By Samantha (7/4/18)
The ITV cameras head up to Kelso for the first time to cover today’s card at Kelso and it has pretty much everything a National Hunt fan would want after a week of cancelled meetings and bad weather. The ground is currently heavy so the two three mile two furlong races will be stamina sapping and for people who prefer two mile hurdle races, the second race looks a competitive affair. The card lacks big stars but it acts as a good starter for what will be a brilliant week of racing with the Aintree Grand National meeting beginning on Thursday.
Sue And Harvey Smith Chase
Just four runners go to post in a very competitive race that any of them could win. JUST GEORGIE comes from the sponsor’s yard and has been in good form of late. He won on heavy over three miles at Wetherby in February and was only four and a half lengths behind Hogan’s Height in third last time out in a race over two miles four furlongs which could’ve been on the short side for him. Going back up to three miles will suit him. Hills Of Dubai was second in that race ahead of Just Georgie but he is yet to tackle three miles. He likes the ground and is two from three over fences. He has to carry 1lbs more than Just Georgie this time around. Acdc has been very consistent over fences, winning twice. He is proven over the distance and ground so he definitely has a shot. Teddy Tee hasn’t won for over three years. That win was over three miles on heavy ground at Ayr in January of 2015. He is yet to be out of the first three over fences so could finally break his winning drought.
Totescoop6 Handicap Hurdle
There are two course and distance winners in the line up. They are stablemates Taxmeifyoucan and Mirsaale. TAXMEIFYOUCAN is only four and has ran three times over hurdles winning twice including last time out on heavy at Kelso over two miles beating Sam’s Gunner who won the Grade Three Novices’ handicap Hurdle final at Sandown. The four times flat winner comes into his first handicap rated 130 and that could be his downfall but I’m willing to take the chance. Mirsaale is the other course and distance winner. He’s won five of his sixteen starts over jumps and just managed to win over course and distance in January. He hasn’t shown much since though. He is 4lbs higher than his last winning mark and this looks a tough task for him with 11st 12lbs to carry. Reverant Cust had Mirsaale behind him when he was second last time out over two miles on soft at Newcastle. He’s won over two miles on heavy in March 2017 at Newcastle. Monfass has been third on all of his starts this season and has been behind Mirsaale and Reverant Cust in separate occasions, once over course and distance. Keyboard Dancer is lightly raced and a distance and ground winner. He is a quirky sort and ran out on the paddock bend at Haydock last time taking out the short-priced favourite and finishing last of three. Card Game hasn’t ran since June and she has finished second after a long lay off before so that is a positive for Ruth Jefferson’s mare. Ulbatique has won twice on heavy and is coming back from chasing.
Liz Adams Memorial Handicap Chase
YALA ENKI won this last year and comes back after a good sixth in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival. Before that, he trounced his rivals into the mud at Haydock in the Grand National Trial beating probable favourite for the Aintree showpiece, Blaklion, by fifty four lengths. Wild West Wind refused one of the fences in that race. My selection loves the mud and the course. He has stamina in abundance and he is 6lbs higher in the handicap than last year. Baywing won the four mile Betfair Eider Chase with ease on soft ground. He hasn’t ever ran well around the track before but he loves the sticky going and is a major player. Wild West Wind made a winning seasonal debut but is yet to finish since. He may also not stay the trip. Similarly, Lake View Lad is yet to contest a race of this distance and has won over two miles seven furlongs. Seldom Inn is probably the best each way shot as he has ran well on both starts this season and was second last year behind Yala Enki. Harry The Viking is Seldom Inn’s stablemate and he won over the trip at Carlisle and was third over further last time out in December. Chic Name was a 100/1 shot for the cross country chase at Cheltenham and ran a blinder to finish fifth so he isn’t without a chance.
Edinburgh Gin Handicap Hurdle
Donna’s Diamond was last seen in the World Hurdle finishing eleventh and has top weight today. He is the Grade 2 Rendlesham winner and brings some class to the field. He is a distance winner and has won over three miles two furlongs. LETEMGO is one of two course and distance winners in the field. He won over course and distance in January and then was looking for a four timer when he unseated his rider after being hampered at the end of March and is a good each way shot in this at a large price. The other is Landecker. His course and distance win came on similar going but he couldn’t repeat his winning run last time out over three furlongs less. Western Rules, Takingrisks, Eminent Poet and Kris Spin are all last time out winners but Kris Spin is the only distance winner of the four but he has lots of weight to carry. Lastbutnotleast disappointed last time out at Leicester and steps up in trip today. Arthur’s Secret looks up against it but he has placed over further but that was on good ground. He has no winning form on heavy ground and hasn’t won over obstacles since breaking his maiden tag in 2015.
Ashleybank Investments Reg and Betty Tweedle Handicap Chase
Oak Vintage is the only last time out winner in the line up. He is a course and distance winner on good in November but he has no winning heavy ground form but has placed on it. CAROLINE has been a model of consistency this season, only out of the top three once. She won over nineteen furlongs on Boxing day on soft at Wetherby so the distance won’t be a problem for this daughter of Martaline. Martiloo is also by Martaline. She is one from nine in career starts and that win was over two miles on good to soft. She unseated and pulled up on her only two starts on on heavy so that’s a worry. Charlie Snow Angel was pulled up behind Oak Vintage last time out. The nine year old won for the first time in January over two miles on soft ground. Vengeur De Guye beat Halcyon Days and Craiganbay at Ayr in October on soft ground. The former is a course and distance winner but the two latters are better off in the weights.
Belhaven Best Handicap Hurdle
HAUL US IN is looking for a three timer after winning at Hexham and Ayr. A heavy ground winner, she will probably be in contention at the end of the race. Nick Alexander is double handed in this with the top weight Road To Gold and course winner Another Mattie. Another Mattie seems to be the pick of the two. He was only three lengths behind the winner last time out in an amateur riders’ race in March over three miles on soft. Road To Gold won at Kelso over two miles on heavy in 2016. This season he has been three from three, five from five, pulled up and five of seven. Also he has to carry 11st 12lbs so he looks up against it. The rest look to not have much of a chance.
Totesport.com Open Hunters Chase
DUHALLOW TORNADO is looking for a five timer. He has won his one start under rules and that was in March by three and a quarter lengths and is a very good point to pointer. Cultram Abbey has been beaten under a length on all of his runs this season and looks the main challenger. Leavethelighton and Nine Altars bring good point to point form into this but i think it will be between Duhallow Tornado and Cultram Abbey.