Century for Craig at Kelso

Another race at Kelso - Liberty Tree jumps into the lead  in the George Harrow Memorial 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race with the eventual winner Another Bill, in red, close behind (picture by Stuart Cobley)
Another race at Kelso - Liberty Tree jumps into the lead in the George Harrow Memorial 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race with the eventual winner Another Bill, in red, close behind (picture by Stuart Cobley)
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Hawick jockey Craig Nichol completed a century of wins on Saturday at his local Kelso track, when Ping provided him with his 100th career victory.

Nichol rode Ping to head the Border Toyota New C-HR novices handicap hurdle race, providing the second leg of a double for Penrith trainer Nicky Richards.

“He had become a bit frustrating but the fitting of blinkers and the drop back in trip has clearly made a difference,” said Richards.

The Greystoke trainer had earlier accounted for the opening George Harrow Memorial National Hunt novices’ hurdle race, when course and distance victor Another Bill maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles by cruising home 10 lengths clear.

“He did well giving weight away to an unexposed horse,” he said. “We’ll wait to see what the handicapper does before deciding whether to give the handicap route a go with him.”

Tree of Liberty made all but looked beaten when a mistake at the last put paid to his chances.

The low autumn sun saw the penultimate and last hurdles omitted before the third race of the afternoon.

Casual Cavalier, from George Bewley’s Hawick stable, provided jockey Brian Hughes with the first leg of a double at a sunny but chilly fixture.

In a thrilling finish, the gelding held Misfits by half a length to post a 4-1 success in the Ship Inn, Dalkeith, novices’ handicap chase.

Formerly with John Wade, the eight-year- old -having his first start since March – was making a victorious debut for George Bewley’s Southdean stable.

Brian Hughes – who also rode two winners at Hexham the previous afternoon – completed his double aboard Trickaway in the Frank Flannigan Skip Hire handicap chase, where the last two fences were scrapped because of the low sun.

Previously with Philip Hobbs, he was also having his first start for a new stable and made it a winning one for in-form trainer Malcolm Jefferson.

“I´ve been given all sorts of instructions about how he should be ridden but I just try to get them fit and on the course,” said the Malton trainer.

“Everyone tells me he´s a quick horse but Brian (Hughes) thought he should go up to three miles, and that’s what we´ll probably do now.”

Lucinda Russell enjoyed a victorious treble at Hexham the previous afternoon and continued her winning form when Imjoeking landed the feature Mayfield Restaurant handicap chase.

“We considered going for a more valuable race at Aintree but I am always delighted to have a winner at Kelso,” said Lucinda. “He’s jumped very well and, if anything, we were inconvenienced by one fence being missed out.”

Neighbouring trainer Nick Alexander saddled Landecker to win the Graeme Todd and Friends handicap hurdle race, under a good ride by his son, Kit. The 4-1 chance, whose four wins have all been at the Borders track, battled gamely up the run-in, to see off 13-8 favourite Sevenballs of Fire by seven lengths.

“All his wins have been at this course,” said the Fife handler. “We were exasperated when he ran so badly at Carlisle. We’ve tried him in cheekpieces, earplugs, a visor and a tongue strap, but left everything off on Saturday and that did the trick.”

Tokaramore – bred by Duns owner Ailie Tullie – repeated her previous course success to win the concluding Urwin Family mares’ bumper.

Trained at Carrutherstown by Iain Jardine, the mare produced another gutsy performance to see off 2-1 favourite The Vocalist.

“It’s always tough with a penalty in these but I knew she would improve,” said the Teri trainer. “She will go hurdling but maybe not in the near future.”

Racing returns to Kelso on Sunday, December 4.

Results: 12.35pm – Another Bill (B. Harding) 5-6 fav; 2 Tree of Liberty 9-4, 3 Lansdowne Road 100-1. Ten ran. N. Richards, Penrith.

1.10pm – Casual Cavalier (B. Hughes) 4-1, 2 Misfits 13-2, 3 Sky Full of Stars 8-1. Nine ran. G. Bewley, Hawick.

1.45pm – Landecker (K. Alexander) 4-1, 2 Sevenballs of Fire 13-8 fav, 3 Bourne 11-4. Six ran. N. Alexander, Fife.

2.20pm – Trickaway (B. Hughes) 7-2 fav; 2 Shimla Dawn, 3 Captain Redbeard 15-2. Seven ran. M. Jefferson, Malton.

2.55pm – Imjoeking (D Fox) 100-30fav; 2, Quick Decission 7-2, 3 Domtaline 17-2. Eight ran. L. Russell, Milnathort.

3.30pm – Ping (C. Nichol) 9-2, 2 Pulpitarian 7-1, 3 Park House 14-1. Ten ran. N. Richards.

4pm – Tokaramore (R. Chapman) 13-2, 2 The Vocalist 2-1 fav, 3 Paper Roses 5-2. Seven ran. I. Jardine, Carrutherstown.