MILNATHORT trainer Lucinda Russell completed a victorious double at another bumper Kelso meeting on Saturday, including the afternoon’s televised feature handicap chase.
The Scottish handler saddled 8-1 chance Bescot Springs to head the £15,000 EDF-ER Fallago Rig handicap chase, and added a second success at the Borders track when The Cockney Squire took the 1st Choice Fire Protection Services novices’ handicap chase.
The former race was not without its drama – the hat-trick-seeking Columbus Secret bursting through the tape to cause a false start, before crashing out at the first.
His exit saw Heez A Steel brought down at the fence, which was omitted on the next two circuits, while jockey Alistair Findlay received medical attention.
Getting over a stone from runner-up, Garleton, Bescot Springs cruised up the extended run-in for a comfortable 13-length success.
The winner, who has had just five chase starts, was described by his trainer as “an improving young horse”.
East Lothian jockey Campbell Gillies, who had come to grief on Columbus Secret, made amends when completing the Russell double on The Cockney Squire.
They enjoyed a six-length victory over the ever-consistent Soul Magic, bidding for his fifth success on the trot for Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham.
Jim Goldie, who saddled third-placed Baaher, had been in the winner’s enclosure half-an-hour earlier when Stormin Exit headed the Cooper Burton 1st Birthday novices’ hurdle race in the hands of Graham Lee.
The winner is set to return to chasing, with the Paddy Power or the Grand Sefton likely targets.
“We’ll go for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but if we don’t get in, we’ll go to Aintree,” said the winning trainer.
A bumper eight-race card, enjoyed by another huge crowd, began with the opening division of the Edinburgh City FC National Hunt maiden hurdle race, in which Simply Ned got the better of the James Ewart-trained hurdling debutant Civil Unrest.
“He’s an unfurnished horse, who has never stopped growing,” said trainer Nicky Richards of the winner. “He’ll make a nice chaser.”
The Ewart stable had to again settle for the runners-up slot in the second division, where Allow Me was shown a clean pair of heels by 25-1 chance Boruler, who enjoyed an 11-length success.
“We thought he was one of the better bumper horses last season,” said winning trainer Donald McCain. “But he was a bit disappointing, although I think he was just weak.”
The Panama Kid stormed home for a ten-length win in the Clifford and Martin Firth Memorial novices’ limited handicap chase.
In a competitive Peter Doyle handicap hurdle race, Weetfromthechaff followed up his previous course and distance success for Brampton trainer Maurice Barnes, who rode Rubstic to his Grand National victory. The Lucinda Russell-trained Beidh Tine Anseo finished second, with The Galloping Shoe taking third for Hawick handler Alistair Whillans.
Solway Silver was 14-1 winner of the concluding Betfair Training Series conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle race for Carlisle trainer Lisa Harrison.
Racing was preceded by a highly-entertaining and well-supported Borders Barmy Army pantomime horse race, won by Five Star Taxis’ Papillon.
n the next meeting at Kelso is on Saturday, November 5.