TALKIN Sence recorded his first success to rapturous applause from an enthusiastic local crowd at Kelso’s final meeting of 2012 on Saturday.
Trained at Selkirk by Stuart Coltherd and ridden by Jedburgh jockey Gary Rutherford, the seven-year-old relished the testing conditions, making light of his first attempt at the trip, to land the 2m 6f Timeform Race Passes handicap hurdle race.
The victory also proved a fine training effort – the winner posting a convincing 12-length victory on his first start for 227 days.
“He’s not a bad little horse,” said Stuart. “He stays well, and was only just touched off on soft ground at Perth in the spring.
“It wasn’t soft enough for him next time.” The second Borders success of the afternoon came in the feature Monteith Memorial handicap chase, where Sacre Toi produced a gutsy display to hold the challenge of top weight Ros Castle.
The six-year-old has proved ultra-consistent for Langholm trainer James Ewart, in his last four starts, and proved his stamina with a brave performance.
“He is best at two miles,” explained the victorious handler, “and I would say he will be better on better ground.”
Stepping down in distance, the lightly-raced Snapping Turtle finished third for Hawick handler Donald Whillans.
Another to produce a gutsy display was Forty Crown – winner of the opening Children’s Immunology Trust National Hunt maiden hurdle race.
In testing conditions, John Wade’s six-year-old battled gamely up the run-in to pip Milano Magic by a short head.
The winner had proved his stamina when a good third over a similar trip at Wetherby last time out, and stuck to his task in the hands of Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick, who picked up a seven-day whip ban.
“He has point-to-pointed, but needed to settle down,” explained winning owner Maria Myco. “He stays well and should make a nice chaser.”
With cheekpieces back on, runner-up Milano Magic also produced a brave performance for Fife trainer Nick Alexander and daughter Lucy – Scotland’s only professional lady jockey.
Stepped up in trip, Sorcier defied his 40-1 odds with a promising hurdling debut for Bonchester Bridge trainer Simon Shirley-Beavan.
Just three went to post in the Ashleybank Investments Reg & Betty Tweedie novices chase, with another favourite taking the spoils.
Donald McCain has his string in great form, and 8-11 favourite Red Rocco got the better of the Lucinda Russell-trained The Friary by three-and-a-quarter lengths, to provide the Cheshire trainer with his 99th winner of the season.
Having won a handicap at Newcastle last time, Red Rocco was back in novice company, setting the early pace.
”He’s a good jumper, but he thinks a bit,” admitted winning jockey Henry Brooke, “although he had plenty left.”
The pair had given punters a heart-stopping moment when slipping badly after landing at the fourth.
Easiest winner of the afternoon was Little Glenshee, who cruised home 60 lengths clear in the Middlemiss Embroidery mares novices’ hurdle race.
Lucy Alexander sent the in-form grey to the fore from the off, and was never headed.
A clearly progressive sort, the six-year-old had chased home She Ranks Me in a listed event at Haydock on her last start.
Dropped back in trip, the mare showed her class with an impressive success, providing the jockey with her 27th victory this term.
“She had a hard race at Haydock last week,” said trainer Nick Alexander, “so though she didn’t beat a great deal, at least she proved she is tough.”
Pontefract victor Painted Tail finished second, with High Fair taking third on a promising first run for Yetholm trainer Sandy Forster.
The Alexander team was deprived of a double in the following Timeform Jury handicap chase, when Or De Grugy had to settle for second behind the Ann Hamilton-trained Rolecarr.
The winner ran well from a 9lb higher mark in the Rehearsal Chase behind Junior earlier in the month, and stayed on strongly, appearing to relish the heavy going.
Ray and Anita Anderson’s Green’s familiar emerald green and yellow colours were carried to third by course specialist Super Ally, and the East Lothian owners were back in the frame in the concluding Cash for Kids handicap hurdle race, where Shanen finished runner-up to Stopped Out.
Making a victorious debut for trainer Philip Kirby, the grey stormed home under Richie McGrath to take the spoils and bring the curtain down on 2012 racing at Kelso.
Gymdoli produced another consistent run to take third for Selkirk permit-holder Rayson Nixon and his wife Susan, who bred the five-year-old.
Racing returns to the Borders track in the New Year, when the first meeting of 2013 comes under orders on Sunday, January 13.
12.20 – FORTY CROWN (W Renwick) 5-2 fav; 2, Milano Magic 3-1; 3, Sorcier 40-1. 13 ran. J Wade, Sedgefield.
12.50 – RED ROCCO (H Brooke) 8-11 fav; 2, The Friary 20-1; 3, Yurok 5-4. Three ran. D McCain, Cholmondeley.
1.25 – TALKIN SENCE (G Rutherford) 5-1; 2, Solis 9-1; 3, Raggios Boy 28-1. Nine ran. S Coltherd, Selkirk.
1.55 – LITTLE GLENSHEE (L Alexander) 1-5 fav; 2, Painted Tail 6-1; 3, High Fair 66-1. Six ran. N Alexander, Leslie.
2.30 – ROLECARR (G Watters) 4-1; 2, Or De Grugy 7-2; 3, Super Ally. Seven ran. A Hamilton, Newcastle.
3.00 – SACRE TOI (B Hughes) 13-8 fav; 2, Ros Castle 2-1; 3, Snapping Turtle 4-1. Six ran. J Ewart, Langholm.
3.30 – STOPPED OUT (R McGrath )3-1; 2, Shanen 4-1; 3, Gymdoli 4-1. Six ran. P Kirby, Castleton.