Thursday, 30 March 2017

Kelso - late March meeting

KELSO – Saturday March 25th

 Going – Heavy (soft in places)

The going wasn’t as testing as the previous meeting and the car park was a bit drier! So much on now that this report is a more brief summary than I would like.
Three valuable races to open the card but 20 runners really isn't good enough, and whining from trainers about lack of prize money must stick in their throats on occasions like this.

RUNSWICK ROYAL was impressive in winning the opening two mile hurdle and remains well handicapped on his best form, which this suggests he is near to.
SLEEPY HAVEN ran a creditable second place, setting a decent pace judged by final time and seeing his race out to the line. He’s in good form and ‘ran into one’ here.
Teo Vivo couldn’t match the first two. Conditions suited and it could be that the handicapper has his marked. Cup Final never got into the race, but needs further, while Meadowcroft Boy seems on the down grade.

BIG RIVER has given the impression of being a potentially very decent stayer and was impressive here. He came home well clear in impressive style. He’s a very interesting prospect if chasing next eyar and in the mean time I wonder if Punchestown might suit better than Aintree. He was rather overheating afterwards and it took plenty of water buckets to cool him down, but seemed none the worse when led to the stables.
SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT made a most encouraging return following a lay-off. The winner had too much speedy but Sandy Thomson’s star saw out his race well and goes into the Scottish National in good fettle.
Eminent Poet ran a creditable race in third, but Isaacstown Lad was well held in fourth.

Sadly multiple Grade 1 winner Reve De Sivola suffered a heart attack in the closing stages, collapsing and dying by the last hurdle. I commented to fellow watchers how well he had looked, and he raced with enthusiasm up with the pace until headed two out.

KNOCKARA BEAU bowed out in happier circumstances, though not relishing the conditions here. I was at Kelso when he created a great impression on debut in 2008 and have followed his career closely since, the Cleeve Hurdle win being a real thriller.  Here’s to a long and happy retirement for the old boy.

YALA ENKI made the pace in typical style in the feature 3m 2f handicap chase and kept finding extra up the straight, eventually having a bit to spare over some decent handicappers. He relishes cut in the ground but will be on a career high mark after this.
SELDOM INN was not disgraced in second, challenging at the last, but when it came to a battle of wills the odds were always on the winner. Nevertheless a 10lb rise after his fine effort here last time hasn’t kept him from a winning chance. I presume he will be the Thomson second string at Ayr, with maybe Harry The Viking making up a Thomson trio?
Silver Tassie kept on for third without threatening the winner. Baywing kept on late after getting outpaced from three out and he seems suited by a slog. Could be one for a ‘National’ of some description.

ASCOT DU BRUYERE outjumped his rivals in the novices handicap chase. He went long when asked and was able to shorten up on occasion, a handy quality for a novice. Stood by the final fence, I could see he was tired approaching it but, asked to go long, he responded once again when an opponent was unable to.
Hawkhurst has closed to a length and a half at the last, but couldn’t summon up a fluent leap, hit the fence and Richie McClernon came out the side as the horse veered right. He has ability and was perhaps unfortunate here, but jumping is the name of the game. Minella Suite had moved into contention two out and held a chance but blundered and dislodged his pilot.
Christmas Twenty and Buffalo Ballet blundered and unseated toward the end of the first circuit. The former doesn’t look a natural chaser and the latter has time against him after an interrupted career.

FOREST DES AIGLES confirmed the promise of his previous effort here and had no trouble seeing off four opponents in the 2m 1f 0-120 handicap chase. He looks potentially a bit better than this class and owner Ray Anderson Green intimated that a race may be found at Ayr’s forthcoming National meeting.
Nine Altars wasn’t totally disgraced in second but Casual Cavalier gave way in the straight and Craiganboy never looked to be travelling with fluency. Las Tunas is a weak finisher and having been given his chance up with the pace gave way tamely from three out before being pulled up.

The in-form runner RHYMERS STONE saw off an exposed bunch in the middle distance handicap hurdle. Nothing else particularly gave signs of imminent success.

The best ride of the afternoon was reserved for the closing hunter chase, reduced to a field of three when Green Flag got a kick at the start and was withdrawn.

The winner was MISS BISCOTTI given a front running ride by Emma Todd that got the absolute maximum out of the lowest rated runner in the race. She held on by only half a length, but stays well, relishes the conditions and is clearly willing.
The in form Carlton Ryan was closing at the line but it was always going to be Miss Biscotti who got to the line in front. Mister Marker is not the horse he was and gave way with half a mile to go.  The pointing scene looks more his level now.

We are joining a party of Kelso Members sponsoring a race on April 3rd so I can’t guarantee to give a particularly in depth report, though I will do what I can. We are then spending the following weekend in the Borders, taking in the Melrose Sevens on April 8th before Kelso’s racing on April 10th. Where else would you take your wife on your anniversary weekend?

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