Buccleuch Cup Day
Monday 11th April 2016
Thomson’s Buccleuch Cup triumph
By Bill Harvey
New Vic (25-1), trained by Quona Thomson, wife of Sandy, clinched her first success under rules in a dramatic finish to the Borders Carers Centre-sponsored Buccleuch Cup at Kelso on Monday 11 April.
Ridden by Selkirk’s Rachael McDonald for Duns owner-breeder Peter Dale, New Vic stayed on well to beat Damiens Dilemma by 10 lengths after the 15-8 fav Ardea exited at the final fence.
“I’m thrilled to have owned and bred the Buccleuch Cup winner. That makes it extra special and Quona has given me one of the proudest days of my racing life,” said an elated Dale.
Sandy Thomson-trained Imperial Prince (8-1), ridden by Steven Fox, sealed a memorable double for the Greenlaw husband and wife in front of an 1800-strong crowd on a great afternoon for Borders trainers.
Sandy Forster’s 13-8 fav Lowanbehold, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, clinched his second Kelso victory over fences this month for the Yetholm-based yard in convincing style and What’s Up Woody (7-2 fav) scored for George and Jonathon Bewley to clinch a fourth Borders success at the meeting.
Mike Smith’s promising stayer Nakadam (9-4 fav) captured the £12,000 Eildon Hill Stables Handicap Chase (for the Haddington Jubilee Cup) under Richie McLernon and looks a decent prospect for the Galston yard.
Smith said of the fifth Scots-trained winner at the meeting: “He’ll go for the Highland National at the Perth Festival on Friday week.”
The annual fund-raising lunch for the Borders Carers Centre, staged since 2001, raised the grand total of £20,000.
The November Meeting
Saturday 7th November 2015
Lad’s victory thrills club members / Star shines bright
By Bill Harvey
Nicky Richards-trained Isaacstown Lad (11-4 fav), successful at Kelso and Perth in May, clinched the hat-trick in impressive style for the 40-member M S Borders Racing Club at a rain-drenched Kelso on Saturday 7 November.
Brian Harding’s mount revelled in the soft going to win the Graeme Todd & Friends Handicap Hurdle by 7 lengths in front of a 3160-strong crowd at the award-winning Borders track.
“He loved the testing ground and stays very well. I’m really pleased for the owners – they are very brave and remarkable and this success gives them a great lift,” said Richards.
Sandy Thomson’s 2014 Scottish Borders National hero Neptune Equester emerged with great credit in finishing second and looks set for this year’s renewal on Sunday 6 December.
Kilgefin Star (7-2) impressed in the Frank Flannigan Skiphire & Border Skiphire Handicap Chase for Tyneside trainer Michael Smith, staying on strongly under Henry Brooke to strike by 9 lengths.
Indian Voyage, backed from 16-1 to 12-1, lifted the £12,000 Mayfield Restaurant Handicap Chase for Maurice Barnes and Daragh Bourke in great style by 7 lengths.
Jonniesofa (9-2) won the opener for Rose Dobbin and Craig Nichol and Throthethatch (9-4 fav) starred for Lucinda Russell and Peter Buchanan in the novices’ handicap chase.
Nick Alexander’s Clan Legend, backed from 20-1 to 10-1 in the morning, landed the gamble at odds of 4-1 under 10lb claimer Blair Campbell by a head in the novices’ handicap hurdle.
The Halloween Meeting
Saturday 24th October 2015
Russell, Buchanan and Thomson savour 117-1 Kelso hat-trick
By Bill Harvey
Milnathort trainer Lucinda Russell, stable jockey Peter Buchanan and Kelso-born owner Deborah Thomson celebrated a memorable 117-1 hat-trick in front of a 3480-strong crowd at the award-winning Borders track on Saturday 24 October.
Big River (13-8 fav) and One For Arthur (4-1) impressed on their hurdling and chasing debuts respectively and Alizee de Janeiro (8-1) sealed the three-timer in the Sir Maxwell Harper Gow Memorial Handicap Hurdle to give Ulsterman Buchanan his first treble under rules.
“Big River and One For Arthur look two of our best prospects for the future. I’m thrilled for Pete to have ridden his first treble,” said an elated Russell.
Thomson added: “I’m totally overwhelmed and would like to thank Lucinda and Pete, and Kelso as well – it’s the best racecourse on the planet!”
Nicky Richards-trained Gold Futures (15-8 fav) and 43-year-old Brian Harding lifted the £17,000 EDF-ER Handicap Chase in game style under top-weight of 11st 12lb.
“He’s a grand horse and might be a Scottish National horse one day,” said Richards of the exciting six-year-old son of Gold Well.
Welsh teenager Sean Bowen, last season’s champion conditional jockey, rode his first Kelso winner on the Brian Ellison-trained Oscar Blue (10-11 fav).
Hawick conditional rider Blair Campbell (20) enjoyed his first Kelso success on the Nick Alexander-trained Andhaar (12-1) to bring the curtain down on a tremendous afternoon’s jumping action.
Border Principal Race Day
Sunday 4th October 2015
Simply Ned Thrills Richards/Hobbs savours Kelso First
By Bill Harvey
Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned (6-4 fav) captured the £22,500 NSPCC School Service Handicap Chase for the second successive year in great style in front of a 3350-strong crowd at Kelso on Sunday 4 October.
Simply Ned, ridden by 42-year-old Brian Harding, stayed on strongly from the final fence to beat the gallant Robin’s Command by three lengths in one of the best steeplechases staged at the award-winning Borders track in recent times.
“That was some performance to give Robin’s Command nearly two stone. He is a real high-class chaser over two miles,” said an elated Richards.
“Kelso deserve great credit for staging this valuable prize. Simply Ned will go for the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham next,” added the Greystoke trainer.
Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs saddled his first Kelso winner as Hello George (4-6 fav) won the Borders Employment Law Intermediate Hurdle under Richard Johnson in impressive fashion by six lengths.
“It’s an excellent track with a terrific atmosphere and we’ve really enjoyed our visit,” said the Minehead maestro.
Present Flight stormed to a 7-1 success for Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox and Touch Of Steel (2-1) repeated last month’s Kelso victory for James Ewart and Dale Irving.
Robin’s Command’s trainer Rose Dobbin saddled Donapollo (7-2) to strike in the Walking The Courses Handicap Chase under Craig Nichol as Richard Farquhar completed the 37th leg of his remarkable fund-raising charity challenge in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK and Racing Welfare.
The Twilight Meeting
Wednesday 16th September 2015
Nichol savours Robin’s Command performance / Welsh raider strikes
By Bill Harvey
Robin’s Command (4-1), the rising star of Rose Dobbin’s South Hazelrigg yard, captured the headlines with an impressive victory in the Straightline Construction Handicap Chase at Kelso’s twilight fixture on Wednesday 16 September.
Craig Nichol’s mount stormed clear from the second-last fence to clinch his third Kelso success by 8 lengths in front of an 1800-strong crowd on a glorious evening at the award-winning Borders track.
“I’ve ridden him to all his eight wins and that was his best display yet. Rose and Tony (Dobbin) deserve great credit. He is in the form of his life,” said the elated Hawick jockey.
Nichol (21) sealed an 18-1 brace on the deeply impressive Keith Dalgleish-trained debut winner Meet The Legend (11-4), owned by Straightline Construction Ltd, in the closing bumper.
Tim Vaughan’s Welsh raider Makethedifference (6-4 fav), ridden by Michael Byrne, captured the £15,000 Bruce Farms Supporting World Horse Welfare Handicap Hurdle, attracting over £6000 in major bets.
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott and top jockey Richard Johnson joined forces to strike with Romany Ryme (3-1) and Touch Of Steel, backed at 20-1 in the morning, was a 9-1 winner for James Ewart and the talented Dale Irving.
Waterclock (2-1) won the Barbara McLeod Maiden Hurdle, staged in memory of Kelso’s oldest member, who sadly died at the grand age of 103 this summer.
Kelso’s managing director Richard Landale said: “It’s been a tremendous start to the season and the jockeys’ charity team jumping challenge in the afternoon proved a great success.”