HAWICK handler George Bewley and his jockey son Jonathon celebrated a family success at their local track when Hunters Belt followed up his recent Perth win with a victory at Kelso on Saturday.
With the visor back on, and dropped back to two miles, the eight-year-old gelding received a rousing reception from another bumper crowd after winning the Peter Doyle handicap hurdle race.
There was a dramatic conclusion to the opening Download The Free Racing UK iphone App National Hunt maiden hurdle race, with three in close contention at the second last.
Former bumper victor Rocking Blues looked to have every chance when he came to grief shortly after the fence, while Our Joey was also going well when falling.
Their exit left Deise Dynamo well clear for a 28-length success – providing Donald McCain and Henry Brooke with the first leg of a double.
The Cheshire trainer also landed the feature EDF-ER Fallago Rig handicap chase with top-weight Across the Bay – making a victorious debut over fences for the yard.
The winner stayed on strongly to take the spoils, and the Welsh National is a likely target.
“He had a fright in the Irish National when he was with Noel Meade which is why I ran him over hurdles last season,” explained Donald McCain. “We always thought he’d be a better horse back over fences,” he added.
“He’s schooled great and I expected it to be tough for him today under top weight on that ground, but he seems to have enjoyed it.
“We’ll be looking at races like the Welsh National and Haydock’s Grand National Trial,” he concluded.
Irish point-to-point recruit Streams of Whiskey, having a first start for trainer Nicky Richards, hung on gamely to take the Happy Birthday Gillian novices’ hurdle race.
The testing conditions were taking their toll on the five-year-old, but Brian Harding kept him to his task, to hold runner-up Milano Magic.
“I thought he would run a nice race and he’d act on the ground, and he’ll probably come on for it a bit,” said Greystoke trainer Nicky Richards.
“He should be a grand horse in the north and he’ll make a nice chaser,” he added.
Welsh raider Our Island justified favouritism of 6-4 to take the Clifford & Martin Firth Memorial Novices chase.
“He was idling towards the finish,” explained winning jockey Richie Killoran, “but if something had challenged him late, he’d have found more.”
The low sun saw the final two fences omitted in the Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky beginners’ chase, leaving a lengthy run-in.
Ros Castle took the spoils in convincing fashion for Alnwick trainer Rose Dobbin and Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick.
The victory provided the South Hazelrigg stable with some consolation for Rocking Blue’s untimely exit in the opener.
The winner carries the colours of the trainer’s parents, Duncan and Rose Davidson.
“He’s won over two miles and he loves the ground, so we were pretty hopeful, especially as he’s a lovely jumper,” said Rose.
Another good afternoon’s racing concluded with a competitive Edinburgh City FC conditional jockeys training series handicap hurdle race, where 14 went to post.
There was an exciting tussle to the line between Some Lad and Caught in the Act, with Nick Alexander’s runner getting up to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths over Alison Hamilton’s promising seven-year-old.
Racing returns to Kelso on Saturday, November 10.