KELSO – Wednesday May 4th
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
A decent midweek card as Kelso move towards the summer break, with just Ladies Day to come in late May. To my mind the course was generally good all round with just a softer patch swinging to home. What would have had some effect was a very strong wind blowing straight into the faces of the runners once they turned for home, and I found the pre-racing slog up the straight a tough one.
2.20 2m 7½f Tweedbank Office Dayout Selling Handicap Chase (80-97)
Although he has won in soft ground it was a four runner event and GENROUS CHIEF has been struggling of late in the mud. Back on faster ground in basement company, he was up with the pace all way and outstayed his main challenger from two out. There was no bid despite the enthusiasm of the DBS auctioneer, but you would think Chris Grant will seek to keep him on the go at this level over the summer.
DR BEAUJOLAIS is lightly raced and has presumably had his problems, but is decent enough at this level on his day. Disputing with the winner for most of the way, he looked to be getting the worst of the argument when ploughing through the last, and error from which he didn’t recover but just held second. He looks best on this ground and remains competitive off his current mark of 97.
BENEFIT IN KIND kept on from two out having been outpaced but was flattered by proximity to the second.
CLENAGH CASTLE threatened on the heels of the leaders after three out but was then put in his place. He has few miles on the clock and staying appears to be his game, albeit at a pace equating to a rating of 80.
BESCOT SPRINGS is better than this at best, but his form is up and down and he never threatened.
BRAE ON was out the back most of the way and only passed a couple late on.
MOSCOW MENACE was behind form the twelfth and his recent form is poor, while TUTCHEC was well behind from three out and has been regressive in recent times.
2.50 2m 1f Canada Life Handicap Chase (115-133)
A decent event for an ‘end of season’ contest and a nicely progressive winner.
ALWAYS ON THE RUN set the pace jumping well and kicked on going to the last. The pursuers were catching him toward the line but I suspect he was doing no more than he absolutely had to in front. He won’t go up a huge amount for this so can still get into 0-140 contests and, as last season, will likely be kept going on the faster ground.
SPECIAL CATCH had his chance two out, was then outpaced before closing on the idling winner on the flat. He’s largely exposed, but capable at this level and can handle this ground or softer.
UBALTIQUE was held up in rear and passed a few from two out. Although a shade quirky he wins a shade more than his share of races. The stable representative stated that he will now being given a rest before returning for an autumn campaign.
AYE WELL had a chance two out but was one paced from that point. He has run a few decent races this season and is another that will presumably be off for a summer holiday.
KATGARY was making a first appearance for Pauline Robson and was firmly put in his place from two out. A winner over 2m 5f for Paul Nicholls, his new stable can some encouragement from this effort considering that a serious error four out did not help his cause.
INDIAN VOYAGE has had a busy campaign, running creditably on most occasions, but this may have been one race too many.
CLUES AND ARROWS needed the race on return and was behind by halfway. He has ability and should not be written off.
3.25 2m 6½f Hunter Real Estate Investments Managers Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (89-110)
Sponsors really do need to learn to get to the point quicker with their race titles!
What looked to be a moderate contest at first glance might prove to be quite decent for its level. GOLDEN INVESTMENT looks a staying chaser in the making, led all the way and stayed on well up the hill. I would assume he will go chasing next term and looks capable.
TICKANRUN has yet to win but clearly stays well and kept on to the line for second. A staying hurdle on softer ground will likely suit best.
Lightly raced KK LEXION looked very dangerous before the last but couldn’t quite see out the distance. The race may well bring him on and he should have his day in the sun before long.
BASSARABAD has looked an out-and-out stayer but was outpaced from two out here. He has seemed better with more cut.
Maiden MISTER DON made no impression.
RED STORY was equipped with a cross-noseband which is not typical of Alistair Whillans’s runners. He was comfortably put in his plae from two out.
HEILAN REBEL was disappointing and didn’t appear to benefit form a step up in trip that I imagined would suit.
4.00 3m 2f Bedmax Handicap Chase (84-114)
This was a race featuring largely exposed sort that was run at a decent pace.
SCOTSWELL is decent at this level when on song and made the running until headed two out. He rallied well and was back on top after the last. Although handling soft in the past he is probably at his best on good ground.
WHATS UP WOODY would normally make the pace but didn’t seem overly perturbed by being taken on. He came to lead two out but found the winner stronger from the last. He remains on a workable mark.
COBAJAYISLAND chased the leaders and had his chance but was outpaced going to the last.
MORE MADNESS made his effort three out but didn’t make a serious impression. He’s a plodder best suited by a stamina test but is not often a winner.
BLUE KASCADE looked fit for his return after a break but was well held from three out.
DREAM FLYER never got into the contest and nor did FOOT THE BILL, tailed off in the latter stages and walked in.
LUCEMATIC looked fire up pre-race but well beaten by four out and pulled up two out.
Veteran SOLWAY BAY had retained his zest for the game, but was lack lustre here and tailed off on the final circuit before being pulled up.
VIKING REBEL’s jockey lost his irons at the fifth and had no choice but to go around the next and pull up.
4.35 2m Principal and Prosper Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (105-119)
ASH PARK bounced back to form to add to his Carlisle win. He led two out and saw his race out well. (Since ran a creditable second in what looked a slightly weaker event at Hexham three days later)
DYNAMIC DRIVE has waited out the winter in his comfy stable awaiting the better ground. He put it to the winner two out but was just held despite seeing his race out well. This sound effort augurs well for the summer campaign.
NEVILLE WOODS has changed stables and his intermittent appearances suggest problems. He was mounted on the track which in itself suggests he’s awkward but, having been held up, he kept on well from two out for a never nearer third place and is no lost cause.
WEAPON OF CHOICE made some progress three out but was then outpaced.
THEATRICAL STYLE led three out but was headed two out and weakened.
WHERE’S TIGER returned after a break during which included a wind operation. He made the running until two out but faded quickly and it remains to be seen if this was lack of fitness or a recurring problem.
Most notable to me was that the colours of this one were ‘Primrose, rose hops, rose cap’, which a racing nut would recognise as those of the Earl Of Rosebery. Owner Lady Jane Kaplan is the daughter of the 7th Earl of Rosebery, and it appears has acquired the colours along with her husband Michael.
5.05 2m 5½f Glendale Engineering Novices’ Hunters’ Chase (Class 5)
The open ditch two out was omitted on the final circuit having been badly damaged.
SIX A SIDE has been rattling in the wins in the pointing field, 7 from 14 this side of the Irish Sea. A look back through his record and I note he ran behind The Last Sumari on his last outing in the Irish pointing field. He made a very encouraging Rules debut here, leading two out and sprinting clear in the manner of a decent animal at this level. Emma Todd has proved her training ability with Railway Dillon and has a serious animal on her hands here.
DANEHILL WELLS stepped up on recent Rules efforts and kept on well enough to hold second place. He’s inexperienced over regulation fences and may improve on this in similar company.
NEW VIC couldn’t quite match the level of his Buccleuch Cup effort, chasing the leader from three out but unable to make an impression.
MISS BISCOTTI was outpaced from two out. She has shown glimmers of form under Rules and Gary Rutherford may be able to coax better out of her in points given time.
LITTLE FRITZ led four out going well but couldn’t offer an answer once the stakes were upped going to the omitted two out.
COOTE STREET finished last of the six to get round. His few appearances suggest a poor performer and hunter chasing him is the height of optimism.
CRAZY DIAMOND was one of the three given a strong chance in the market but was most un-cooperative. Not keen to move on the track, he was walked to the start but it became clear he wasn’t going to jump off and he was withdrawn.
The remainder were pulled up.
BEAU TRAVELLER was turned out in a bright pink rug and matching accessories! On the course he’s a Rules maiden and hardly likely to change things at 13. The main mark he left was to walk through the eighth, the open ditch, rendering it unusable on the final circuit. And walk through it he did as he hardly took off!
MR SHAHADY has been placed in weak points but quickly gave way from four out here.
SCOTSMAN raced prominently for a while but struggling from a mile out.
SIR WATTY has won a point but isn’t remotely good enough at this level.
5.35 2m Ferguson Planning and Development Standard Open National Hunt Flat (Div 1) (Class 5)
Two divisions of the bumper gives plenty to keep me happy.
Market Rasen scorer MONTY MEWS quickening nicely off a fair pace and pulling well clear in the final furlong. On looks he has every chance of turning into a jumper.
NICHOLAS T had run two fair races previously and showed plenty of determination when asked to battle for second place. He’s proved rather keen on last two outings but there should be a race in him over hurdles.
TALES OF THE TWEED was the less forward of the two Henderson representatives in the two legs. A third place was an acceptable start, seeing out his race to the line and he should build on this given the summer to strengthen a bit more.
ARCTIC DESTINATION looks all over a jumper in the making. He set a respectable pace and didn’t places lightly in the closing stages. He’s a point winner and worth bearing in mind once going over hurdles.
MAYO STAR was outpointed from three out. He’s a brother to five winners, and not a bad looker, but may just need a little time.
PIKARNIA found this tougher than the two bumpers contested last year.
WARDEN LAW looks a long term project and didn’t have speed enough here, well behind from the home turn.
TRINITY HOUSE is related to winners, the most successful being Scat Daddy a multiple winner around 9 furlongs on US dirt. The downside is that he was a cheap buy and wearing tongue strap on debut. He got well behind and was walked in but doesn’t encourage.
HERE COMES HOVIS was outpaced after a mile and trotted to the finish.
6.05 2m Ferguson Planning and Development Standard Open National Hunt Flat (Div 2) (Class 5)
THOMAS CAMPBELL’s price of 11/2 might well have been due to a seventh place on debut, but he was the more forward of the Henderson runners. He burst away from the pack over a furlong out and sprinted clear. Promising, but his brother Magna Cartor was precocious in bumpers for this stable but showed little over jumps.
UNCLE PERCY was well held by the winner but saw his race out well enough. A promising start for this four-year-old and he looks a fair prospect for Micky Hammond in time.
ACDC was taken off his feet when the pace quickened but stayed on relentlessly from two out to finish a clear third. He didn’t see a racecourse until the age of six, so is clearly a late developer, but this performance suggests that stamina will be his strong suit.
DAKLONDIKE raced prominently but was outpaced from two out. He won his Irish point in a decent time compared with races no the same card, so is worth keeping a quiet eye on for the future.
GET RHYTHM led at a reasonable pace but gave way once headed after two out. He’s an Irish point winner from a race that hasn’t worked out too badly.
POT COMMITTED couldn’t build on a third at Navan after an 80 day break.
TIGER MOUNTAIN was left behind from six out.
GLINGERSIDE was a 48,000 Euro purchase but showed nothing of note here despite looking far enough forward.
BORDER VICTOR looks like a chaser and will need a fair bit of time if he’s to do anything, but he was well tailed off here.