Galashiels owner April Strang Steel provided a milestone moment for trainer Donald McCain today (Thursday) when Lough Derg Jewel notched his 1000th training success at a busy Kelso races.
The winner enjoyed a comfortable 12-length success to land the opening Samantha and Rebecca’s 18th birthday bash National Hunt maiden hurdle race in the hands of Will Kennedy.
“He stays well and he’s a nice type who should make a chaser in time,” said McCain’s assistant, Adrian Lane, of the five-year-old horse.
Jedburgh jockey Callum Bewley rode a patient race on Total Assets to reclaim her 2015 title in a thrilling conclusion to the Kilco (International) Ltd handicap chase – a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Chase series final.
Itstimeforapint looked to have the race at his mercy, but Total Assets came to challenge on the run-in, battling resolutely to the line for a 14-1 success.
The mare is trained at Mitford by Simon Waugh for the Northumberland Racing Club.
“Callum rode a cracker of a race,” said Simon. “He worked his way into the race and she ran on at the end.
“She had big problems with ulcers and other things last season, but she’s so game and just battles on,” he explained,
The third long-priced winner of the afternoon was 16-1 chance Marcus Antonius – one of three runners in the SPG Fire & Security Ltd handicap hurdle race for Milnathort trainer Lucinda Russell.
Hawick jockey Blair Campbell – who works at her Arlary House Stables – cruised home 10 lengths clear of the favourite, Black Ivory.
“I’m really pleased for Blair, as he works hard at home and deserves a win,” said Lucinda. “It’s great for the yard to have a winner at this time of year.”
In testing conditions, the field was well strung out in the Monteith Memorial handicap chase, with Rosquero producing a game performance to score by 12 lengths for Newcastle trainer Kenny Johnson. Rosquero had provided the jockey-turned trainer with his first winner in May.
“He’s a really good jumper and that’s what wins his races,” said jockey Tommy Dowson, who lost his 7lbs claim on the winner. “That was just my fifth ride back after breaking my arm,” added Tommy, who was riding his 10th winner this term.
Another jockey returning from injury was Lucy Alexander, who rode Jolie Crickette to her first win since joining her father Nick’s stable from France.
The pair captured the Good Luck in 2017 mares’ novices’ hurdle race by two lengths in a dramatic finish which saw the challenging Paper Roses unship Callum Whillans at the last.
Lucy’s recovery from a shoulder injury, which saw her sidelined for some five-and-a- half weeks, included a spell at Jack Berry House.
“It’s big relief to be back and I’m delighted,” said Lucy. Of Jolie Crickette, she added: “My brother Kit picked her out of a claimer in France and, hopefully, she’ll have a bright future.
“She’s won chases in France but we´ll probably keep her to novices´ hurdles for the time being and go chasing next season,” added dad Nick, who trains the winner.
Irish raider Angus Milan landed the feature Children’s Immunology Trust novice handicap chase, holding the game challenge of the James Ewart-trained Ascot De Bruyere by a convincing eight lengths.
Trainer Noel Kelly had brought two runners across the sea, taking the feature race and also finishing second in the opener with Better Back Bracka.
“We fancied him today as we thought the trip and testing ground would suit,” he said.
Ten went to post in the concluding Amateur Jockeys’ Association amateur riders’ handicap hurdle race, with Forty Crown recording a first success since 2014 for Hawick handler George Bewley.
In the hands of Will Easterby, the 10-year- old romped home 13 lengths clear of Selkirk jockey Rachael McDonald on the Sandy Thomson-trained Berkshire Downs.
A bumper crowd enjoyed some great sport at Kelso’s final fixture of 2016 – and racing returns to the Borders track for the first meeting of 2017 on Sunday, January 15. Results:
12 noon – 1 Lough Derg Jewel (W. Kennedy) 9-1, 2 Better Back Bracka 7-1, 3 Largy Bull 5-1; 14 ran. D. McCain, Cholmondeley.
12.30pm – 1 Total Assets (C. Bewley) 14-1, 2 Itstimeforapint 10-1, 3 Scotswell 7-2 joint favourite; nine ran. S. Waugh, Mitford.
1.05pm – 1 Marcus Antonius (B. Campbell) 16-1, 2 Black Ivory 6-4 favourite, 3 Rhymers Stone 33-1; 11 ran. L. Russell, Milnathort.
1.40pm – 1 Rosquero (T. Dowson) 9-1, 2 Turtle Watch 5-2 favourite, 3 Welcome Ben 14-1; 10 ran. K. Johnson, Newburn.
2.15pm – 1 Jolie Crickette (L. Alexander) 5-2, 2 Your Turn 11-4, 3 Queen of Avalon 25-1; five ran. N. Alexander, Leslie.
2.45pm – 1 Angus Milan (D. Fox) 8-1, 2 Ascot de Bruyere 11-2, 3 Just Georgie 2-1 favourite; 11 ran. N. Kelly, Ireland.
3.20pm – 1 Foty Crown (W. Easterby) 9-2, 2 Berkshire Downs 7-2, 3 Maggie Blue 25-1; 10 ran. G. Bewley, Hawick.