Russell at the double as 4,000-strong crowd heads to races

LUCINDA Russell landed Kelso’s feature £30,000 totepool premier hurdle race on Saturday with 20-1 chance Bold Sir Brian, before completing a double with handicap debutant Golfer’s Crossing.

In front of a bumper crowd of over 4,000, Bold Sir Brian headed a competitive event in the hands of stable jockey Peter Buchanan. The victory could see the gelding, which carries the colours of Berwickshire owner Alexander Trotter, penciled in for the John Smiths Mersey novices hurdle race at Aintree next month.

The Milnathort trainer’s second win came in the concluding Voice of Rugby handicap hurdle race where Campbell Gillies rode Golfer’s Crossing to a nine-length success. Donald Whillans saddled runner-up Leith Walk, ridden by son Callum, with the Hawick trainer’s brother Alistair taking third with 5-2 fav Kings Guard, partnered by his son Ewan.

The Alistair Whillans-trained Storm Brig was well fancied to retain his unbeaten run in the feature hurdle race, only to produce a disappointing show.

Quotica De Poyans followed up a previous success to head the Royal Caledonian Hunt hunters’ chase for Phillipa and Simon Shirley-Beavan from Bonchester Bridge. With Pas de Baratin and Miss Teeny Bash both non-runners, 12 went to post, with the French-bred gelding enjoying a seven-length success over Scotch Warrior, trained in Northumberland by Michael Smith and ridden by Adam Nicol from Hawick.

I See A Star, which finished ninth, was disqualified when the rider weighed-in light.

Skippers Brig carried the colours of Langholm-based Ashleybank Investments Ltd to land the premier chase.

Veteran campaigner Polar Gunner took the opening Bedmax handicap chase – the 14-year-old getting the better of Jim Goldie’s Bene Lad by a length. The well-fancied Tartan Snow, a faller on his previous Ayr start, tripped up on the flat, unseating Jedburgh jockey Gary Rutherford, after clipping the heels of another runner.

Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick rode Nine Stories to win the Cyril Alexander Memorial novices’ chase, defeating Signalman, from James Ewart’s Langholm stable, by two lengths.