KELSO – Saturday February 28th
Going – Good to Soft
A chilly day to see out February but some decent racing for Kelso’s valuable card, with rain threatening for much of the afternoon before setting in come five o’clock. I walked the course before racing and my estimate was it was good to soft, tending toward soft in places, so I don’t think it would have favoured good ground performers.
1:55 2m ½f Terry Frame Joiners Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
A wide spread of ability in this contest with the two class animals dominating, though a promising run from a newcomer in 3rd place.BALLYBOLEY came to this off the back of running down the pack in the Betfair Hurdle. Much more at home in this company, he raced prominently, took it up two out and didn’t have too many problems after that. If he is aimed at valuable contests this spring I would imagine they will be novice handicaps.
GO CONQUER couldn’t match the winner from two out but ran up to previous form and should gain consolation.Much promise back in third from the Sandy Thomson mare BEECHROAD ALLY who made steady progress from midfield in the last half mile and saw her race out well enough. Apparently she had shown very little at home, but the Thomson stable had her nicely fit for this one and will be most encouraged. She’s worth a try in mares only company as this effort is plenty good enough to win such races in Scotland and the north.
SPINNING AWAY kept on for fourth albeit well held, but is hinting at ability and might turn into a winning racehorse given time.TOMAHAWK WOOD has not gone the right way since a promising jumps debut. He was well beaten here and gave the impression in the paddock of being rather headstrong.
DIAMOND FIZZ was in the process of running into a likely third place when going seriously wrong behind before two out. Sadly he couldn’t be saved.
2:25 2m 1f Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
A decent looking renewal of this contest.
VENGEUR DE GUYE came there swinging two out and came clear of a decent measure in Aye Well. The winner is likely to go on from this decent effort.
FORWARD FLIGHT was outpaced down the far side but kept on up the hill to take third place. He won a hurdle in testing conditions over 2m 4f last season and a step up in distance appears called for.CANGO tried to make all and jumped nicely in front. He gave way before the last and weakened, but I suspect this was a better effort than a bare fourth of four finishers suggests. A bit more cut in the ground would probably help.
DANEHILLS WELL was never going and had a tough task on chase debut. He was struggling by halfway and pulled up in the latter stages.KITCHAPOLY was disappointing and stopped very quickly before four out. The vet found no abnormalities post-race.
3:00 2m 2f totescoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle (Grade 2 Novices' Hurdle)
Kelso’s top event of the season and one that regularly throws up a decent performer. It would have been nice if Channel 4 could have made the effort, though credit to Racing UK who had ‘Broonie’ reporting live from the track.
GLINGERBURN was second to last year’s Clever Cookie on his racecourse debut at Musselburgh in autumn 2012. Turns out he was beaten by a distinctly useful animal that day and Glingerburn has gone from strength to strength this season. He came to challenge going really well and, though briefly hanging and crossing the second, came clear in impressive style. I understand the plan is likely to be either Aintree or Ayr now and it will take a decent animal to lower this one’s colours.
INTENSE TANGO was outpaced before the last, though probably ran up to his level of 140. A bit short of the top level of juvenile a decent juvenile or novice handicap might be a target.
SHADES OF MIDNIGHT had a large collection of followers dressed in yellow and blue scarves. Their charge was not totally disgraced in fourth though outpaced in the home straight. He won well here in more lowly company last time and will find much easier contests.MEDICINE HAT ensured a decent pace was set but was put in his place in the last half mile.
EXCLUSIVE WATERS and NASHVILLE were dropped in the deep end and duly floundered, though the latter did at least pick up some pocket money for completing.
3:35 2m 5½f 84-110 Premier Traffic Management Handicap Chase (for Hamilton Memorial Trophy)
A competitive event for its level. I watched this from down by the last fence which gives a nice view for judging jumping and the progress horses are making.
DOUGLAS JULIAN has never been the most consistent sort, but won nicely in hunter company here last time and put in a fine round of jumping to beat handicappers on this occasion. Trained by Katie Scott, at 27 the youngest trainer in Scotland, Douglas Julian took up the lead and consistently out jumped the opposition. His trainer has him in good heart at the advanced age of 13 and he is now aimed at the Aintree Foxhunters’ Chase.WHAT A DREAM has slipped down the handicap but is capable on his day. He raced up with the pace and had every chance but was outpaced in the closing stages.
ROMANY RYME was in rear at halfway but kept on for pressure from two out. His jumping isn’t as accurate as some.MONOGRAM was beaten by Douglas Julian last time, not looking straightforward when the chips were down. He was held from two out having been on the premises for most of the way.
SADDLE PACK is often held up in rear. He made moderate progress from three out but was never near the leaders.OSCAR LATEEN was well backed off the back of a promising effort in December. He was in touch until weakening before two out. And this looked a step backward.
AMETHYST ROSE was close enough if good enough most of the way but found wanting from three out.
KAI BROON never got involved and was well behind in the last half mile.
LORD REDSGIRTH has been uninspiring in recent outings and made no impact here before being pulled up.
BESCOT SPRINGS was very disappointing and not on a going day, similar to OR DE GRUGY who was being ridden along after a circuit.
RED TANBER is a light of his 2012 self and was beaten four out and soon pulled up.
4:10 2m 7½f totepool Premier Chase (Listed)
A field of a quality that justified the Listed tag and we had the unusual occurrence of all six runners being trained by female trainers. The race has yielded the Grand National winner in two out of the last four years and Carlito Brigante looks best of the two Aintree entries.
RUNSWICK ROYAL was being tested over a new trip but saw the distance out in impressive style, leading at the last and staying on well for victory. I would presume he will be aimed at either Aintree or Ayr.
CARLITO BRIGANTE would not have been suited by the tacky ground, since he is definitely best. He didn’t threaten the leaders in the final half-mile but kept on to take third. He may not disgrace hims3elf at Aintree should the going come up good and the Scottish National would be a fall back option.CLOUDY TOO looked well enough after a break and theoretically but a 10lbconcession to some decent animals made a difference. He was outpaced from two out and not dangerous from that point.
Dianne Sayer is now forced to fly quite high with BAILEYS COINCERTO after a rattling good 2014. He raced keenly in rear and was held from four out.SAPHIR RIVER was on and off the bridle and struggling when coming down four out. He was returned to the stables in the horse ambulance but sadly had suffered a broken shoulder and was put down. He was a decent performer on his day and capable at this level, but plagued with bad feet and thath probably kerbed his career achievements.
4:45 Andersons Award Winning Butchers North Berwick Handicap Hurdle (84-110)
A big field full of exposed performers.LUCEMATIC was brought back fresh off a 21 month absence. He made headway going out on to the final circuit, joined issue two out and looked a likely comfortable winner only to hang on desperately as the second renewed his challenge. He has only run 10 times and has three wins to show for his efforts. If he can be kept fit there may still be some improvement to be eked.
The racecard summary wasn’t madly complimentary about OMID but on this occasion he rallied well having set the pace for a long way before being outpaced with half a mile to go. He has to be caught on th3 right day but has a respectable record over jumps and will continue to be competitive in similar events.BALLYVOQUE ran well enough in third but was put in his place approaching the last flight.
CONJOLA has fewer miles on the clock than some. He had every chance two out but was held up the final climb. He has decent form with a bit more cut in the ground.GOLANS CHOICE ran respectably in fifth if held from before the last. His connections will be hoping for a little respite from the handicapper.
Pint sized Alison Waugh is often seen leading round the stable charges, but was aboard NEWYEARSRESOLUTION on this occasion. He was finding the task of running from 9lbs wrong a bit beyond him when coming down three out.DUN TO PERFECTION, decent at this level on his day, ran no sort of race this time. He lost a shoe and finished distressed, so presuming he gets over whatever was ailing him he can be forgiven this race.
5.20 3m 2f Newcastle Arms Coldstream Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 6)
Two serious competitors were followed home by three point-to-pointers from the same stable.
MAJOR MALARKEY has been a decent stayer, 11th in Aurora’s Encore’s National, and clearly retains enough ability for this level. He made all jumping well and had the race comfortably won by two out.RAILWAY DILLON had to be on top of his game and was being pushed along to cover the winner by the twelfth fence. His chance had gone barring accidents by the home turn.
A Victor Thompson trained trio filled the next three places, SENOR ALCO staying on from well back a mile out to take third place. TOMMYSTEEL was arguably third best on the day since he did at least take on the first two until feeling the pinch before four out. WAR ON never got competitive.BAYFIRTH isn’t good enough at this level and was well behind on the final circuit before being pulled up approaching two out.