Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick completed a quick-fire double at Kelso’s richest race meeting of the season on Saturday, including the feature £35,000 Premier hurdle.
Clever Cookie enhanced his Aintree chances with a comfortable eight-length success under Renwick in the £1.2 Million Scoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle race.
The winner, who holds an entry for Cheltenham’s County Hurdle, is trained at Malton by former Scottish jump jockey Peter Niven.
“He’ll probably go to Aintree next for the better ground,” he explained.
“He’s entered in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, but I don’t think he’s mentally ready for it yet.”
Renwick’s second success came just 35 minutes later aboard the Rose Dobbin-trained Rocking Blues.
The nine-year-old, jointly owned by the Northumberland trainer’s mother, Sarah Davidson, produced a gutsy performance in the Premier Traffic Management handicap chase to hold Fiddlers Reel – owned by Jane Clark from Kelso and ridden by Galashiels jockey Ryan Mania – by a neck.
“He’s had a couple of nasty experiences, and we’ve just been building his confidence back up, and it’s great that he’s won again,” said Rose.
St Boswells owners Paul and Clare Rooney landed the opening Terry Frame Joiners novice hurdle race with the well-fancied Desoto County, further extending trainer Donald McCain’s recent 25 per cent strike rate, and securing the owners’ sixth seasonal success at their local track.
“He’s got plenty of ability and he’ll be jumping fences in 12 months,” said McCain.
Scotland’s only professional lady jockey, Lucy Alexander, was successful at the last Kelso meeting, and was again back in the winner’s enclosure when Jet Master stormed home 11 lengths clear in the Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ limited handicap chase.
It was a fitting family success for Fife trainer Nick Alexander – whose yard is in great heart – in a race sponsored in memory of his father, Cyril.
“Last year we let him run from the front over hurdles,” explained Nick, “and it wasn’t really suiting him jumping-wise. It was a surprise how easily he won, but I’d hoped he’d improve for the spring ground.”
Irish raider Maggio produced a fluent jumping display to land the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Premier chase, in the hands of Brian Hughes. Three-times a winner over hurdles, this was his first chasing success at the track.
Longest-priced winner of a great afternoon’s racing was 14-1 chance Total Assets, who scored a popular success in the Anderson Award Winning Butcher, North Berwick, handicap hurdle race for Northumberland Racing Club.
A competitive field of 15 went to post in the concluding CGA Foxhunter open hunter chase, with victory going to Pena Dorada under a patient ride by Selkirk jockey Rachael McDonald. Trained by Hawick owner Alan Brown, the 8-1 chance was led into the winner’s enclosure to rapturous applause.
Racing returns to Kelso on Saturday, March 22.