Other commitments kept me away from this meeting, but there were some competitive races on the card yielding decent pointers.
As I have said often enough on this blog, Kelso bumpers are a great source of future winners. I noted MARDALE when third at the Borders venue in September to Meet The Legend, commenting that ‘she would be worth an interest in mares maiden/novice hurdles as such events seldom take much winning up here.’ She scooted up at 7/1 in the Hexham mares’ hurdle today on her jumping debut, and it was a fair bit more competitive than some of these events. She hurdled soundly enough and may turn out to be one of the better novice mares in the north over the coming months. I hope some readers were on today.
MEET THE LEGEND set a hot standard at Kelso, so I eagerly await the reappearance of DUBAI ANGEL, a decent second that day when not looking fully tuned up.
Keep an eye on Sue Smith runners in the coming weeks, particularly those returning after their summer break. The stable is one of the best around for getting horses ready after a break. FRIENDLY ROYAL won yesterday at Hexham and Smith runners have generally been there or thereabouts of late.
The only serious challenger to Friendly Royal was SOLWAY LEGEND who fell at the last when in touch with the winner. The third won well last week so the form has a strong look about it. Lisa Harrison’s runners are generally quite consistent and have a good ratio of places to runs, her other two runners at Hexham finished close up. JOHNNY GO ran a cracker in a very competitive staying handicap hurdle, arguably one of the best races held at Hexham in recent years.
Lucinda Russell’s CELTIC FLAMES was just run out of it in the closing stages of the opening novices hurdle. There was nothing wrong with this effort and he will probably win a hurdle. However, he was a convincing winner of a point at Ballyarthur in April and his serious future lies as a chaser.
From the same race, FAIRY THEATRE made a very encouraging hurdling debut in second place for Iain Jardine. This capable trainer has cranked up his operation in recent times, now operating from Len Lungo’s old yard at Carrutherstown, and don’t be at all surprised if Jardine makes his mark in decent jumps races before long. The likes of Nakeeta and Wor Lass have advertised his talents on the Flat in recent weeks. He also managed to win with Ya Boy Sir after the latter had five years off the track.
I will be at Carlisle on Thursday for what hints at being a cracker of a card to open their autumn jumps campaign. Kelso then pick up the baton again in a fortnight’s time. In depth analysis of these two meetings will be posted after the events. Keep an eye out on the Scotracing twitter account for on the day snippets.