Grand National hero One for Arthur justly stole the limelight at a packed Kelso Races on Monday, where loal poeple turned out in force to show their support for the first Scottish winner fo the Aintree marathon in 38 years.
Lucinda Russell – who became just the fourth female trainer to land the world’s greatest steeplechase – paraded her stable star in the sunshine before an appreciative bumper crowd of around 2400 before racing.
Proud owners Belinda McClung, from Ancrum, and Debs Thomson, who grew up at Cessford, near Kelso, were overwhelmed by the constant stream of congratulations.
There was equal delight for the course bosses, with a spokesman saying: “We are eternally grateful to Lucinda, and to Debs and Belinda, for letting us enjoy his success.”
In addition, there was a rousing cheer for Scotswell following a pillar to post success in the feature £12,000 Hunter Real Estate Investment Managers handicap chase.
The 11-year- old, trained at Camptown by Harriet Graham, loves the Borders track and stayed on gamely to hold last year’s winner Nakadam.
“He’s home bred and has done us really proud,” said Harriet, who was also full of praise for winning jockey Dany Cook. “He gave him a brilliant ride,” she said.
The victory took Scotswell into double figures, marking his 10th career success.
Harriet went on to complete a double when Sudski Star headed the concluding Andersons Butchers & Lyntoun Taxis East Lothian Conditional Jockeys’ handicap hurdle race.
The 10-1 chance carries the colours of racecourse director Geoff Adam and was given a great ride by Jedburgh jockey Callum Bewley.
Chain of Beacons, who had won at Newcastle just two days later, was to the fore after the final fence in the Manners Le Garcon D’Or handicap chase but was collared in the closing stages by the fast-finishing Welcome Ben.
The 12-1 winner was ridden by Hawick jockey Craig Nichol for Scotland’s most northerly trainer – Inverurie-based Jackie Stephen.
Their normal four-and- a-half hour journey was made even longer after their lorry had a puncture at Brechin en route.
Hot on the heels of Craig Nichol’s success, his brother Ryan, was in the winner’s enclosure after riding Havana Jack to land the prestigious Brewin Dolphin Buccleuch Cup maiden hunters’ chase.
“It’s our big race here,” said Ryan, who has returned to his home town, having just joined Alistair Whillans’ yard.
Three were in line at the last in the opening Stable Shield handicap hurdle race which produced a thrilling finish – Too Many Chiefs forging through for a 12-1 win ahead of the ever-prominent Lough Derg Jewel, owned by April Strang Steel from Blainslie. Winning jockey Finian O’Toole said the better ground had helped the six-year-old’s flying finish.
The second race on the card, the Borders Carers Centre handicap chase, produced another good finish, with Whitsundays taking the spoils for Cheshire trainer Donald McCain.
John Williams, trained at Greenlaw by Sandy Thomson for Berwick owner Christine Stephenson, ran well to take second, while Moscow Menace also produced a game effort to take third for Galashiels trainer Katie Scott.
Favourite Blue Hussar followed up his Wetherby success to head the Duncan & Margaret Sinclair Memorial novices’ hurdle, holding Slanelough by a length.
Racing returns to Kelso on Wednesday, May 10 but, meantime, the results on April 10 were:
2.10pm – 1 Too Many Chiefs (F. O’Toole) 12-1, 2 Lough Derg Jewel 13-2, 3 Landecker 11-2. Ten ran; S. Watt, N Yorks.
2.40pm – 1 Whitsundays (W. Kennedy) 5-1, 2 John Williams 4-1, 3 Moscow Menace 40-1. Twelve ran; D. McCain, Cheshire.
3.10pm – 1 Scotswell (D. Cook) 5-1, 2 Nakadam 4-1 fav, 3 Green Flag 10-1. Nine ran; H. Graham, Camptown.
3.40pm – 1 Blue Hussar (J. Colliver) evens fav; 2 Slanelough 9-2, 3 Mayo Star 11-4. Twelve ran. M. Hammond, Middleham.
4.10pm – 1 Welcome Ben (C. Nichol) 12-1, 2 Chain of Beacons 11-4 fav, 3 Vodka Wells 9-2. Eight ran. J Stephen, Inverurie.
4.40pm – 1 Havana Jack (R. Nichol) 13-2, 2 Bafana Choice 6-1, 3 Senor Alco 20-1. Ten ran; L. Kerr, Irvine.
5.10pm – 1 Sudski Star (C. Bewley) 10-1; 2 Urban Kode 11-1, 3 Alizee De Janeiro 9-1. Thirteen ran; H. Graham.