing UK, hence no paddock observations which does cramp my style a bit.
12.25 2m 110yds Border Facilities Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
A difficult contest to weigh up as there were question marks against those at the front of the market for one reason and another.
TOUGH TRADE was well beaten on his hurdling debut at Newcastle three weeks ago, but stepped up significantly to take this contest. He was put into the contest two out, led approaching the last and stayed on nicely.
KING OF STRINGS made and encouraging hurdles debut. Always on the premises he kept on to the line and should be capable of landing a similar event with experience behind him.
PULPITARIAN looked dangerous and then flattened out approaching the last.
MUHARRER made a fair debut, always up with the leaders but tapped for pace on the flat.
REGAL SWAIN found form turned round along way with the winner from their Newcastle efforts., finding only one pace from before the last.
ROC DE PRINCE, returning after a 177 day lay-off since an Aintree win on hurdling debut, set a good pace but weakened quickly once headed two out. Many of James Ewart’s charges have needed the run on return from a break and this one should come on for this.
12.55 2m 7f 110yds Scotty Brand Paris Pike Novices’ Chase (Class 2)
COVERHOLDER travelled best of these for most of the second circuit and eased away from his field to win very comfortably. He has come on in leaps and bounds since being bought out of a seller by Harvey Smith, and proved that he stays this longer distance. Some decent winners have come from this contest in the past.
Game mare LITTLE GLENSHEE lost nothing in defeat here. She set a decent pace for much of the way and stuck to her task though well held. She can win a mares event in one can be found and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be competitive in handicaps.
BEEVES didn’t seem entirely happy taken on for the lead and his jumping wasn’t as fluent as it might have been. That being said he rallied well after looking beaten three quarters of a mile out and was challenging for second when clouting two out. He did keep on under pressure but looks to need things his own way.
TALKIN SENCE went well enough on chasing debut and was overtaxed by his rider once held from two out.
STANDINTHE BAND had a tough task on chasing debut and was well held from the twelfth fence.
ATTYCRAN was struggling at halfway and has been presented with some tough tasks over fences, though he has picked up prize money on a few occasions.
1.25 2m 110yds Kevin Oliver Christmas Handicap Hurdle (102-119)
BOGSIDE isn’t the easiest to win with but does go quite well at Kelso. He travelled well throughout and led at the last. He had to be kept up to his job as he hung on the flat but had enough in hand. He’s not one you could guarantee would repeat the form next time.
TITUS BOLT raced nicely in front and kept on to the line once passed. He’s lightly raced over hurdles and still a maiden, but Jim Goldie should be able to secure a race with him before long.
SUD PACIFIQUE had every chance approaching the last but faded on the run-in. He’s competitive, but as high in handicap as he would need to be.
STREETS OF NEWYORK got the heels of the leaders two out but couldn’t make an impression after the last. This was an encouraging UK debut for this Irish import and Brian Ellison is shrewd enough to place him to advantage.
PHOENIX RETURNS, REDPENDER and the well backed GUNNER LINDLEY all had their chances but were found wanting from two out.
1.55 4m Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National Handicap Chase (111-135)
The feature race of the card and of the latter part of the year at Kelso.
ROYALE KNIGHT, a course winner in May, had lost his way a little of late, well held over hurdles at Exeter on return from a break. He clearly stays well and was always travelling within himself, stretching on from the long time leader approaching two out and in no great difficulty after that. At seven he’s the right end of the age scale and is an interesting prospect for similar events on decent ground.
The staying novice brigade is encouragingly decent in this area at the moment,the force being led here by SCOTSWELL who jumped like a veteran in front despite racing over fences for only the fourth time. He didn’t have enough to respond to the sweet travelling winner but he saw his race out to the line. He’s tough, consistent, jumps well and stays well and is another seven-year-old with a bright future in these events.
IMPERIAL VIC, another having only a fourth chase outing, ran a brave race under top weight conceding a stone plus to the first two. Racing near the pace, he was gradually left behind by the first two from three out but saw his race out in typically honest fashion. There will be staying chases to be won with him in the near future.
MORE EQUITY had a tough task here but plugged on from two out to take fourth place and was not disgraced.
ROS CASTLE found himself outpaced to four out and couldn’t get back into the race from that point.
SOUDAIN raced prominently but was beaten five out and pulled up soon after a slow jump four out. The Cambridgeshire National he won was not strong event, and it’s more a mark of his level that he was a well held third in the highland National last April. He’s now on a very harsh mark.
BISHOPS HEIR chased the leaders to four out, but faded from there and was pulled up in the straight.
ROYAL SAM went prominent with a circuit to go, but hit the fence going away from the stands and never got into the race after that and was pulled up in the latter stages.
BESCOT SPRINGS jumped indifferently and was well beaten four out before pulling up.
2.25 2m 7f 110yds John Wade Always Right Champion Chase (Handicap) (121-138)
KRUZHLININ won well here last time and stepped up on that form, winning going away having travelled well and taken up the running before the last. He was up 8lbs for his last win and that didn’t stop him, so he should justify presence in top level three mile handicaps on this evidence.
NO PLANNING is another young chaser on an upward curve. He came up alongside the leader approaching two out and soon led, but found one too good on the day. He was not disgraced and will find further opportunities at this level.
NIGHT ALLIANCE didn’t jump at all well, giving a few fences a significant belt, but had got himself on to the heels of the leaders when taking a heavy fall at the last. When his jumping hols up he will be a force in similar contests.
ROLECARR stayed on to inherit third place on the run-in, but was well held and needs softer ground.
GARLETON raced with his usual zest in front but weakened once headed two out. He needs easing significantly in the handicap, but is still capable should he be given a chance by the official handicapper.
ROSSINI’s DANCER can be truculently on occasion, was difficult at the start and never really going.
SEAN AIRGEAD jumped poorly for most of the way and finally dumped Peter Buchanan on the turf when well beaten two out.
2.55 2m 6f 110yds McMillanfineart.com and James Ewart Racing Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Class 4)
TONDAVOSA looks a decent novice mare and travelled well at or near the head of affairs. She pulled clear from two out and, though wandering about approaching the last, won with a lot in hand. She’s a very decent mare and one to keep an eye on.
DOMINETTA VITALI, placed in hurdles and chases in Ireland, stayed on for second and it’s worth her trainer seeking similar opportunities on this side of the Irish Sea.
REV UP RUBY was held up, ridden into the race two out but not good enough from there on. A fari run and there should be easier races for her.
SPRING OVER was held from two out.
THE FLAMING MATRON went well in front until before two out but was beaten from then on and will be better off in handicaps. The event she won at Cartmel was a soft one.
RATHVAWN BELLE was well beaten and disappointing even allowing for this being tougher than her last two races.
3.25 3m 3f Lazy Grace Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (66-99)
This would be one of the longest events, if not the longest, in this class for novices over the course of a season.
BRAE ON was not unbacked at 14/1 and stayed on well up the straight having been rousted along after three out. He was well on top by the finish and the extreme distance clearly suited him well.
ST GREGORY, a mare even the name doesn’t necessarily suggest it, stayed on well enough in the closing stages to take second near the line. She’s another that stepped up with the extra distance.
SNUKER is described as ‘a tractor’ by his trainer as he just keeps on going. His hurdling wasn’t as sharp as it might have been here and he was vulnerable to those able to muster a finish, headed before the last and run out of second close home. He’s been better over fences of late but his lower hurdles mark does give him a shout if his trainer can find similar events.
LADY OF VERONA had every chance and faded close home but she had the rest of the field well beaten off.