They say you can’t keep a good man down – and Donald McCain signalled his intent to get back on top of the pile at Kelso last Saturday.
He enjoyed a quickfire double success, courtesy of Tawseef and Federici in the third and fourth races.
McCain, who has been a perennial favourite with Kelso racegoers, last topped the trainers’ table in 2015 when he shared the honours with Lucinda Russell.
The Cheshire trainer has endured a couple of quiet seasons since then but clocked his 40th winner of the season last weekend, when Federici saw off the Dianne Sayer-trained Cooking Fat in the Frank Flannigan Skiphire & Border Skiphire Graham Handicap Chase.
McCain said: “He’s not a bad horse and we will wait and see if he gets in the Becher Chase after this.
“If not, he will go again for the Grand Sefton, which he was sixth in last year.”
In the event that he makes the Becher Chase, he could encounter As De Mee – winner of the EDF-ER Steeplechase at the previous Kelso meeting.
The first of McCain’s two winners, the pony-sized Tawseef, was ridden by the trainer’s eldest daughter Abbie to score by 13 lengths in the Graeme Todd And Friends Handicap Hurdle. The well-backed 5/2 favourite was the 18-year-old’s second ride at the Borders venue and won in a good time, suggesting there could be more to come.
Racegoers will be looking forward to seeing both Senor Lombardy and Coole Hall again. Both looked smart recruits as the Keith Dalgleish-trained former beat the latter by a length and a quarter in the George Harrow Memorial Novices’ Hurdle, sponsored by the Hawick-based Harrow family.
The pair pulled well clear of the field in race with a rich winner-producing history, having been won in the past by subsequent Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri and Grade 2 hurdle winner Jonniesofa.
Katie Scott, who trains between Galashiels and Selkirk, was on the mark with Chain Of Beacons, who took the Mayfield Restaurant Handicap Chase under a nice ride from Callum Bewley. The winner, formerly with Sandy Thomson, was appearing for just the second time since joining Scott and she said: “He’s a really straightforward horse who loves his food and loves his work. Decent ground is what he prefers.”
The next meeting at Kelso is Persimmon Homes Borders National Day on December 10.