Sandy Thomson received a rousing cheer from another bumper Kelso crowd on Sunday after Neptune Equester landed the feature Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National.
A crack at Newcastle’s Eider Chase is a potential target for the 11-year-old, whose owner Jim Beaumont won the 2013 Grand National with Aurora’s Encore.
The Greenlaw handler has his Lambden stable in great form, and the 5-1 chance romped home nine lengths clear of Scotswell – runner-up for the second year in succession for Jedburgh trainer Harriet Graham – to take the spoils in the prestigious £30,000 contest, providing the Berwickshire trainer with the first leg of a double in the process.
Talking to The Southern following his National success, Thomson said: “Races like the Eider will be a possibility, but we will see. He owes nobody anything and the girls have done brilliantly well with him because he’s not the soundest.”
It proved a memorable afternoon for Thomson at his local track, when Prairie Lad completed a double for the yard to take the concluding mcmillanfineart.com & James Ewart Racing novice handicap hurdle race.
The six-year-old battled gamely up the run-in to hold the challenge of the favourite Kapricorne – a first runner at the course for Kingsbridge trainer Sophie Leech.
Donald McCain and Jason Maquire were the partnership to follow, recording a hat-trick of wins throughout a mixed afternoon of sunshine and snow showers.
They got off the mark in the opening Kenny Lynn Celebration novices’ hurdle race when Carlisle bumper victor Go Conquer cruised home 14 lengths clear.
The five-year-old – a £140,000 purchase at Brightwells earlier this year – carries the colours of St Boswells owners Paul and Clare Rooney.
“He had a couple of little blips in his point to points, but he’s jumped well today,” explained the winning jockey.
The pair also accounted for the £23,500 John Wade Always Right Champion Chase after an impressive performance from 9-1 chance Diocles.
Half-an-hour later, the treble was completed with Ardnahoe in the Wares Three Score & Ten mares’ novices’ hurdle race.
Wakanda is destined to go handicapping after his 10-length victory in the Scotty Brand Paris Pike novice chase.
“We ran him over two-and-a-half at Doncaster and he needed further, and this was an ideal race for him,” explained Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith. “That’s his second win of the season and he’d have to carry a double penalty in another novice, so it’s probably handicaps again for him now.”
Pauline Robson recently saddled a winner in France, and continued her victory trail when Teo Vivo won the Kevin Oliver Christmas handicap hurdle race. Racing returns to Kelso later this month on Monday, December 29.