SUNDAY’s heatwave brought the crowd out in force to support Kelso’s final fixture of the season, with some spectacular fashions on display for Ladies’ Day.
The stifling temperatures saw a 20-minute delay to the third race as extra water supplies were pumped into the stable block by a fire engine, with horses benefiting from an immediate cold shower in the paddock.
In a fitting climax to the season, a bumper turnout was treated to a good afternoon’s sport with the feature John Smith’s handicap chase won by the Keith Reveley-trained Night in Milan, ridden by his son James.
The six-year-old was left clear at the last, and cruised home 20 lengths clear of Humbie to take the spoils.
“That’s the best race he’s run in,” said the winning jockey.
“We used to settle him in, but he seemed to like being ridden more prominently and the ground was ideal for him,” he added.
The father and son partnership went on to complete a double when Crowning Jewel got the better of Witness in Court to land the Reece, Ben and Jessica Coppola novices’ hurdle race.
“He needs every yard of this trip, and he likes nice ground,” added James. “He´s going to be a three-mile horse.”
Trainer Donald McCain and jockey Jason Macguire completed a victorious treble at the meeting.
The pair took the opening Matt the Bookie Is Back novices’ hurdle where Keeneland got the better of the fast-finishing Makbullet by half-a-length. The winner was retaining his unbeaten record over hurdles, having won at Perth recently, depriving the runner-up of a Kelso hat-trick.
The McCain/Macguire partnership enjoyed a quickfire double when Swift Arrow landed the KOSB novices’ handicap chase. In a thrilling tussle to the line, they got up by a half-a-length over Freddie Brown, in the colours of racecourse chairman Johnny Jeffreys.
The going was changed after this race to good to firm and the treble was completed in the concluding Celebration National Hunt flat race, won by Brady.
Mason David Brown produced an impressive debut to finish runner-up with Discoverie in third for James Ewart’s Langholm stable.
Dianne Sayer has her horses in good form and she accounted for both first and second in the Border Facilities novices’ handicap hurdle race where Stags Leap got the better of stablemate Talk of Saafend. Both runners are owned by Dennis Coppola, one of the afternoon’s race sponsors. The result stood after a Stewards’ Inquiry into possible interference.
“Stags Leap had a hard time for a long time, but I knew he had ability and that if he ever used it, he could do well,” said the Penrith trainer. “I am very pleased with him, and also Talk Of Saafend, who has run very well. I think this is the first time I´ve ever had a one-two.”
Ten of the 14 declared runners went to post in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Challenge Cup open hunters chase, headed by the Nicky Richards-trained 12-year-old Itzacliche. Sierra Victor carried the colours of the MS Borders Racing Club to finish second.
Racing was preceded by two Charles Owen pony races.
Eleven-year-old Charlie Todd rode Little Anne to win the 138cm race, with 15-year-old Cameron Hardie producing a rousing finish on Lynne to win the 148cm division.
There was an exciting finish to the concluding Injured Jockeys Fund “House that Jack Built” charity race, won by Jo Foster riding the Jim Goldie-trained Sea Change.
Jo, Yorkshire chairman for the Countryside Alliance, was cheered on by her five-year-old son, Felix.
Hawick-based Sarah Maclean finished runner-up on Lady Bluesky from Alistair Whillans stable. Maclean, who has been selected to take part in this year’s BHA graduate development programme, working for the Levy Board and York racecourse, is engaged to National Hunt jockey Wilson Renwick. Joey Richards, who has won four chases and four points on Itzacliche, finished third on the Nicky Richards-trained That’ll Do Nicely.
2.15 – KEENELAND (J Maguire) 100/30; 2, Makbullet 5-6 fav; 3, Cavite Eta 6-1. 14 ran. D McCain, Cholmondeley.
2.45 – SWIFT ARROW (J Maguire) 6-1; 2, Freddie Brown 11-4 fav; 3, Beidh Tine Anseo 4-1. 10 ran. D McCain.
3.20 – CROWNING JEWEL (J Reveley) 2/5F; 2, Witness In Court 6-1; 3, L’Eminence Grise 9-2. 10 ran. K Reveley, Saltburn.
3.50 – NIGHT IN MILAN (J Reveley) 15-2; 2, Humbie 15-8 fav; 3, More Equity 22-1. 10 ran. K Reveley.
4.25 – STAGS LEAP (H Brooke) 18/1; 2, Talk of Saafend 11-4; 3, Rock Relief 85-40fav. Six ran. Mrs D Sayer, Penrith.
5.00 - ITZACLICHE (Miss J Richards) 12-1; 2, Sierra Victor 9-1; 3, Beau Traveller 9-4 jt fav. 10 ran. N Richards, Greystoke.
5.30 – BRADY (J Maguire) evs fav; 2, Mason david Brown 9-4; 3, Discoverie 14-1. Nine ran.D McCain.
Charles Owen pony racing, 138 cm – 1, Little Anne (C Todd); 2, Clonross Star (W Hill); 3, Hepplewood Berkeley Square (G Crawford).
148cm – 1, Lynne (C Hardie); 2, Judge Fox (L Frank); 3,Over to Kerry (H Morshead)