HAWICK handler George Bewley was again in winning form at Kelso last weekend when son Jonathon rode South Leinster to a popular victory.
The closing stages of the Graeme Todd Haulage and Friends handicap hurdle race produced a Borders battle between the winner and Alistair Whillans’ runner-up What A Steel, with South Leinster outstaying his rival to record a one-length success.
A chasing campaign could now be in the pipeline for the seven-year-old, who was running in first-time cheekpieces.
“We may send him over fences now,” explained George, who farms at Southdean. “He ran one of his few poor races last time, so we put the cheekpieces on, and they’ve made the difference,” he added.
Having his first ride at Kelso, jockey Liam Treadwell made a victorious debut to land the feature Mayfield Restaurant chase (a limited handicap) on the Venetia Williams-trained Idarah. The race concluded with a lengthy four-furlong run-in after the final two fences were omitted as a result of the low sun.
“He is probably best in small fields,” explained the winning jockey. “He travelled really well today, and my only worry was that he might get lonely in front.”
Patrick Griffin’s Irish raider Maggio enjoyed a comfortable success in the opening Premier Traffic Management National Hunt novices’ hurdle race. With the benefit of a tongue strap, the seven-year-old cruised home in the hands of James Reveley to score by a commanding 18 lengths.
“He’s a useful horse and has never really got the credit he deserves,” explained trainer’s son, James Griffin. “He’ll go for the Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham next Sunday, and in the summer we’ll probably aim him for a Grade 1 in France,” he added.
Just four went to post in the Ship Inn, Dalkeith novices’ handicap chase, with only two completing.
Twice Lucky got the better of Ballybanks to take the spoils for Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith and Braw Lad Ryan Mania, from Galashiels.
“Ryan wasn’t convinced that he really got the trip on this ground,” explained Sue, “but it wasn’t the best of races.”
Scotland’s only professional female jockey, Lucy Alexander, added another victory to this season’s tally when Knockara Beau bounced back to form to head the Flannigan Skip Hire handicap chase.
“He got a bad start at Cheltenham last time and wasn´t able to lead, and he’s best when he can make the running, We’ll see how the handicapper treats him after this win, but it will have done his confidence good,” explained winning trainer George Charlton.
The Alistair Whillans-trained Cavers Glen was handily placed when blundering at the last, giving jockey Brian Harding little chance to stay on board.
Alan Swinbank saddled Anna’s Arch to win a drama-packed Urwin Family novices’ handicap hurdle race, which saw just three of the eight starters finish. The dual bumper winner produced an impressive display, cruising home 22 lengths clear of Vittachi from Alistair Whillans’s Hawick stable.
Swift Arrow made amends for a disappointing run at Uttoxeter last time to lift the concluding Stuart Simon Memorial handicap chase title in impressive style. The winner is trained by Donald McCain for Blainslie owner April Strang Steel.
Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham accounted for both the runner-up and third when Callum Bewley rode Soul Magic to beat stablemate Prince Tam, ridden by Jedburgh jockey Gary Rutherford.
Racing returns to the Tweedside track next month for the John Smith’s Borders Scottish National day on December 9.
12.25 – MAGGIO (J. Reveley) 3-1; 2, Green Flag 9-4 fav; 3, Bop Along 33-1. 13 ran. P. Griffin, Ireland.
1.00 – TWICE LUCKY (R. Mania) 13-8 jt fav; 2, Ballybanks 13-8 jt fav. Four ran, only two finished. S. Smith, Bingley.
1.30 – SOUTH LEINSTER (J. Bewley) 4-1; 2, What A Steel 22-1; 3, Night In Milan 5-1. Eight ran. G. Bewley, Hawick.
2.05 – KNOCKARA BEAU (L. Alexander) 5-2; 2, Blenheim Brook 4-1; 3, Lackamon 15-8 fav. Seven ran. G. Charlton, Stocksfield.
2.40 – IDARAH (L. Treadwell) 11-1; 2, Kings Grey 5-2; 3, De Boitron 20-1. Six ran. V. Williams, Hereford.
3.15 – ANNA’S ARCH (F. Davis) 5-1; 2, Vittachi 7-1; 3, Castlelawn 3-1 fav. Eight ran. A Swinbank, Richmond.
3.50 – SWIFT ARROW (H. Brooke) 6-1; 2, Soul Magic 20-1; 3, Prince Tam 22-1. Nine ran. D McCain, Cholomondeley.