Local jockeys accounted for three of the afternoon’s seven races during another competitive afternoon’s racing at Kelso on Saturday.
Hawick jockey Wilson Renwick was the first of the Borders trio to score, riding The Last Samuri to victory in the £25,000 Liz Adam Memorial handicap chase.
The seven-year-old produced a career-best performance, striding up the run-in to leave the Sandy Thomson-trained Harry The Viking filling the runners-up slot for the third time on the trot.
The victory provided St Boswells owners Paul and Clare Rooney with an across-the-card double, having earlier seen Red Spinner take the opener at Bangor-on-Dee.
Another Hawick jockey in winning form was Jonathon Bewley, who gave Hunters Belt a well-judged ride to clinch the Jedforest Deer Park handicap hurdle race. He produced a perfectly timed finish aboard the 20-1 chance, trained at Southdean by his father George, to get the better of Pixie Cut from Alistair Whillans’ Hawick stable, by half-a-length.
In first-time blinkers, Hunters Belt powered home in a competitive race, which saw two hurdles in the home straight omitted due to low sun.
Jedburgh jockey Grant Cockburn was the third Borders jockey to make the winners enclosure when he landed the concluding Best Small Racecourse bumper aboard Big River.
Lucinda Russell’s horses are in good form, and the 6-1 chance got up by a head to beat promising debutant Gullys Edge, owned by Alix Stevenson from Langholm, and her daughter Karen Gaffney.
Brian Hughes completed a victorious double at the meeting, riding Captain Brown to take the opening Abbey Tool and Guage handicap hurdle race, and following up with the well-fancied Oscar Rock in the £22,500 John Smith’s novices’ handicap chase.
Captain Brown scored in a thrilling finish with Peters Grey, ably ridden by Jedburgh jockey Callum Bewley.
“We’ve been trying to get him to settle,” explained winning trainer Jimmy Moffatt.
Potential Aintree candidate Oscar Rock secured a comfortable nine-length success over Lucinda Russell’s Final Assault.
“There are plenty of options for him as there are races at Aintree, Ayr and Perth which he could go for,” said Malton handler Malcolm Jefferson.
“I’ll certainly give him an entry at Aintree as the races there could cut up,” he added.
Six were in contention two from home in the £25,000 Thakeham handicap hurdle race, where top-weight Milansbar held on by a head from Racing Europe.
“The ground was too quick and the track too sharp for him today,” explained winning jockey Trevor Whelan, “but he stays forever, and he´s going to make a grand chaser.”
With both fences in the home straight bypassed due to the low sun, there was a lengthy run-in for the Ashleybank Investments Reg and Betty Tweedie handicap chase.
Tiptoeaway, rejuvenated by blinkers, won by half-a-length, before tragically the 10-year-old collapsed and died after the line.
Full results at www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk
Racing returns to Kelso for Buccleuch Cup Day on Monday, April 13.