STUART Coltherd has his eye on some prize money at Kelso today when his runners include hat-trick seeking Resolute Rerformer in the feature race.
The Selkirk raider, partnered by Derek Fox, faces nine rivals in the £12,000 Bedmax Handicap Chase as bids to follow up wins at Hexham and Carlisle after going up by a total of 17lb.
Coltherd said: “It might not have been a great race at Hexham last time but it was certainly competitive enough. He’s in grand form at home and hopefully he’s still a step ahead of the handicapper – it’s also nice to go for a race with decent prize money at our local track.”
Among the opposition to Resolute Performer is Viking Rebel, a runner-up on both recent starts at Carlisle for his young amateur rider Harry Reed.
Coltherd also saddles Hurricane Rita, Oxalido, Darsi Dancer and Suprise Vendor and he added: “Oxalido could run well in the selling chase if his good second at the Perth festival last time is anything to go by.
“Suprise Vendor should go close in the conditionals race as he’s already won on the Flat at Pontefract and ran well over hurdles this year. He didn’t run so good at Pontefract last time as the race maybe came a little too soon but he seems in good form now so fingers crossed.”
Chester is an obvious favourite track for local owner Dr Marwan Koukash and he again appears to hold the key to the feature event on the opening day of the three-day meeting on the Roodee.
Koukash has seen his colours carried to glory in the Betway Chester Cup for the last two years with Address Unknown triumphing in 2013 while Suegioo, who returns to defend his title, was victorious last year.
While Koukash again fires an array of arrows at the two-mile race, preference is for Gabrial’s King who appears to have plenty in his favour – not least an advantageous low draw in stall three.
Five of his eight career wins have come on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, but his ability is not limited to the Dunstall Park track as he has also proved up to the mark at Kempton, Newbury and York.
That win on the Knavesmire was his most recent success last July with a handful of runs towards the end of the year failing to yield any joy for Richard Fahey’s charge. However, he really caught the eye on his return at Ripon last month when beaten just under four lengths into second by the reopposing Trip To Paris. That rival is clearly well handicapped but Gabrial’s King would have been a fair bit closer with a clear run as he made up plenty of ground in the final furlong and can find most improvement of the pair.