KELSO – Wednesday May 7th
Going – Good, Good To Soft in places, turning Good To Soft as it rained from Race 3 onwards
A damp afternoon and my paddock observations were limited in the middle of the card to the soggy conditions!
1.55 2m 1f Aver Chartered Accountants Novices’ Chase (Class 4)
This will likely prove to be quite a decent novices’ chase, the first two having shown decent form over hurdles and two Grade 1 winning hurdlers following them in.
MASTER OF THE GAME dwarfed everything else in the paddock and looks all over a chaser. He jumped well in the main either in front or disputing. He was momentarily caught flatfooted when hitting two out but worked back into it at the last and prevailed in a bobbing finish. Not the easiest ride by all accounts, but this double point winner should turn into a pretty decent chaser if carefully handled.
RUNSWICK ROYAL won the Morebattle Hurdle here in February and made a very encouraging chasing debut. He made headway to challenge two out, led before the last but was just headed close home. He lost nothing in defeat and there should be chases to be won with him.
ORSIPPUS hasn’t been able to match his best over hurdles in recent times. He doesn’t look quite the natural jumper but did well to remain in contention to the last before giving way.
RUACANA was put in his place from two out having raced prominently early.
BOZIC found this company too tough but wasn’t given a hard race once beaten.
2.25 2m 6f 110yds Hunter Real Estate Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (82-110)
SILVER GENT created a good impression when just holding on in what seems to have been a decent event at Perth. He s not a typical McCain type, rather angular and lacking the smooth lined strength. Handsome is and handsome does and he set a decent pace here and stayed on well from two out to hold challenges. Lightly raced to date, this one can step up a grade.
RISKIER is a slightly better chaser than hurdler, but chased the winner all the way up the straight and is an honest sort.
BOLLIN JULIE was not disgraced back in third from out of the handicap, though never seriously threatened to be much closer.
MARRAKECH TRADER was fizzy in the paddock and couldn’t make an impact from three out.
Connections were looking for a prominent display from NATIVE SPA but he faded in the final half mile and is now most likely to be re-homed.
2.55 2m 7f 110yds Christine Clow Celebration Selling Handicap Chase (64-100)
Selling handicap chases are pretty thin on the ground these days, but this event remains an annual fixture at Kelso.
WINTER ALCHEMY is probably better than he cares to let on, and strikes me as one that is more of a chaser than a hurdler. He set the pace and then toughed it out up the straight having been headed three out. A decent effort and he will remain in the ‘up to 100’ class even with a rise.
ALLANARD still has ability at this level, but was just worried out of it by a persistent winner having led two out.
OH RIGHT kept on from the rear for third but may need a rest or is perhaps held by the handicapper for now.
John Wade came into this race mob-handed, but the best he could manage was fourth place with CHICAGO OUTFIT who plugged on without ever threatening. RUNSWICK RELAX led three out and looked a possible winner but was out on his feet by the last and dropped back to fifth. IRISH BY NAME chased the leader to the thirteenth but quickly went backwards and was pulled up.
WESTERN BOUND was ten pounds out of the handicap and never dangerous. He’ll need a lousy event to have a serious chance.
FILBERT FOX was never going and pulled up after going a mile and the impression I got was that he wasn’t putting it all in. He did run one decent race at Hexham, but has been well below that otherwise. Connections tell me options going forward include cross-country events or a return to pointing.
3.25 3m 2f Bedmax Handicap Chase (Le Garcon D’or Trophy) (100-115)
The rain had set in seriously by this event and for once I forsook my rooftop viewing position to watch under cover. Viewing on the lower deck is OK but not as good as up top.
HARRIS HAWK took over at the twelfth and had his race won by two out having kicked on from four out. He won this comfortably and has ability to win off a higher mark if he can repeat this effort.
NEPTUNE EQUESTER jumped better here than he did at Perth. He was tapped for pace by the winner but plugged on and staying is his forte.
BADGER FOOT has been running quite well in recent times. He chased the leader three out but was beaten with two to jump and finished tired.
ROMANY RYME is a maiden and didn’t threaten that status in this contest.
PYJAMA GAME was well behind from the thirteenth and pulled up before two out. He won twice in the autumn and was coming off a long break so will presumably benefit from the outing.
AZERODEGREE struggled from halfway and was pulled up with a mile left.
PRESENT POTENTIAL went wrong when clouting the seventh and had to be put down. He had shown great promise in points and hunter chasing and is a sad loss for his stable.
4.00 2m 110yds NFU Mutual Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (102-120)
NEVILLE WOODS has struck me so far as a work in progress job with chasing his eventual aim. His trainer confirmed this so will be well pleased with a hurdling success, the gelding always going well and driven out to take the race. Neville Woods should be suited by a stiffer test and his chasing debut is eagerly awaited in this quarter.
CAPTAIN BROWN took an age to get up after a last hurdle fall here last time. Given time to recover, this free-going sort bowled along in front and responded gamely once challenged if just held. He looks to need this decent ground and I suspect Jimmy Moffatt will be eyeing contests at Cartmel, just around the corner from his stable.
COOL SKY stayed on to take third having raced in rear. He generally runs his race.
Kelso in the rain must be a culture shock for PULPITARIAN who was running and winning at Laurel Park 18 months ago. He’s tending to be found out for pace in the closing stages, but is dropping to a reasonable mark and there should be a race for him before long.
HUNTERS BELT was bandaged in front and faded from three out.
4.35 2m 5f 110yds Betfair Scottish Chase Series Final Handicap Chase (97-124)
A slightly disappointing turn out considering reasonable prize money, but there is a limitation with a single final after qualifiers at a range of distances.
BAILEYS CONCERTO was run off his feet at Perth but stayed on late. He found the course and distance here just up his street and had the race in safe keeping before the last. He’s on a roll and I would imagine Dianne Sayer will be mapping out a campaign for him in the coming months.
FIDDLERS REEL made a brave attempt to concede 16lbs to a well handicapped opponent. He saw his race out honestly enough after being headed two out.
PEACHEY MOMENT was right there two out but held after. He’s on a losing run and beatable.
GLEANN NA NDOCHAIS has the make of a chaser but is a weak finisher and I wonder if he has a wind problem.
THE FLAMING MATRON was not good enough in this class. She’s eligible for 0-100 and that would be the obvious level to aim at.
LADY OF VERONA was beaten well before the straight.
HARRY’S WHIM bowled along in front, but is too often let down by sloppy jumping and duly deposited Henry Brooke on the turf a fence seven. He demolished a rail or two when loose and was still buzzing when returning to the paddock.
5.10 2m 110yds Cheers Bar Standard Open NH Flat (Class 5)
Not a strong contest by Kelso standards, four stood out in the paddock and they occupied the first four places.
DOKTOR GLEZ showed promise at Wetherby in December and built on that to win here, staying on well having led two out. He’s a well grown sort that may not have the scope of some others in this race.
LEWIS is a fine chasing type who will come into his own once facing obstacles. He stayed on well to take second place and if I was taking one out of this contest it would have to be this one. If nothing he’s not trained by a ‘prominent stable’ so may sneak under the radar.
NICOLAS CHAUVIN challenged the winner from two out but was held in the last 100 yards. The feeling is that if he was a really sharp sort from the Henderson camp he wouldn’t be running at Kelso in May. He may be worth opposing as under-priced in upcoming engagements.
TOOLA BOOLA stayed on encouragingly in the closing stages.
ALWAYS TIPSY wasn’t disgrace in fifth, if held in the final furlong.
THE LAST LEG led for a good way but was beaten in the home straight. He probably needs some time which is unusual for McLintock runners in these contests.
SKI GUIDE didn’t show in the latter stages and the stable have decided he is not going to make it as racehorse. He is now available for re-homing/re-training and details of this one and others may be found at http://www.lucindarussell.com/607.htm .