Grand National winner Ryan Mania made a victorious return to his home track at Kelso on Monday.
The 23-year-old, making his first appearance at Kelso since his Aintree success, received a rousing cheer from the local crowd as he was led into the winner’s enclosure aboard You Know Yourself.
Mania produced a strong finish aboard Sue Smith’s 10-year-old to hold the challenge of Super Ally, in the hands of Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick, and clinch victory in the three-mile handicap chase.
“That was a nice win, and it’s good to get the new season off to a winning start,” said Mania. Scottish National contender Captain Americo, from James Ewart’s Langholm stable, finished just a nose behind in third.
Mania had earlier suffered a close defeat in an exciting finish to the two-mile handicap chase, which saw Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham saddle both the winner and the third.
Newcastle specialist Prince Tam, whose four wins over fences have all been recorded at that track, landed his first Kelso success with a game performance.
“Although he’s won all his races up to now at Newcastle, he has run well at other tracks including here,” said Graham.
She was deprived of a double half-an-hour later when Scotswell was beaten by a nose in a thrilling finish to the handicap hurdle race.
The gelding made the running, only to be headed in the final strides by Arctic Court, trained by Jim Goldie for East Lothian owners Ray and Anita Anderson Green.
Ivan Boru got the better of James Ewart’s Ueueteotl by one and a quarter lengths in the opening maiden hurdle race. Ewart’s hot favourite Sleep In First, bidding for a five-timer, finished third in the novices handicap chase, headed by 5-1 chance Kykate.
Favourite backers collected in the handicap hurdle race, won by Brian Ellison’s All That Remains, who made every yard of the running.
Sedgefield raider Digg Whitaker saw off prolific winning pointer Buckstruther, owned by Hawick farmer Alistair Bell and his wife Rachel, by seven lengths to land the concluding novices’ hunter chase.
2.10 - Ivan Boru (J Reveley) 10-1; 2, Ueueteotl 5-1; 3, Lifetime 11-1. 12 ran. K Reveley, Saltburn.
2.40 - Prince Tam (J England) 9-2; 2, Freddie Brown 9-2; 3, Soul Magic 10-1. Eight ran. Mrs H Graham, Jedburgh.
3.10 - Arctic Court (D O’Regan) 5-2 fav; 2, Scotswell 16-1; 3, Merrydown 10-1. 13 ran. J Goldie, Glasgow.
3.40 - You Know Yourself (R Mania) 100-30; 2, Super Ally 3-1; 3, Captain Americo 10-1. Seven ran. Mrs S Smith, Bingley.
4.10 – Kykate (C Huxley) 5-1; 2, Cocamix 22-1; 3, Sleep In First 4-5 fav. Five ran. W Kinsey, Cheshire.
4.40 – All That Remains (D Cook) 5-2 fav; 2, Lisbon 4-1; 3, Bogside 18-1. 11 ran. B Ellison, Malton.
5.10 – Digg Whittaker (Mr R Smith) 11-1; 2, Buckstruther 4-5 fav; 3, Senor Alco 5-2. Eight ran. J Wade, Sedgefield.