Lucinda Russell tastes victory at Kelso
Russell said: “He won the novice chase on this card last year and he’s probably the best handicapped in the yard. Derek [Fox] gave him a fabulous ride and, as he jumps so well, we will look at the Becher Chase or the Borders National back here if he doesn’t get in.”
Sandy Thomson, based just a few miles from the track, was all smiles after the Danny Cook-ridden Seldom Inn, owned and bred by Borders funeral director Bill Walker, came home a convincing winner of the novices’ chase.
The Greenlaw trainer said: “My wife Quona gave Willie Mullins a lift to Perth back in the spring and she gleaned some info and one or two tips from him. This horse has filled out and done well and it wasn’t the worst thing that he is still a novice after finishing second twice last season including in this race.
“He isn’t the most natural of jumpers and Danny said he got a bit lonely in front at the last. He is always good at this time of year and he stays well – the further the better.”
Chris Grant has his horses in decent order and he struck with Kalaniti, supported late into 8-1 from 14’s, in the maiden hurdle under Brian Hughes on just his second ride since a first career four-timer at Carlisle on Thursday.
The Billingham trainer said: “She schooled OK for this hurdles debut but is still a little bit raw. She ran about a bit and was green in front but I’m pleased with that and for her owners.”
Hughes completed a double when very well backed Runswick Days, owned by former trainer John Wade, took the long-distance chase on his first run for George Bewley.
Meanwhile, Andrea Atzeni won the Racing Post Trophy for a fourth successive year when Rivet made nearly all the running at Doncaster.
Winner of the Champagne Stakes at the track last month, the William Haggas-trained youngster looked to be doing too much in front but he fended off challengers one by one. Aidan O’Brien’s Yucatan was hard at work some way out before staying on to take second, a length and three-quarters away, with Salouen placed yet again at the highest level.