Champion jockey Tony McCoy, who attracted a bumper midweek crowd to Kelso for his final ride at the Borders track, received a rousing reception after securing win number 204 of the season.
The legendary “A P” rode Cheltenham Gold Cup prospect Holywell to head the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase, running his rivals ragged with an impressive 25-lengths win yesterday (Thursday).
“I would say he’ll have a decent chance in the Gold Cup but whether I ride him will depend on Mr McManus as he’s got Carlingford Lough in the race,” said McCoy.
Another notable victor was Glingerburn, who completed a hat-trick of wins to head the feature Timeform Morebattle hurdle race. Unbeaten over hurdles, the winner carries the colour of Carlisle racecourse chairman James Westoll.
Trainer Nicky Richards is still considering future plans for his charge.“He’s in at Cheltenham, but there’s the Premier Hurdle here at the beginning of next month, and then there’s Aintree or the Scottish Champion, so we’ll keep our options open,” he explained.
“He’s a good sort of horse and I’ve always had a lot of faith in him,” he added.
Meadowcroft Boy adopted an early lead in the hands of Hawick jockey Craig Nichol, with the Alistair Whillans-trained gelding finishing an undisgraced third.
Nicky Richards and Brian Harding were back in the winners enclosure an hour later to complete a victorious double at the meeting, after Warriors Tale cruised home for a comfortable 10-length success in the penultimate Kelso Annual Members handicap hurdle race.
Under a well-judged ride from Hawick jockey Tom Hamilton – whose elder brother Jamie won the same contest 12 months ago on 2103 Aintree Foxhunters victor Tartan Snow – Douglas Julian proved a popular local winner of the concluding Linglie open hunter chase. The 13-year-old is trained at Galashiels by Katie Scott, who has just been granted a full licence to train, and provided her with an emotional first success under Rules.
Endless Credit saw out the trip well to head the opening Kelso Annual Members novice hurdle race. “He is a nice horse,” said winning owner Mike Newbould, “and was a bit unlucky when he was third on his first run.”
Whats Up Woody was well to the fore in the Monteith Memorial handicap chase and, despite a brave effort under Hawick jockey Jonathon Bewley, was reeled in by William Money in a thrilling finish. Reverting to fences after a lengthy absence, William Money battled gamely in the closing stages to take the spoils for Durham trainer Chris Grant.
“He had a bit of an injury and was off for more than a year,” he explained.“We gave him a couple of runs over hurdles and he was a bit disappointing, so we put him back over fences on decent ground, and he wins.”
Jason Maguire, who was unseated from the hat-trick-seeking The Last Samuri, gave up his remaining rides after suffering a hand injury.
Racing returns to Kelso on Saturday, February 28.
2.00 – ENDLESS CREDIT (J Colliver) 7-2; 2, Thorpe 7-4 fav; 3, I’m Too Generous 8-1.13 ran. M Hammond, Middleham.
2.30 – WILLIAM MONEY ( D O’Regan) 22-1; 2, Velator 12-1 ; 3, Whats Up Woody 4-1. Eight ran. C Grant, Co Durham.
3.00 – GLINGERBURN (B Harding) 14-5; 2, Hawick High 11-10 fav; 3, Meadowcroft Boy 9-2. Five ran. N Richards, Greystoke.
3.30 – HOLYWELL (A P McCoy) 1-4 fav; 2, Fentara 9-1; 3, Diocles 9-1. Four ran. J O’Neill, Cheltenham.
4.00 – WARRIORS TALE (B Harding) 9-2; 2, Tantamount 12-1; 3, Dun to Perfection 18-1. 11 ran. N Richards.
4.30 – DOUGLAS JULIAN (T Hamilton) 12-1; 2, Railway Dillon 5-1; 3, Monogram 9-1. Nine ran. Miss K Scott, Galashiels.