STAGECOACH Pearl produced an impressive performance to land Kelso’s feature Mayfield Restaurant limited handicap chase on Saturday.
Sue Smith’s grey, a last-fence faller on his previous appearance at Ayr, made no mistakes this time to head the £15,500-added chase.
“He ran in some quite big races last season and was nearly bordering on having enough by the end, but he has come back in really good form,” explained the winning trainer.
“Now he settles better he could stay a bit further, but he is not easy to find races for and I don’t have a race in mind for him at the moment,” she added.
Sa Suffit, trained at Langholm by James Ewart, stayed on gamely to take second, while Haldon Gold Cup victor Tchico Polos, making his debut for Lucinda Russell’s stable, finished third.
Kalahari King, in the frame at the last four Cheltenham Festivals, appeared to need the run, finishing fifth.
Another good prize pot was on offer in the £12,000 Persimmon Homes handicap chase, won by Malcolm Jefferson’s 3-1 favourite The Panama Kid.
The seven-year-old got the better of Garleton by a length, with the Rose Dobbin-trained Mirage Dore, ridden by Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick for the trainer’s parents Duncan and Sarah Davidson from Alnwick, in third.
The Panama Kid defied an 11lb rise in the weights to complete a victorious hat-trick.
“He just keeps on improving and you wouldn’t know how much is still in there,” said winning jockey Harry Haynes.
“He had gone up 20lbs before today and will go up a couple more for this – I don’t think there was a lot left in the tank, but we will see,” he added.
Kelso’s leading trainer, Lucinda Russell, took the opening Premier Traffic Management National hunt novices’ hurdle race with 12-1 chance Rowdy Rocher, who got the better of Tarlan in a ding-dong battle to the line.
“He is not over-big but he has a good engine and is a proper stayer,” said Russell of her Hexham bumper victor.
Super Ally carried the colours of East Lothian owner Ray and Anita Anderson Green to victory in the Ship Inn, Dalkeith novices’ handicap chase, with an impressive jumping display.
Lockerbie trainer Andrew Parker said of the son of Flemensfirth: “A lot of Flemensfirths don’t mind better ground and Super Ally wouldn’t want it too soft.
“He jumps and he gallops – he is not the quickest in the world and he is not the best, but as long as he wins one or two a season he is fine.”
The James Ewart-trained Frontier Boy finished runner-up, with Wilson Renwick riding Chicago Outfit to take third.
Jim Goldie’s yard is in good form, and the Glasgow handler saddled Soprano to win the Graeme Todd haulage and Friends handicap hurdle race by a comfortable eight lengths.
Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham saw Scotswell, ridden by local jockey Gary Rutherford, finish runner-up.
Soprano had run well on the flat and enjoyed a good return to hurdling.
“The 3m3f suited him today and Henry [jockey Brooke] gave him a lovely ride – he sat in mid-division, let them get on with it and then he outstayed them,” said Goldie.
Fife jockey Lucy Alexander – Scotland’s only professional lady rider – has been riding well and followed up a success at Hexham the previous day with a win in the Ferneyhill handicap chase on Storm Surge.
Goldie, double-handed in the race, took second with Baaher, while Glenfarg trainer Lucy Normile was third with 25-1 chance Primrose Time.
Storm Surge’s part-owner Jack Spedding was full of praise for the winning jockey.
“That was a great ride, Lucy did exactly what she was told,” he said.
“He will probably go to Newcastle on November 26 now for a race over a bit further,” he added.
There was an extended run-in in the concluding Flannigan Skip Hire & Border Skip Hire handicap hurdle race, with the final two flights omitted due to the low sun.
Flaygray took the spoils for trainer Chris Grant and jockey Alexander Voy, cruising home nine lengths clear of Inoogoo, trained at Hawick by George Bewley.
“He has had a few little niggles, but hopefully that´s behind him now,” said winning trainer Chris Grant.
“His jumping was alright and he should make a chaser in due course,” he added.
Racing returns to Kelso on Sunday, December 4.