Nichol starts off with Double Whammy

DOUBLE WHAMMY and Craig Nichol (near) win at Kelso 25/5/14'Photograph by GROSSICK RACING 07710461723
DOUBLE WHAMMY and Craig Nichol (near) win at Kelso 25/5/14'Photograph by GROSSICK RACING 07710461723

Hawick jockey Craig Nichol completed his third career double at Kelso’s final fixture of the season on Sunday.

Before a bumper Ladies Day crowd, the Teri opened his account on Double Whammy, an 8-1 winner of the Reece, Ben, Jessica and Charlotte Coppola novices’ handicap chase (div two), for Hawick trainer Iain Jardine.

“He’s not been the easiest horse to train and he was unlucky at Hexham three starts ago when he hit the second last,” explained Jardine.

“How far up the ladder he can go we don’t know, but he’s still only eight and he’ll improve for a summer at grass,” he added.

Half-an-hour later, Nichol was back in the winner’s enclosure after riding Robin’s Command to victory in the KOSB novices’ handicap chase for Northumberland trainer Rose Dobbin.

The gelding ran loose for a short time after unseating the 5lbs claimer leaving the paddock, but made amends with a convincing success.

“It’s great to have a double at the local track,” said Nichol, who is based with top Scottish jumps trainer Lucinda Russell.

Another Hawick combination in winning form was trainer Alistair Whillans and jockey son Ewan who landed the opening division of the novices’ handicap chase with 10-1 chance Gleann Na Ndochais.

“Ewan felt the trip helped him today, as he just stays and gallops,” said Whillans. “We normally have a cross noseband on him, but we took it off today. I don’t know whether that made any difference,” he added.

On a good afternoon for local connections, Galashiels jockey Ryan Mania rode Everaard to land the feature John Smith’s handicap chase, coming home nine lengths clear of Neptune Equester, trained at Greenlaw by Sandy Thomson.

Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards has a good record at the track, and took the opening Border Facilities novices’ handicap hurdle race with Gold Futures.

With a £57,000 prize pot across the eight-race card, racegoers enjoyed a competitive afternoon’s sport.

Northumberland trainer Michael Smith saddled Mister Springsprong to win the Royal Caledonian Hunt novices’ hurdle. “He’ll go over fences in the winter,” said Kirkheaton-based Smith. “He’s a natural chaser and we’re just lucky he jumps hurdles well too.”

The fourth last fence was omitted on both circuits in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards hunter chase after being damaged in the previous race, and runners were subjected to a heavy shower before the off. Beggar’s Velvet travelled strongly to take the spoils from Perth victor Barachois Silver. The 9-1 winner is trained in Northumberland by Drew Holmes. Irish raider Ground Invasion headed the concluding Mercedes Benz of Coldstream bumper.

St Boswells couple Paul and Claire Rooney finished the Kelso season as the course’s top owners. Racing resumes a month earlier than usual, with a new fixture on September 17.