KELSO – Saturday October 22nd
Going – Good To Soft
The chase rail was moved out significantly giving a finish on the chase course no more than half a dozen horse wide. Last hurdle was 150 yards out with second last about as near to the home bend as it could be. On my pre-racing course walk I judged going descritpion pretty accurate although intermittent rain during the afternoon meant that rain had started to get into the ground by mid afternoon.
2.00 2m Ian Anderson Memorial NH Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
Pace on from the start here and the runners were soon strung out. Paul Nicholls BRIO CONTI trained was a warm favourite but there looked a bit to work on and we were none the wiser after he departed at the first.
The mare KALANITI showed plenty of promise in bumpers last term and showed plenty of determination to see off her main challengers from the last. She’s a nice mare and would be a shoo-in with a penalty in a mares’ only event.
SAMMY B isn’t the most handsome gelding but has shown some promise and saw out his race well enough for second place. This was a decent enough comeback and he can move on from here.
Unusually for Donald McCain he appeared to have left a bit of condition on MIDDLEBROW. He led until after two out and could muster only one pace on the flat. He will come on for this and, though the form isn’t top rate, can progress.
One to take out of this race long term is MEDAL OF FREEDOM. He raced prominently on hurdles debut before giving way approaching two out. The race will be of benefit and he will likely turn into a chaser in time.
LAST DATE is another chasing sort who will need time, but was not totally disgraced in fifth.
OISHIN had minor places in moderate bumpers before this. Maurice Barnes is not one to rush his charges and this one definitely needed the race and was well beaten.
PEPPAY LE PUGH was hampered at the first and despite progress at halfway never got into the race and was pulled up. He’s probably capable of better.
2.35 2m 7½f Cliffrod and Martin Frith Memorial Novices’ Chase (Class 4)
This event normally throws up some decent animals and this didn’t look a bad renewal.
SELDOM INN lost his way over fences last season and didn’t make a mark over hurdles subsequently. He looked a different animal this time round, settling better and generally jumping well though ploughing through the last when comfortably clear. He could be a bit decent if able to repeat this from, though Sandy Thomson’s campaign for him will be determined by his new mark though it appears that handicapper has down rated others rather than being too harsh on Seldom Inn.
BALLYBOKER BREEZE, a previous winner at Perth, was well held from three out.
WARRIOR’S TALE, another Perth winner, was well back in third and the handicapper has dropped him 8lbs. He led to four out but had nothing left in the straight.
CAPTAIN REDBEARD looked fit enough but was not good enough in this company. He’s rated 114 and would be much better off in a novices’ handicap.
URBAN HYMN has had spells off the track. He looked fit, a typical Jefferson sort, raced prominently for a long way but weakened quickly from three out. He looks the business but a better run is needed to prove all is physically well.
3.10 3m 2f EDF-ER Handicap Chase (109-135)
The feature race of the afternoon and one I watched from down by the second last, the open ditch.
ONE FOR ARTHUR has promised to be a decent animal, and beat Seldom Inn in last year’s renewal of the previous event. He travelled well and pinged the second last coming to take it up from a willing front runner. He quickly pulled clear in the closing stages and the Becher Chase is now on the agenda, an event for which he will lack nothing in jumping ability.
SCOTSWELL can be difficult to get past on a good day and ran will real zest here. He had all bar the winner beaten off by two out but just couldn’t live with that one from two out. He’s in good heart and worth noting when able to dictate.
PENA DORADA had a tough ask in this company but performed with a degree of credit, seeing off the remainder of the pursuing group from two out. Not especially well handicapped but this was a decent effort.
KILFINICHEN BAY has been on the go through the summer. He had no real excuse here, outpaced from three out.
CYCLOP was struggling when doing well to stand up after making a complete horlicks of two out.
NO PLANNING may need more testing conditions and was outpaced from three out.
BALLYROCK didn’t look to be going well at any point and was well behind when pulled up before two out, equally off the mark PRESENTED accompanying him past the last two.
3.40 2m 7f Myles McNulty You’re Never Fifty Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
When Nicky Richards prepares one spot on for Kelso get on! ANOTHER BILL was the fittest here and wore down his two main rivals to win this contest. He may have a tougher task under a double penalty in future and could be forced into handicaps.
ARCTIC DESTINATION was made favourite but looked a bit short of full fitness. He led before two out until the last and saw out his race. He will come on for this outing and his winning turn looks merely delayed.
GRAN PARADISO was outpaced before two out and might have been expected to get a bit closer here.
The race didn’t hot up until the last half mile and only other contestant who is worth a note is NOMOREBLACKJACK who made the pace before giving way two out. He looks a chasing type that may well find his level given time.
4.15 2m Sir Maxwell Harper Gow (89-115) Handicap Hurdle
COOL BARANCA ran a cracker from out of the weights at Market Rasen recently and followed up in emphatic style under an excellent ride from Emma Sayer who was recording a first win at Kelso (I had to check that one as I couldn’t believe it!). Held up as is beast, Cool Barance cruised through from two out and took it up to win most comfortably. She may well follow up as long as the going doesn’t turn too testing.
Emma Sayer, who will be gifted Cool Baranca once the mare’s career has finished, has taken up a position as PE teacher in a Cumbrian secondary school. She has reverted to amateur status and is worth noting against fellow amateurs as there won’t be many better.
BIG RIVER needs further and I would imagine has a future over fences, so a staying on second here was most encouraging. A decent effort off a lay-off and he looks very well handicapped whether he stays hurdling or goes chasing.
ZARU ran most creditably after two years off and is clearly no back number. Having led to two out he could only raise the one pace but this run suggests James Ewart can eke a race or two out of him in the coming months if he can be kept fit.
OAK VINTAGE was outclassed by traditional Dancer in a match here last time and his limitations were signalled in this company, being outpaced from two out.
LEVELLING looked plenty fit enough, but was well held on debut for Marjorie Fife. He’s young though and has the odd bit of promise in previous form.
4.50 2m 7½f Bruce Farms Handicap Chase (76-98)
A moderate event full of well exposed stayers.
RUNSWICK DAYS has been off his game on recent runs, but going back a while has decent form at this level in the book. George Bewley would appear to have sweetened him nicely as he led two out and won quite nicely. He ran off 76 here and, given his previous marks, he would still be a likely contender when re-assessed and may be capable of scoring a co8uple of times before the handicapper catches up.
PROUD GAMBLE has been showing decent form and saw his race out for a decent second place. He doesn’t have as many miles on the clock as some and is worth a glance in similar company.
ROSQUERO is inconsistent but competitive at this level when he fancies it. He had his chance in the straight but gave way before the last.
MY IDEA disputed for a long way but was beaten in fourth when unseating at the last.
BROTHER SCOTT looked fit enough and had his chance, disputing for a fair way, but finished well beaten and is difficult to win with.
APACHE PILOT has shown his best form at stiffer tracks. He was well behind in the latter stages.
INNIS SHANNON jumped abysmally in rear, yet Jonathan Bewley managed to coax her close enough to chase the leaders on the home turn. Efforts told from that point and she was pulled up. She’s only six and if her trainer can sort her jumping she will win at this level.
MOSCOW MENACE is a headstrong sort, two handlers in the paddock, and blows himself out in his race.
5.25 2m 6½f BARK C.J. Training Series Handicap Hurdle (74-100)
Not a great event and a case could be made to oppose most here for one reason and another Tim Vaughan spotted a long range opportunity for the maiden BASSARABAD who stayed on too strongly for his opponents. Seemingly well regarded in early days he has dropped to a mark he can cope with and stayed on well enough from two out to break his duck. He copes with softer ground and may build on this.
BINOWAGH BAY was thereabouts most of the way but outpointed from the last. His form is mixed but he has a fair record when travelling over the Irish Sea.
PRESENT TREND had his chance but was outpaced going to the last. She’s lightly raced and may find a chance in a lowly event dropped back in distance.
HONEYCHILE RYDER was apparently mis-pronounced by Gareth Topham, as I reckon it should a southern US Honey Chil’ rather a ‘Honey Chilli’, but others may know better. She’s very moderate and was put in her place from two out.
KING’S CHORISTER can win at this level on his day but looks increasingly less inclined as time goes on. His last win was in March 2015 when he had our now retired slowcoach The Village back in fifth.This trip probably stretches MOMKINZAIN’s stamina