Chidswell can toast treble in Kelso’s Edinburgh Gin Handicap

Trainer Nicky Richards saddles Chidswell in the feature at Kelso. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/PA
Trainer Nicky Richards saddles Chidswell in the feature at Kelso. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/PA
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Chidswell is bidding to complete a hat-trick in the feature race at Kelso.

Successful at Ayr and Sedgefield in February, Nicky Richards’ Greystoke raider faces six rivals in the Edinburgh Gin Handicap Chase.

Richards said: “His jumping has been a bit novicey but he’s getting the hang of things and pops away nicely enough now. It was heavier than ideal at Ayr last time and he should improve for the better ground.

“Brian Harding first came up with the idea to make the running with him and he seems to enjoy being allowed to bowl along. His form is looking pretty smart as he wasn’t beaten far at Carlisle by Cloudy Dream, who ran a blinder in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.”

Among the opposition is Vengeur De Guye, ridden by Inverness-born Alexander Thorne, and runner-up on his last two starts at Sandown and Newcastle. Trained by Lucinda Russell, his one chase win came at Kelso around this time two years ago.

Another interesting contender is Mr Fitzroy, a first runner in Scotland for Berkshire trainer Jo Davis. The gelding has produced a win at Plumpton and a second at Fontwell since making a belated seasonal return in January.

Finaghy Ayr looks the best option in the Kelso Annual Members Chase.

Trained by Ian Duncan, he is far from exposed, especially compared to most of his rivals. Having lost his way over fences when he first tried them, he did end up with a win over hurdles before injury struck. After that success he was off for well over a year, but returned with a win over fences at Carlisle.

Subsequently beaten just a head off 7lb higher at Ayr, on his most recent outing he was travelling well when departing at Hexham. His jumping could be the sticking point, but if he stands up he brings some solid form to the table.

Duncan’s Lochnell has only been raised 8lb for a very easy win last time out and had been in consistent form before that. He is out again in the Newcastle Arms Coldstream Handicap Hurdle and could take all the beating.

Trustan Times has been a very good horse in his day and if he was anywhere near what he was he would be a certainty
in the Queen Head Hotel Handicap Hurdle.

That he is on the downgrade is not in dispute and he left Tim Easterby to join Mark Walford, but he has been freshened up and if there is life in the old boy, he can go well off a mark of 130.

By The Boardwalk can give trainer Kim Bailey a nice boost at what is the start of big week by winning the Racing UK Handicap Chase at Ludlow.

The nine-year-old struck gold at Market Rasen back in October but has had to settle for minor honours on three subsequent outings, most recently claiming fourth at Taunton at the end of December. He probably had little chance of making a real impact that day as he was given a lot to do in the finish and just lacked the necessary pace, but it was still a decent performance.

Eased 1lb by the handicapper, By The Boardwalk remains on a workable mark and can make his presence felt if ridden a little closer to the pace.