KELSO – Saturday October 18th
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
A bit blowy but sunny and mild at Kelso, with the going decent and much better than that prevalent at Ascot’s big flat meeting.
1.40 2m ½f Isle Of Skye Whisky NH Maiden Hurdle - Division One (Class 4)
A weak contest in which only two ever threatened to take a serious hand.
SPICULAS raced prominently, took it up three out and was pretty much in charge from that point. He built on a decent effort at Hexham and can go on to better things in time.
ANOTHER MATTIE ran a succession of decent races last season without getting his had in front. Plenty fit enough on debut, he once again found one too good having set the early pace. He looks honest enough and should win a similar contest.
Stablemate of the second ALWAYS TIPSY kept on encouragingly from two out, improving on his bumper form.
Big purchase a couple of seasons back PRESENT LODGER has had his problems, wearing a tongue-tie now, but ran well enough in fourth to suggest he isn’t a lost cause.
The likes of COOL ME DOWN, TURTLE CASK and WARRIOR’S TALE are all chasing types who would have found things happy too fast in this contest.
2.10 2m 7½f Clifford and Martin Firth Novices’ Chase (Class 4)
These events are not well supported these days, the worry of getting close to something highly rated presumably being the off-putter.
I NEED GOLD, rated 135, put in an excellent round of jumping and had the race won by two out.
STRAIDNAHANNA is a fine big chasing type but did not jump at all fluently, so it says something that he stayed in contention until the straight. If he tidies up his jumping I would expect him to at least match the winner and more in time.
HARRYS WHIM ran to her best though well held in third.
Point winner MISSION BEACH’s jumping was lousy early on and he simply wasn’t good enough to keep up on the last circuit. He is now qualified for handicaps and low grade in that sphere will be his target.
2,45 2m ½f Isle Of Skye Whisky NH Maiden Hurdle – Division Two (Class 4)
A much better event than the first heat.
SELDOM INN, a bumper winner at Newcastle last term, won this impressively. He cruised into contention two out and left his rivals standing on the flat. I would expect him to improve for a step up in distance.
DEFINITELY GLAD is the fly in the ointment of this form as she is only rated 97. To my eye she ran above that level here, leading for much of the way and comfortably holding the remainder.
CARRIGEEN LANTANA was held up, briefly threatened to get involved but couldn’t get to the first two.
AZURE GLAMOUR has every chance but wasn’t good enough from two out.
SPECIAL WELLS is a big chasing type that will improve with time. Worth noting as long term project.
BENNYLICIOUS challenged on the final bend having chased the leader but was probably getting the worst of the argument when unseating two out. He created a decent enough impression on debut, particularly given that he looked to need the race and will likely go on to better things.
3.20 EDF-ER Barmoor Handicap Chase (114-138)
A competitive looking event won very comfortably by CARLITO BRIGANTE who is a bit better than this level than when at his best. He’s best on good or quick ground and stayed on very well to leave some fair staying handicappers in his wake. He will go up significantly for this win which will necessitate aiming at high level three mile handicaps.
GLEANN NA NDOCHAIS recorded a career best effort in second. I was told by another racegoer, watching down the far side, that his jockey had to take a pull six out. Held by a better animal, he saw out his race well and this augurs well going forward. He used to be hit-or-miss, but ‘hit’ is starting to dominate.
NEPTUNE EQUESTER stays all day and was pickling off horses in the closing stages. He often makes it seem hard work, but seems in good heart.
BEEVES was held form two out. He’s a moody character and doesn’t especially well treated at this point in time.
FILL THE POWER looked plenty fit enough but was beaten four out.
Having been used to IMPERIAL VIC being turned out looking very fit by previous trainer Michael Smith, it was quite a surprise to see him clearly well short of peak fitness in the paddock. Harriet Bethell clearly has different ideas on preparing this one, new tactics being tried here as he was held up and it was no surprise to see him labouring four out and he was well beaten. Favourite backers were clearly unaware that this one needed the race and I’d want to have a good look at him in the parade ring in future races.
3.55 2m ½f Carnacrack Handicap Hurdle (97-117)
Apparently refreshed after a season away from hurdling, MASON HINDMARSH built on a promising second here last time. He led, pulled away from two out and won very comfortably. He will be bumped up significantly for this but is clearly in good nick.
AMILLIONTIMES has been doing his small yard proud recently and ran a decent race in second, keeping on to the line if never threatening the winner.
BEIDH TINE ANSEO ran an encouraging race after a 510 day lay-off. He progressed to chase the leader three out but couldn’t make any further impression. This was encouraging and he is well handicapped on his best efforts.
DYNAMIC DRIVE has been kept on the go and kept on into fourth without seriously threatening.
4.35 2m 6½f RP Adam Ltd Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
Jackie Stephen has been doing a fine job from her Inverurie stable, a location which involves a trip of around two and a half hours to get to her nearest course at Perth and another two hours on for Kelso. Amilliontimes and MO ROUGE have done the stable proud this season, the latter coming from quite a way back two out but, despite being severely hindered by One for Arthur t the last, staying on well to take this contest. I felt on first seeing Mo Rouge that he had the make of a chaser, and I strongly suspect he is capable of stepping up on hurdle form once tackling the bigger obstacles. He was flying at the finish and gave the impression he can step up over three miles.
DONNA’S DIAMOND looked the likely from three out, but was tired on the run-in, wandered toward the stands’ rail and have nothing left to give. A decent effort on hurdles debut against a previous winner and he should have no trouble winning a hurdle or two.
ONE FOR ARTHUR is a chasing type, but should pick up a hurdle in the meantime. He challenged from two out but looked tired at the last, wandering Across Mo Rouge, and there was no more left. Some of Lucinda Russell’s runners have seemed a run off their best and he should be all the better for this outing.
ISLA PEARL FISHER probably ran up to his best hurdles form, in contention two out but tapped for speed from there. This pipe opener will help for a chasing campaign.
Under a penalty WICKED SPICE was held from two out.
JACKOFHEARTS was held up, made an effort two out but couldn’t get on terms. He was tired when falling heavily at the last and, with hindsight, maybe should have been pulled up. He was down for a long time and things didn’t look good, but trainer’s daughter Amy McGregor tweeted that he was up and jig-jogging later.
The McGregor’s SNOOZE N YOU LOSE led to the fifth but either downed tools or ran out of puff. There’s no evidence to date that this one is a racehorse and perhaps he should be doing something else.
5.10 2m 1f 82-104 Sire Maxwell Harper Gow Memorial Handicap Chase (82-104)
The best finish of the afternoon with the more exposed SOME LAD just holding off a moderately progressive sort in WAKHAN in a nodding finish. The former has run some good races around here. Wakhan is younger and still a maiden but lacked nothing in commitment at the sharp end.
OORAYVIC went nicely in front, kicked on four out and responded well when challenged though eventually giving best on the flat. On this evidence he is likely to prove better over fences than he was a hurdler.
OSCAR LATEEN showed promise on chasing debut, stepping up markedly on his hurdles efforts. He was outpaced on the run to two out but stuck to his job up the hill.
ROC DE PRINCE raced prominently early but was feeling the pinch when a bad mistake at the seventh ended any chance he may still have held.
YOURHOLIDAYISOVER was well revved up in the preliminaries, not for the first time. He raced keenly before unseating at the third.
5.40 2m 6½f James and Suzanne Gray Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (72-98)
A moderate race won in decent style by ANOTHER DIMENSION who has a fair record of 3 from 18, 2 from 2 at this course and distance. He has rated much higher and could shrug off a weight rise, though he wouldn’t want the ground too soft.
KARINGO is lightly raced but his two efforts here suggest Kelso suits. He was held up and never got to the winner though staying on up the hill to record a best effort to date.
NORTHERN ACRES, who kept on from mid division for third place, is capable on his day at this level though throws in quite a few moderate runs. Much the same comment goes for KING’S CHORISTER who had his chance two out but was held from that point.
FOOT THE BILL was in contention when unseating at the eighth though had six furlongs still to cover.
BALLYREESODE went up 18lbs for his Hexham win and that was plenty enough to stop him on this occasion.