RYAN MANIA – the first Scottish jockey for 117 years to win the Grand National – concluded a memorable year with a victory at his local Kelso track.
At Sunday’s final fling fixture of 2013, the Galashiels jockey received a rousing reception from a hearty Borders crowd after landing the opening Matt Bookie Congratulates Kelso Ground Staff maiden hurdle race on Masterleaderman.
Trained in Northumberland by Michael Smith, the 11-4 chance had shown plenty of promise when finishing third on his hurdling debut last time, and stormed home three-and-a-quarter lengths clear of 8-13 favourite Hellorboston.
Lucinda Russell, who saddled the third-placed Blueside Boy for racecourse director Geoff Adam, went on to complete a victorious double.
The Milnathort handler claimed the feature Children’s Immunology Trust novices’ Limited handicap chase with Settledoutofcourt, having earlier won the Monteith Memorial handicap chase with Ballycool.
Settledoutofcourt provided winning jockey Peter Buchanan with his 35th success this term, getting the better of Abbey Storm, owned by St Boswells couple Paul and Clare Rooney, by three-and-a-half lengths.
Ballycool cruised home 19 lengths clear for a comfortable success in the hands of Derek Fox.
The field was reduced to five after joint favourite Little Glenshee took a crashing fall at the third, leaving Stuart Coltherd’s Cloverhill Lad with nowhere to go.
Peter Buchanan had earlier ridden the first leg of a double when the Nick Alexander-trained Or De Grugy won the Floors Castle Horse Trials handicap chase. The gelding clearly enjoys the Borders track, having now recorded six successes at Kelso from 19 runs.
Just four went to post in the Black Swan Lees Hotel Kelso mares novice hurdle, won by Newstead Racing Partnership’s Retrieve the Stick, who romped home ahead of 40-1 chance High Fair, trained at Yetholm by Sandy Forster.
Fledgling North Yorkshire trainer Rebecca Menzies recorded her first success at Kelso when Mr Utah won the Peter and Gillian Allan Caterers handicap hurdle race. Low sun caused both hurdles in the home straight to be omitted, but there was drama at the last when leader Dickie Henderhoop crashed out, bringing down George Bewley’s 4-1 favourite Romany Ryme.
Ubaltique, in first-time blinkers, won the concluding Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky handicap hurdle race in the hands of Jason Maguire.