Fairway to go at Kelso tonight

EVENING racing at Kelso tonight features a quality six-race card, with the first race off at 6.15pm, writes Hilary Mactaggart.

Racing is preceded by a celebrity golf match in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at the Roxburghe Hotel’s prestigious course.

Leading media figures at the event include Racing UK chairman Simon Ellen, chief executive, Richard Fitzgerald, and Adrian Ford, CEO of Turf TV, well known for his work for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. They are all involved in sponsorship of the meeting.

The feature race is the Peter K Dale Novice Chase for the Haddington Jubilee Cup.

Degas Art, trained by Lucinda Russell, has enjoyed a great year and has won four times since joining his new connections last spring – his owners include Scotland national football manager Craig Levein and Kelso racecourse announcer Ronald Barber.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has entered Viking Blonde, who was fancied prior to pulling up in the recent bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

Hunter Property Fund Management sponsor the second race on the card, with Cheltenham and Aintree festival winner Malcolm Jefferson expected to run Scales for prominent owner Trevor Hemmings. Talking Sence, trained at Selkirk by Stuart Coltherd, is making a quick reappearance after just getting pipped at the recent Perth Festival.

Easement has not been beaten so far on his last two visits to Kelso for Bonchester Bridge-based handler George Bewley and is expected to feature in the Turf TV Handicap steeplechase. Alan Mactaggart’s popular Denholm raider Royal Mackintosh may have gained all four career wins at Carlisle, but he has also run a couple of cracking races at his local track.

The Walker Love Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle should see Lucy Alexander combine with Barry Murtagh’s Stanley Bridge having won four races together last season.

Scriptwriter, formerly with Howard Johnson and previously Saeed Bin Suroor, is starting to find some form for Appleby handler Evelyn Slack who has booked East Lothian pilot Zander Voy for the ride.

Mickytaker is likely to be top weight in the Aver Chartered Accountants Selling Handicap Steeple Chase, who will be running for the first time since joining Martin Todhunter from the Alan King yard.

Lindsayfield Lodge represents Tyneside trainer Robert Johnson and both his chase wins have come at Kelso.

The concluding open hunter chase is sponsored by the NFU Mutual Financial Services Division.

Those likely to start include Itzacliche, who has won four times under Rules for Joey Richards and is trained by her father Nicky, and Beau Traveller who has run two cracking races in similar company this spring at Kelso, notably when just failing to land a gamble for Yorkshire trainer Bianca Dunk in last month’s Buccleuch Cup.

Ladies’ Day on Sunday, May 27, marks the final meeting of the season, with hospitality sold out.

z Isla Pearl Fisher recorded a Scottish success in the feature handicap chase at Kelso’s well-supported evening fixture last Wednesday night.

Trained in Fife by Nick Alexander, the gelding powered up the run-in to claim the Simpsons Malt 150th Anniversary Handicap Chase.

“That was a career-best for him,” explained the winning trainer. “We may look at longer distance races for him if he continues to progress.”

Results

5.45: HI GEORGE (H. Haynes) 7-1; 2, Find A Key 4-9 fav; 3, Groovy Dancer 20-1. 14 ran. M. Jefferson, N Yorks.

6.20: UPTHEMSTEPS (D. Costello) 5-4 fav; 2, South O’ The Border 9-4; 3, Freddie Brown 4-1. Four ran. I. Williams, Worcs.

6.55: HUMBIE (T. Murphy) 5-1; 2, Powerful Ambition 7-1; 3, Crowning Jewel 5-1. Eight ran. Miss P Robson, Hexham.

7.30: ISLA PEARL FISHER (P. Buchanan) 11-2; 2, Mortimers Cross 20-1; 3, Posh Bird 9-1. 11 ran. N. Alexander, Fife.

8.00: DR FLYNN (R. Mania) 8-1; 2, Gleann Na Ndochais 4-1 fav; 3, L’Eminence Grise 16-1. 15 ran. Mrs A Hamilton,

8.30: TOMMYSTEEL (T. Davidson) 20-1; 2, Highland Cathedral 13-8 fav; 3, Beau Traveller 4-1. 11 ran. V. Thompson, Northumberland.