HAWICK jockey Craig Nichol made a victorious start to Kelso’s new season, completing a double at his local track yesterday.
The 21-year-old gave Robin’s Command a well-judged ride to land the feature Straightline Construction handicap chase, adding an impressive success in the concluding Racing UK Scottish Season Ticket maiden bumper on Meet the Legend.
Robin’s Command cruised home to an eight- length victory, recording a third track success for Alnwick trainer Rose Dobbin.
Under a 7lbs penalty, the grey was following up his previous Perth success.
Carluke-based Keith Dalgleish – who hails from Hawick – saddled Meet the Legend to an inspiring win in the bumper.
The market leader, bought for £65,000, ran his rivals ragged in the last.
Langholm jockey Dale Irving and trainer James Ewart also proved on form, when Touch of Steel clinched a 9-1 success at the well-supported twilight fixture.
In first-time blinkers, the gelding carried the colours of Jedburgh owner Ann Fraser to victory in the 12-strong Principal and Prosper handicap hurdle race.
Ewart plans to return to Kelso on October 4 with his charge.
“He’s schooled well over fences and there’s a novice handicap chase at the next meeting, which was his original target,” he explained.
Northumberland jockey Catherine Walton and Roll of Thunder made every yard of the running, to be caught on the run-in by Touch of Steel, who scored by three-quarters of a length.
Jockey Michael Byrne made a victorious riding debut at Kelso, when his sole ride proved a winning one.
He partnered the Tim Vaughan-trained Makethedifference to head the Bruce Farms Supporting World Horse Welfare handicap hurdle race.
The partnership had scored at Perth just eight days earlier.
Nine went to post in the opening Barbara McLeod maiden hurdle race, where there was a reluctance to make the early pace.
Waterclock and Brian Harding came to challenge favourite Fingerontheswitch – a first runner at the course for former jockey Neil Mulholland - to clinch the spoils in a thrilling finish.
The final hurdle was omitted as injured jockey Thomas Dowson received medical treatment.
Having a fifth run for Irish trainer Gordon Elliot, former hurdle victor Romany Ryme landed the Farne Salmon & Trout handicap chase.
Previously trained at Hawick by George Bewley, the gelding had a two-length advantage at the final fence, and stayed on gamely to give new handler Gordon Elliot a first victory at the track.
Jockeys past and present received a great reception from a good early crowd in the enterprising charity team challenge.
Twenty teams competed over show jumps and cross-country fences in the centre of the course, with two teams sharing the top spot.
Aptly, the MS Borders Racing Club (Will Easterby, Tom, and Jamie Hamilton) took the spoils, along with the Lambden Lassies (Rachael MacDonald, Rhona Pinder and Louise Clark).
Racing returns to Kelso on Sunday October 4.
4.40 – WATERCLOCK (B Harding) 2-1; 2, Fingerontheswitch 6-4 fav; 3, Professor Plum 13-2. Nine ran. J O’Keefe, N Yorks.
5.10 – ROMANY RYME (R Johnson) 3-1; 2, Solway Bay 9-1; 3, Isthereadifference 11-2. Six ran. G Elliot, Co Meath.
5.40 – TOUCH OF STEEL (D Irving) 9-1; 2, Roll of Thunder 6-1 jt fav; 3, Snowed In 8-1. 12 ran. J Ewart, Langholm.
6.10 – ROBIN’S COMMAND (C Nichol) 4-1; 2, Muwalla 7-2; 3, Purple ‘N Gold 3-1 fav. Eight ran. Mrs R Dobbin, Alnwick.
6.40 – MAKETHEDIFFERENCE (M Byrne) 6-4 fav; 2, Captain Brown 11-4; 3, Six ran. T Vaughan, Vale of Glamorgan.
7.10 – MEET THE LEGEND (C Nichol) 11-4; 2, Dubai Angel 5-1; 3, Mardale 9-4 fav. Eight ran. K Dalgleish, Carluke.